Τετάρτη, 4 Φεβρουαρίου 2015

The Legacy of Bob Marley

Greetings and love everybody!
It's been a while since I stopped posting new stuff.A friend of the blog, Beth Kelly, managed to wake me up proposing me an interesting article of hers to share with.Beth's article is about Bob Marley's remarkable cultural influence and commercialization of his profile.
I'm still not sure if I'll post fresh goodies regularly,but I'll try to fix some requested links and we see...

The Legacy of Bob Marley 

Bob Marley's legacy as a musician is unquestionable. He has become a touchstone of the musical world for performers and listeners alike, and has influenced many popular singers and musicians of today. However, there is a much more commercial side to his legacy, one that he would not have look favorably upon. In the years since his death, numerous products featuring his likeness have been released, and his heirs have traded heavily off of his fame and status as a musical icon to make a great deal of money – going against much of what Marley himself actually stood for.
Bob Marley was born and raised in Jamaica, where the island’s musical traditions heavily influenced his unique style of reggae songwriting. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, his fame as a musician grew, making him by far the most popular and influential reggae artist of any generation. During this time period, Marley also became an icon of the counterculture movement, in part due to his famous consumption of marijuana as a spiritual practice in line with his Rastafarian faith. It was this faith which also led him to decide not to make a last will and testament, out of concern for the possibility that his estate would become too commercialized and capitalist. Marley was diagnosed with melanoma in 1977, and died of the disease due to widespread metastasis in 1981.

In spite of his best efforts, Marley's estate and legacy became a hugely profitable and commercial brand. While it cannot be denied that Marley made a great deal of money from his music during his own lifetime, it was always his viewpoint that he was simply doing what he loved to do, and that the money was never the point of it. In fact, today, the royalties from the hit song “No Woman No Cry” still go directly to a soup kitchen in Jamaica. He was a strong proponent of the idea that money could not buy happiness, and was known for never changing his music to make it more commercially appealing. In fact, Marley’s last words to his son, Ziggy, who recently performed his own and his father’s music on DTV’s Guitar Center Sessions (see here), were, “Money can’t buy life.” The widespread branding of everything from posters to a personalized brand of Bob Marley marijuana that can be seen in the market today is far out of line with Marley's vision and beliefs, and would never have occurred during his lifetime.

In a broader context, Marley, in this regard, is part of a larger group of 1960s counterculture icons and ideals that have been distorted for profit. Such commercialization can be seen in everything from the immense profits made off of the legacy of the Woodstock festival to the wide array of merchandise, much of which is based on the classic counterculture film Easy Rider, available today.
On a brighter note, Marley's music and ideals have, however, influenced many of the musical icons of today. Despite the fact that commercialization has become the norm in modern music, many musicians and artists themselves hold to Marley's belief in music as a creation based on love of creating. In fact, modern pop music, especially that from more independent artists and labels, commonly uses this as a lyrical theme. Marley’s influence can be found in artists as widespread as The Fugees, Rihanna, Jazmine Sullivan, Naz, and many many more.

Bob Marley is unquestionably one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. His legacy, however commercialized it may have become since his death, still stands strong. In 2015, which is both the 33rd anniversary of his tragic death and would mark his 70th birthday if he were still alive, his influence on music and culture is just as strong as ever.

For those interested of an in-depth biography can check out this nice ebook of Timothy White called "Catch a fire".

