Kay Bourne Arts Report – Issue #61

Contents

COLTRANE’S RELEVANCE TO RAP

AFRICAN RHYTHMS & WESTON

NORTHSHORE’S “SHOWBOAT” IS TIMELESS

KBAR TALKS WITH CHRISTOPHER TEAGUE

ANNA DEVEARE SMITH IS PURE MAGIC

REDEMPTION AND MORALITY IN THE OLD WEST

TIM REID & BOOK AT BEANTOWN JAZZ FESTIVAL

KOOZA – A THING OF BEAUTY

URBAN JAZZ SUITES

UP-COMING EVENTS


COLTRANE’S RELEVANCE TO RAP

by Kay Bourne

(Guru and Superproducer Solar)

da992ad74aa3840b89b623aadd15aa71.124.82 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #61This year’s edition of the annual JOHN COLTRANE MEMORIAL CONCERT explores the jazz giant’s relevance to rap.

“The African American expressive culture is a continuum,” points out music scholar EMMETT G. PRICE, III, one of the producer’s of the concert. As the author of the investigative history “Hip Hop Culture” (2006) and the newly published “Encyclopedia of African American Music,” Price has given a lot of thought to the flow of Black music from generation to generation. Even so, the notion of hip hop at the annual event commemorating the jazz icon takes some getting used to.

Established in 1977, the 31st JOHN COLTRANE MEMORIAL CONCERT’s “A Tribute to ‘Trane” with GURU of Jazzamataz fame takes place Saturday, SEPTEMBER 27 at 8 pm at Northeastern’s Blackman Theater, 360 Huntington Ave. It’s the opening program for Northeastern University’s Center for the Arts. (October will see a conversation with Broadway show phenomenon Stephen Sondheim with vocalist Kate Baldwin.)

Guru’s Jazzmatazz with Superproducer Solar with DJ Doo Wop, Brownman on trumpet, and David Scott on keys, guitar, flute, sax will doubtless please the some 200 students from the Cambridge and Boston public schools and the little ones of the Roxbury-based Paige Academy who are given free seats every year at the concert as part of an on-going program associated with the JCMC performance. For the past 16 years, the producers of the concert go into the schools as an effort to incorporate music into the regular curriculum. Currently, the JCMC is put together by ethnomusicologist at Northeastern and professional musician Leonard Brown and Price, a music professor at Northeastern who also chairs the African American Studies Department. Hip hop stiffens young people’s spines, the way jazz did to youthful listeners of the 50′s and 60′s.

Early on, filmmaker Spike Lee saw Guru’s intersection with jazz. Lee hired Guru’s Gangstarr duo to compose a piece, “Jazz Thing,” for the 1991 film starring Denzel Washington as an inventive sax player, “‘Mo Better Blues,” which looked at the travails of jazz greats trying to create under the commercial constraints of nightclub performances.

Guru has also earned his jazz stripes beginning with the popular CD “Guru’s Jazzmatazz” an experimental fusion of hip hop and jazz” (Chrysalis) issued in 1993. The album which featured the playing of vibist Roy Ayers, trumpet player Donald Byrd, and keyboardist Lonnie Liston Smith, among others, (and which was dedicated to Guru’s parents, Judge Harry and Barbara Elam of Roxbury where Guru grew up), embarked the young artist on a trajectory that simultaneously pleased the worlds of rap and jazz. As a result Guru’s Jazzamatazz has been booked into numerous jazz festivals world wide, most recently this May at the Hague.

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