PRINCE

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My peoples…I don’t even know how to process everyone we lost this year.

PHIFE DAWG, RIP

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As with many of you, ATCQ meant everything to me. I’m not ready to put Phife in context or nothing like that. Just mourning someone gone far before his time. I’ll let Ted speak my mind:

The Funky Diabetic made the sweetest music. He's still here.

— Ted Bawno (@tedbawno) March 23, 2016

REQUIEM FOR A KING

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(image by the (literally) illustrious John Jennings)

B.B. King passed away yesterday.

I’ll leave it to my betters to properly eulogize him but my man Joe Schloss reminded me about one of King’s best lines ever (executed here to funky perfection by Johnny Holiday):

BOBBY WOMACK: RIP

I don’t know why this song, of all of Womack’s, is my favorite by him. But it is.

Gone too young.

HAPPY B-DAY CURTIS

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Curtis Mayfield would have turned 72 today. The immensity of his genius is something I am continually rediscovering. Here’s just three cuts to remember him by…out of seemingly a countless bounty.

LEARNING FROM FRANKIE

I will forever be a student of music, learning from the greats. RIP, Frankie Knuckles.

DARONDO: DIDN’T HE TREAT US RIGHT?

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Darondo (né William Pulliam) passed away today at the age of 67. His single, “Didn’t I” remains one of my favorite Bay Area records (and really, just an all-time great slow jam).

I interviewed Darondo back in 2006 for Wax Poetics and they just reprinted the article on their site. Here’s an excerpt:

The name “Darondo” is so unique, it’s hard to forget. But for many years, all people knew of him was only that: a name on a faded label. In his brief recording career, […]

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LAMONT DOZIER + RICHIE HAVENS: BACK TO THEIR ROOTS

In honor of Richie Havens, who passed away earlier this week, I’m bringing back this 2010 post. -O.W.


Lamont Dozier: Going Back To My Roots
From Peddlin’ Music On The Side (WB, 1977)

Richie Havens: Going Back To My Roots
From Connections (Elektra, 1980)

One of my best moments in a club came back in the ’00s when I was at APT during a night that Chairman Mao was spinning. I had never heard Lamont Dozier’s “Going Back To My Roots” before and I was just marveling at now just how […]

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LOU BOND: GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

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Just heard the news that Lou Bond died. I wrote this in 2010 in regards to the long-awaited reissue of his sole LP:

Ok, I admit it – I blew it by forgetting to write about this when the reissue first dropped, earlier in the year. Kind of ironic given that when Bond’s album first appeared, it too fell under many people’s radars despite it being really incredible. Bond was signed to We Produce, the Stax subsidiary that also released albums by the Tempress and Ernie Hines, but as the liner […]

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THE MANY FLIGHTS OF DONALD BYRD

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This isn’t some grand insight but what I find remarkable about the career of the late Donald Byrd was his ability to span so many different phases of jazz. For a cat who started in the bebop era, he bridged from there into post-bop, dabbled a bit in free, became one of the giants of the soul jazz era, and then became a massive force during the heyday of fusion. The vast majority of artists – of any genre – have trouble transitioning between even micro-changes in musical styles.1 Donald Byrd stayed relevant for at least 20 years. That’s as impressive a feat as I’ve seen by any artist above or below the platinum line.

The following playlist is absolutely not meant to be comprehensive. There’s dozens of songs I could have included but opted not to, either because they seemed so obvious to replay them would be redundant or, more to the point: they weren’t my favorites. But even this modest sampling gives you the idea of the astonishing range of Byrd’s musical genius.
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  1. Case in point: the year in hip-hop in 1992.