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Thread: "What the F**k Happened to Black Popular Music?" Article

  1. #541
    Registered User 3pointdeli's Avatar
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    Man, can't we steer this hooptie of a thread back towards the ghetto?

  2. #542
    Grease and oily rag merchant the magnificent goldberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3pointdeli
    Man, can't we steer this hooptie of a thread back towards the ghetto?
    The thread's about black music, not specifically American black music. It's a bit parochial, in my view, to treat it that way.

    MG

  3. #543

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    Argue too much about whether something has the potential to be used as a musical instrument (or not), and you're liable to get more than you bargained for...

    posted by the magnificent goldberg
    The thread's about black music, not specifically American black music. It's a bit parochial, in my view, to treat it that way.
    Yep! Besides, what "the ghetto" have to do - really - with black popular music per se? (3point, i'm assuming that you were being somewhat tongue-in-cheek above...)

  4. #544
    trumpet tpt1's Avatar
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    In latin music, especially salsa, there is always someone that just plays bongos and cowbell. Very simple instruments, no? But this person is as integral to the music as the bass player, piano player, brass players, etc. They get paid the same and, if accomplished, garner as much respect as anyone else in the band. The better players are also accomplished timbaleros, congueros and sometimes excellent arrangers and composers.

    Jimmy Delgado, currently playing bongos and cowbell with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Afro-Latin Orchestra is a prime example of a world-class musician playing these simple instruments, and also a master percussionist on other instruments.

  5. #545
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    I agree with the article, but...

    There is a small minority of hip-hop artists that are fed up with the current state of hip hop and music as a whole. These artists are (for the most part) trying to straighten out some of the damaging messages coming from the money hungry, misguided and misled hip hop crowd. It's easy to categorize all of it as bad especially if your going off of news reports and other media articles. If you are a true hip hop fan (as I am) you understand that there are distinct differences within hip hop itself and to lump it all together is no different than the bandwagon rap/hip-hop hating that is becoming more and more popular in "adult" media.

    A lot of people imply that hip hop is not music because of the lack of instrumentation, unsophisticated musical structure and the topics that are discussed. IMO a lot of this has to do with the trend of the last 20 or so years of taking music education programs out of the public education landscape. In the schools where it has remained there has been a de-emphasis on the importance of the arts in general.

    This War on Music has allowed un-imaginative, un-original, and in some cases socially irresponsible music to thrive. And this is not limited to just hip hop. Under funded (read. public inner city) schools were the first to suffer. Band instruments are expensive to buy and rental is not an option on a limited income. With that said personal music study/instruction was not an option in most cases. Hip hop has zero overhead to start out with, you already use words so you just have to gain efficieny in using them (which still doesn't happen in some cases.) To provide the rhythm you can beat on a table.

    Plainly put, students learned very little about music and when they did the focus was on classical music. It can be argued that classical music has a very limited appeal to most urban students. Jazz was glossed over with an intro to Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong and that would be the extent of it.

    I can remember my experience early on with being introduced to jazz and thinking that I couldn't relate to it. The teacher treated it as if it was some sort of affliction that had festered too long and needed to be wiped out. If I would have known the significance of jazz and the fact that a lot of it's pioneers weren't much older than me when they we're making history that would have started me off in jazz a decade or 2 earlier.

    This is important because hip hop/rap is more than just the music it's a culture. So the fans are just as responsible for the music as the artists. If the artists/fans aren't educated about music and the fact that some of it throughout history has been powerful enough to shape their futures, it will never be realized by the majority that the music needs policing. Without ever learning what music really is or personalizing it with your own experience you don't value it.

  6. #546
    Where Dead Voices Gather Alexander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NewJazz4Mike
    So the turntable is a percussion instrument?

    Um...duh.
    Come visit Where Dead Voices Gather; the blog and the podcast!

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    Ditto.... (See post #524.)

  8. #548
    Registered User NewJazz4Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the magnificent goldberg
    It's clear you prefer to listen to some stuff than to other stuff. Me too. But I don't say the stuff I prefer not to listen to ain't music, or even ain't good music. Actually, I don't care whether music's good or not, so long as it represents the culture out of which it comes fairly. If it does, it has value as far as I'm concerned. I don't even have to like it to be interested in it.

    MG
    We're getting way off track here. This started by questioning the validity of a turntable as an instrument, and then, because it was implied that the turntable is a percussive instrument, we got into spoons, a cowbell.. which extended into congas, and then the tabla. My point has nothing to do with the value of the music produced by these interuments... Those who care for their sounds are welcome to them - but it stands to reason that a more sophisticated instrument - i.e. one that is capable of more nuanced sounds and a greater dynamic range - should be better able to express ideas and emotions than an unsophisticated instrument. Sometimes I think we get into these "how many angels on the head of a pin" debates, when it seems clear that instruments were developed and refined precisely for the reasons I'm citing - because they can convey more. Why do we suppose jazz uses the sax, the piano, the trumpet so predominantly... because they are so expressive. Whether we talk about the kazoo, the cowbell, triangle, two rocks, a hollow log, a turntable, etc.... if unsophisticated instruments are as expressive - we would be more eager to listen to them. I'd rather listen to an evening of solo Kenny Barron piano that a full CD's worth of Zakir Hussain's tabla playing - regardless of how masterful he plays. Lets not get forget that this started by comparing a turntable to an instrument like a saxophone, which is still ridiculous.