Τρίτη, 23 Ιουλίου 2013

Palyrria - Palyrria [2004]

Born out of the need for experimentation PALYRRIA is a band that has devised and perfected its own, unique musical style. Created in 1996 as a dance project it wasnt until 1999 that the band decided to turn into its own musical direction, a mixture of western electronica and traditional music from around the Mediterranean. They call it world-electro and indeed this music is neither electronic nor ethnic. PALYRRIA has always been fascinated by traditional music and some of the bands members have worked with renowned traditional musicians, but living in Greece one realizes that traditional music goes way beyond the last millennium, back in times when people chose to express themselves in much more ecstatic and paganistic ways. Ancient ceremonies around the Mediterranean have always been filled with music and musical expression. It wouldnt be far from the truth if one was to draw a parallel between those events and the rave parties the world witnessed in the beginning of the nineties. The similarities are striking and have been the source of inspiration for the dynamic musical context of PALYRRIA. Aeolian scales, pentatonic music, instruments that come out of the depths of history, are presented alongside pumping bass lines, techno grooves, vocoders, clicks and cuts, in an attempt to create music that transcends the centuries and is both ancient and futuristic at the same time. Let the strangeness ware off and enjoy music that comes straight from the source.

Πέμπτη, 11 Ιουλίου 2013

Kato apo to dentro - S/T [2010]

Blues, Rembetika, Pentatonic and other Greek traditional melodies, Dub basslines, African melodies and rhythms, meet unexpectedly through acoustic guitars, bass, mandolin, melodica and percussion in the music of the group ''Kato Apo To Dentro'' ("under the tree'' in English) which is a collaboration between several musicians and friends, based in Athens, Greece. Couplets in the blues mood, tales of adventures in faraway places but also something from Greek traditional fest fun (panigyriotiko) compose this musical journey.

Δευτέρα, 24 Ιουνίου 2013

Jazz The World Forgot, Jazz Classics of the 1920s Early Roots and Branches of Jazz - Vol.1 [1996]

This groundbreaking series brings together some of the greatest performances of early jazz, illustrating that before jazz became a listener's music of improvised solos it was the rhythm-driven dance music of America, the rock and roll of its day. This album shows the incredible variety of the 1920s jazz by bringing together diverse, often obscure masterpieces by legendary small groups and large bands from both city and country. Highlighted is the rich regional flavor of early American jazz with showpieces by territory bands such as Ross De Luxe Syncopaters, Taylor's Dixie Serenaders, and Roy Johnson's Happy Pals along with classics by the pioneer New Orleans band of Louis Dumaine, Sam Morgan and much more. This is an entertaining and illuminating exploration of early jazz which traces its roots back to marching bands, ragtime and vaudeville.

Τρίτη, 18 Ιουνίου 2013

Thanasis Papakonstantinou and the Laikedelica - Ta zontana [2004]

The legendary Greek composer, singer and musician in a full-length double CD program of new works, and songs from previous his two recordings (Vrachnos Profitis and Agrypnia ) given a whole new perspective by the amazing ensemble he has backing him up. One of the best  recordings of 2004, from anywhere on the planet. Highly recommended, especially for those who like creative, roots-inspired progressive rock-folk music.

Σάββατο, 15 Ιουνίου 2013

African Spirits - A Spiritual Jazz Journey Looking Back to Africa [2004]

This album consists of 10 tracks that represent a spiritual jazz journey looking back to Africa: the motherland, the roots of jazz, the birthplace of black music and the ancestral origins of the musicians themselves.
Individually the tracks - some of the best music of its type ever recorded - are in demand in their own right, with most being compiled for the first time. In the 1960's and 1970's many Afro Americans started to look back to their roots and the roots of the music for inspiration, direction and confirmation. Musicians including Yusef Lateef, John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, and many of the artists on this compilation experimented with African instruments and sounds during this period. It was a time of black celebration, the 'Afro' hairstyle was a prerequisite for hipness. The drum - the most basic rhythm instrument and the foundation that almost all modern music rests on - came from Africa. Indeed, Jazz music itself can also trace its origins back to Africa; in fact scientists, historians and archaeologists have suggested that the entire human race took its first steps in Africa and evolved from there. The music contained on this album, whilst rhythmically strong is also imbued with haunting melodies and spiritually uplifting shades. A major factor behind the making of this music was a reaction against a society based on commercialism and insincerity: this is music with a message, music of substance, music that demands the listener be drawn in. It's music that you can really feel…music that moves and fulfils you, leaving you spiritually uplifted. This album is not just about selecting and bringing together a collection of in demand Jazz cuts…it's about inviting the listener on a musical journey back to Africa, back to ancient civilisation. Enjoy the ride.

