Jazz Is Dead, now 2 full years old, is picking up steam. Last year, we hosted Roy Ayers, Gary Bartz and Brian Jackson in celebration of Black History Month.This year, we expanded the programming and this might be the most excited we’ve ever been about a presentation. We are thrilled to be once again celebrating musical black excellence, we hope you will join us! A whole lot of dreams coming trues at once.
February 2nd: Vibes From The TRIBE (Tickets HERE)w/ Phil Ranelin & Wendell Harrison w/ The Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra (15 piece): Tribe was a collective of Detroit based musicians. The collective released their music under their own moniker, Tribe Records. It lasted from approximately 1972-1977. It was during this time that some of the heaviest soul, spiritual and avant-garde jazz records were released. Tribe was more then a record label or a group of jazz musicians. “It was a living example of the ways that community and cultural capital could evolve together during the American century’s final third, in a city that helped define the era’s musical and civic spirit: Detroit, Michigan…who embodied the late 1960s’ spirit of black self-determination. It ended up a local institution, tutoring program, and one of the unmistakable through lines in the city’s musical history. The contributions of Tribe members stretch directly from Ray Charles and Motown to Geri Allen and Detroit techno.” Quote taken from Pitchfork article by Piotr Orlov. Learn more about Tribe from Pitchfork, NY Times or BBC.
February 9th: Black Jazz Records 50th Anniversary (Tickets HERE)Jean Carne, Doug Carn, Henry Franklin, Calvin Keys, Michael Carvin + Special Guests:Founded in Oakland, The Black Jazz label was created to promote the talents of young African American jazz musicians and singers, and released twenty albums between 1971 and 1975. Some of the more notable artists to record for Black Jazz Records were organist/pianist Doug Carn, whose four albums were the most successful of any Black Jazz artist. Carn’s wife at the time, Jean Carn, sang on his albums; she changed her name to Jean Carne and went on to have a successful solo career as an R & B singer. Other masters from the Black Jazz label that will be joining us are Calvin Keys and Henry Franklin. They will be supported by an all star cast of musicians, bringing the Black Jazz catalog to life. Listen to new mixes of the Black Jazz catalog from Giles Peterson, Theo Parrish and Dj Muro.
Rebirth of Slick (TICKETS HERE)FEBRUARY 16 LODGE ROOM (SOLD OUT)104 N Ave 56 2nd Floor, los Angeles, CA. 900426PM EARLY SET (SOLD OUT)9PM LATE SET (SOLD OUT)FEBRUARY 17 THE REGENT448 S Main St., Los Angeles, CA. 900135PM DOORSDigable Planets w/ Live BandDigable Planets. Butterfly. Doodlebug. Ladybug Mecca. Each with their own distinctive flow. Butterfly (Ishmael Butler) with his Huey P Newton aura matched with agile, fluid lyrics like a Sonny Rollins solo verbalized. Doodlebug (Craig Irving) with Five Percent Nation scientifics, intellectual punchlines, and a battle emcee’s spirit. Ladybug Mecca (MaryAnn Santos Vieira), with a voice so distinctive, so clear, so smooth, not only does her voice sound melodic, you still hear little bits of her playful delivery inside of current emcees as varied as Nicki Minaj and Rapsody.
Before The Fugees took the concept of a two male female emcee hip-hop trio to another level, Digable Planets originated the trend, altering the course of hip-hop history, erasing norms of what “crossover” hip-hop sounded like while winning the respect of jazz and funk musicians with the deep musicality of both their albums, 1993’s Gold “Reachin’ ( A New Refutation Of Time and Space)” and 1994’s “Blowout Comb”.
Their biggest hit, “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)” is one of those unforgettable songs that you can’t unhear. The thumping bass, the smooth voices, the Blue Note horns, are something that hip-hop hasn’t experienced before…or since. “Rebirth of Slick” earned the group a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, and a worldwide presence. They could have easily rested on their laurels, but instead made “Blowout Comb”, a record so ahead of its time it deserves a spot next to albums it predated by several years: Black Star’s “Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star”, Dead Prez “Let’s Get Free” and Childish Gambino’s “Awaken My Love”. That was the problem: in terms of sound, style and politics, it was ahead of what the audience was expecting and the record label’s ability, pre-social media—to cultivate and harness.
So they broke up…like that. And drifted apart like that. And went home. Butterfly created the Seattle hip-hop group Shabazz Palaces, Doodlebug founded the Philadelphia based Cee Knowledge & The Cosmic Funk Orchestra, and Ladybug created BROOKZILL! So like Aerosmith, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, and A Tribe Called Quest, they realized they still had things to say and music to make together. In a hip-hop landscape bereft of melody and thoughtful lyrics, they’ve been re-discovered by a whole new generation of hip-hop fanatics clamoring for the golden age. So they’ve been touring…like that. Slaying crowds with a live band, as well as making new music. They look like themselves, they sound like themselves…they’re still Digable. Rewatch their “rebirth of Slick” video here.
February 23: Cosmic Funk-Expansions (Tickets HERE)w/ Lonnie Liston Smith w/ The Katalyst: Lonnie Liston Smith began performing in the Baltimore area and while attending Morgan State University, he began performing with his peers, Gary Bartz, Grachan Moncur, and Mickey Bass. After college, Lonnie moved to New York City and began performing with the top vocalists, such as, Betty Carter and Joe Williams. Soon after, Lonnie joined Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers and after The Jazz Messengers, he got a call to perform with drummer, Max Roach, which was unusual because Max rarely used a pianist in his ensemble. He then enjoyed a 2 year stay with Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and recorded 2 albums with Rahsaan entitled, “Please Don’t Cry Beautiful Edith” on Verve and “Here Comes the Whistleman” on Atlantic.
Lonnie got the call from Pharaoh Sanders in 1968 and made his mark in one of the most visible ensembles of the day. Lonnie and Pharaoh created spontaneously at every moment. Lonnie, also began to experiment with electric keyboards and created a rich Cosmic sound to support Pharaoh’s impassioned tenor saxophone flights. In 1973 Lonnie received another important call to join the Miles Davis ensemble. Lonnie recorded 2 LP’s with Miles, “On The Corner” and “Big Fun”. Lonnie said working with Miles Davis was his greatest experience and joy. Miles was a genius on stage and off stage because Miles has produced more band leaders than any other musician in the history of creative music.
In 1974, Producer, Bob Thiele, signed Lonnie to a solo recording contract. “Astral Traveling” and “Cosmic Funk” were Lonnie’s first 2 LP’s. However, it was his album, “Expansions” that broke Lonnie into the major leagues as a worldwide leader. The LP was a breath of fresh air in 1975 as it combined solid Jazz playing with creative crossover elements that did not dilute the music.