  9. #549
    Compose /Arranger / Jazz Prod. Phil Kelly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpt1
    In latin music, especially salsa, there is always someone that just plays bongos and cowbell. Very simple instruments, no? But this person is as integral to the music as the bass player, piano player, brass players, etc. They get paid the same and, if accomplished, garner as much respect as anyone else in the band. The better players are also accomplished timbaleros, congueros and sometimes excellent arrangers and composers.

    Jimmy Delgado, currently playing bongos and cowbell with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Afro-Latin Orchestra is a prime example of a world-class musician playing these simple instruments, and also a master percussionist on other instruments.
    It also should be noted that latin percussionists usually can play the entire family of indigenous instruments and THEN , usually choose to specialize in either the hand percussion ( congas, bongoes , batas, etc - which require further study with a master on those specific instruments.) or stick percussion ( timbales, cencerro, guiro, etc ) -which also have their specific traditions to be mastered.

    The other factor that separates latin /salsa music from jazz is the placement of the rhythmic feel in relation to the clave ( similar to the feel of the hi hat in bebop ) and the fact that often ( due to the clave pattern ) the bassist WON'T be playing on "one" very often ..

    learning to deal with these complexities musically greatly exceeds the ability to scratch turntables over a drum loop.
    Swing ..or I'll kill you ( Bill Potts )
    RIP

  10. #550

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noj
    There are no simple instruments, only simple musicians and simple listeners.

  11. #551
    Where Dead Voices Gather Alexander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NewJazz4Mike
    No, I wasn't making exceptions... just guaging the extent of your reach. Your definition of a musician calls for quite a stretch. It relies on only the esoteric examples you can think of, while ignoring the most universally recognized criteria. I doubt a percussionist who exclusively played the spoons, or a cowbell - would be considered a master of those "instruments", or a serious artist.
    Gee, what about jug bands? They were around long before jazz and many are still around. Someone should call them up and tell them that they're not playing music, darn it! If only you'd pointed this out sooner, you'd have saved people a lot of wasted time playing non-instruments!
    Come visit Where Dead Voices Gather; the blog and the podcast!

  12. #552

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    http://chandrakantha.com/tablasite/bsicbols.htm

    http://framedrums.de/ - see his videos!

    http://chandrakantha.com/articles/in...la_tarang.html

    http://www.seasite.niu.edu/indonesia.../main_page.htm

    http://www.drumdojo.com/learning/congaintro1.htm

    http://www.congaplace.com/instrument/bongo/martillo.php

    http://www.rhythmweb.com/ - try the sound samples and video links

    and so on....

    Note: I don't have anything like the skill that the best turntablists have. I don't pretend to. And I admire them, which is about all I *can* do, given their sophisticated understanding of music and technique. But this has all been said before. Some people aren't bothering to read entire posts and/or watch videos, so there's no point in going further with this on my part.

  13. #553
    Registered User NewJazz4Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander
    Gee, what about jug bands? They were around long before jazz and many are still around. Someone should call them up and tell them that they're not playing music, darn it! If only you'd pointed this out sooner, you'd have saved people a lot of wasted time playing non-instruments!
    Again with the wild extreme as the rationale.... answer me truthfully... what's your limit for listening to a jug band? I'd say mine would be about 5 minutes. Does it sustain your interest for much longer than that? Could you spend an evening with jug band music? If you believe that music to be on a par with modern acoustic jazz, maybe we're further apart than our viewpoints suggest.

  14. #554

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    Quote Originally Posted by NewJazz4Mike
    Again with the wild extreme as the rationale.... answer me truthfully... what's your limit for listening to a ...
    What's the playing time on this, Mike?


  15. #555
    Where Dead Voices Gather Alexander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NewJazz4Mike
    We're getting way off track here. This started by questioning the validity of a turntable as an instrument, and then, because it was implied that the turntable is a percussive instrument, we got into spoons, a cowbell.. which extended into congas, and then the tabla. My point has nothing to do with the value of the music produced by these interuments... Those who care for their sounds are welcome to them - but it stands to reason that a more sophisticated instrument - i.e. one that is capable of more nuanced sounds and a greater dynamic range - should be better able to express ideas and emotions than an unsophisticated instrument. Sometimes I think we get into these "how many angels on the head of a pin" debates, when it seems clear that instruments were developed and refined precisely for the reasons I'm citing - because they can convey more. Why do we suppose jazz uses the sax, the piano, the trumpet so predominantly... because they are so expressive. Whether we talk about the kazoo, the cowbell, triangle, two rocks, a hollow log, a turntable, etc.... if unsophisticated instruments are as expressive - we would be more eager to listen to them. I'd rather listen to an evening of solo Kenny Barron piano that a full CD's worth of Zakir Hussain's tabla playing - regardless of how masterful he plays. Lets not get forget that this started by comparing a turntable to an instrument like a saxophone, which is still ridiculous.

    What *you'd* rather listen to isn't the issue. The issue is whether or not the turntable counts as an instrument. Obviously it does because people (like Grandmaster Flash) can use it to make music. Don't like it? You don't have to. No one's forcing you to, but you can't deny that it has a place in modern music (including jazz, btw. Herbie Hancock uses turntable on many of his recordings. Groundtruther, a group consisting of guitarist Charlie Hunter and percussionist Bobby Previte just recorded a whole album as a trio with DJ Logic as the third member of the group). What you're doing is covering your ears and saying, "I can't hear you! I can't hear you! I don't like it, therefore it's not music!" We get it. You don't like it. You'll never believe that valid music can be made on a turntable. Too bad for you. Your loss. You'll grow old in your ivory tower while the rest of us are digging new sounds. Have fun.
    Come visit Where Dead Voices Gather; the blog and the podcast!

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