Τετάρτη, 12 Ιουνίου 2013

V/A - Pioneers of the Jazz Guitar [1992]

This anthology features the predecessors and contemporaries of Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian with an emphasis on the jazz guitar duet. Working within their seldom recorded solo or duet performances, master guitarists such as Eddie Lang, Lonnie Johnson, John Cali and others couple melodic sophistication with the kind of economy and restraint rarely achieved today in such compositions as Teasin' The Frets, handful Of Riffs, Chicken A La Swing, Feeling My Way and others.


Δευτέρα, 10 Ιουνίου 2013

Various ‎– Jazz Meets The World [1975]

Today, “World Music” has become a standard concept and the surpassing of borders between jazz musicians and other musical cultures goes without saying. One of the foundations for the development of jazz into world music was established by MPS during the sixties. With the series “Jazz meets the world”, initiated by Joachim-Ernst Berendt, meetings between jazz musicians and other musical cultures were started. The Irene Schweizer Trio played with musicians from India, George Gruntz worked with Arabic and Toni Scott with musicians from Bali. The MPS-series “Jazz meets the world” is still one of the most important concepts between jazz and traditional music from India, Bali, Cuba, Tunisia, Spain, Brazil and Japan. 


Τρίτη, 30 Απριλίου 2013

Tommy McCook & The Supersonics ‎– Down On Bond Street [1993]

 'Down on Bond Street' compiles 20 tracks from 1966-1968.Like Roland Alphonso did while leading Clement Dodd's own Soul Vendors outfit (with organist Jackie Mittoo), McCook and the Supersonics cut several instrumental sides, focusing on groove-heavy beats and tasty horn and organ solos. Trojan's Down on Bond Street brings together 20 of these gems, ranging from late ska cuts like "A Yellow Basket (A Tisket a Tasket)" to early reggae sides such as "Second Fiddle." Focusing primarily on rocksteady material, McCook also delves into some updated Jamaican R&B ("Heatwave (Moving)"), several choice covers ("Ode to Billie Joe"), and a few breezy originals ("Real Cool"). Showing off his considerable jazz chops, McCook is ever present with his vaporously tart and sinewy tenor lines (he turns in impressive flute work on a handful of cuts as well). Also part of that select crew of Jamaican jazz musicians, many being fellow Skatalite alums as well, the Supersonics featured alto saxophonist Lester Sterling, trumpeter Johnny "Dizzy" Moore, trombonist Vin "Don Drummond, Jr." Gordon, guitarist Lynn Taitt (whose Jets found work with producer Joe Gibbs), and organist Winston Wright. While Heartbeat's fine Tribute to Tommy and a few albums with the Aggrovators cover ska and reggae ground respectively, this McCook title is one of the few, if not the only wide-ranging collection of the saxophonist's instrumental output during the '60s. Highly recommended. 


Δευτέρα, 29 Απριλίου 2013

Don Drummond - Jazz Ska Attack:1964 [2000]

Drummond was one of the top soloists and most creative musical minds of Jamaica's ska era. His apex came in 1964 when he and fellow Skatalites, like saxophonists Tommy McCook and Roland Alphonso, organist Jackie Mittoo, Lester Sterling, and trumpeter Johnny "Dizzy" Moore, ruled Kingston's musical scene as the virtual house band for producers Clement Dodd, Duke Reid, George Phang, and many others. Drummond's lopey sounding yet technically superb trombone work stood out on all the Skatalites sessions, whether the band was cutting some of its own records or backing numerous singers like Alton Ellis and Delroy Wilson. This fine Drummond roundup on Jet Set brings together many of the trombonist best Skatalites sides from 1964, including such self-penned classics as "Musical Storeroom," "Eastern Standard Time," and "Don-de-Lion." A great introduction to this most talented of Jamaican jazz masters.