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 [...]
Continue reading LOU BOND: GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
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. 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.
Continue reading THE MANY FLIGHTS OF DONALD BYRD
I decided, in late 2012, I really didn’t want to write RIP pieces anymore. I meant, absolutely, no disrespect to the likes of Marva Whitney or Inez Andrews or Fontella Bass or Ravi Shankar, et. al. But it is depressing when your site begins to resemble a roll call of the dead and as I’ve said in the past, for people like me, in love with music of the 1960s and ’70s, we are definitely entering into a time when a lot of our heroes and heroines will be passing away. [...]
Continue reading DONALD BYRD: RIP
It seems wrong to say I had a “great time” at a memorial but I will say: if the goal of this Sunday’s public memorial for Matthew Africa was to partake in the kind of joyous socializing and good cheer that accompanied his gigs and parties, then it did everything you could want and more. At the end, a second line band lead people through the streets of Oakland, giving Matthew a proper musician’s send-off.
Matthew Africa is gone. I’m having trouble accepting this.
I probably first met him around ’91 or ’92, when I started volunteering at KALX FM in Berkeley. I admit: Matthew intimidated the hell out of me at first. He wasn’t unfriendly but he carried himself with a certain, serious countenance. He didn’t seem like the type to suffer fools lightly and I guess I thought myself a fool, or close enough to one. What trips me out to realize is that, for the longest time, I just thought of [...]
Continue reading FOR MATTHEW AFRICA