Our good friends over at CultureFphile recently enlisted the expertise of Revive Music Group’s very own Founder & CEO, Meghan Stabile for a piece entitled “A Letter to All Musicians–From Meghan Stabile” which breaks down some important DOs and DON’Ts for musicians in the industry today.
Somi is truly the example of a polyculturalist. Born to parents from Rwanda and Uganda, the enchanting vocalist writes and performs her songs in multiple languages. Her songs articulate the experiences spanning generations, and they illuminate the colorful cultures and sounds of communities throughout the African diaspora.
Lucius, the indie soul twinnies were a delight to stumble upon at the Paste party in the Lower East Side on Wednesday night. These two Berklee College alums were simply mesmerizing on stage, singing, playing percussions, and keyboards simultaneously, backed by an all male band. With a tinge of folk, indie rock, tons of energizing electro synth rhythms, and the power vocals of some Motown soul sirens with outfits to match, Lucius’ dynamic get up is a definite CMJ 2011 highlight.
Any music lover in New York with a general curiosity for up-in-coming international music and care to share the same space with legendary performers will have passed through SOBs at some point. This historical venue has been standing strong for 29 years now has the longest running Brazilian music series in New York, which started the year that SOBs was founded in 1982. Larry Gold, the founder of SOBs has created a uniquely home-like atmosphere for live music, where the best Brazilian, Latin, Jazz, R&B, Soul and hip-hop acts have played since their humble beginnings.
Welcome to Issue #7, which marks one cycle around the sun for The Revivalist. That’s right, this month we celebrate our 1-year anniversary. We want to deeply thank our avid readers, our amazing musicians, the incredibly talented creative team, our writers, and our brilliant partners and collaborators past and present: the awesome Okayplayer family, Miles Davis Properties LLC, Strut Records, Ubiquity Records, Stonesthrow, Impulse, and this month SOBs. For those of you just joining us, our mission is to expose amazing music related to and rooted in jazz from all over the globe. Whether we’re exploring the improvisation and ingenuity of the L.A. beat scene, to the ways that Miles Davis has helped us disregard the fictitious lines that bind and strangle musical genres, to our look at how Max Roach inspired Tony Allen to co-create Afrobeat, to us, Jazz is about creating a new dialogue, and new possibilities.
The College Music Journal (CMJ) has long been the prevailing voice for up-and-coming and break out artists. A 5-day music marathon is the staple meat and potato platter for music enthusiasts throughout New York City, who get a potpourri of music acts, ranging from every feasible genre preference from every corner of the world. Out of the hundreds of performances throughout the week, here are some of our top picks.
There was a time not so long ago when artists were as concerned about their performance, their persona, and their outfits, in addition to the funky grooves that they were sending out into the airwaves. The Revivalist shares with you our favorite images of funk fashion royalty, artists who have carried trends over the decades, and pioneered aesthetic choices and started trends, while simultaneously audaciously declaring their identity through their choice of clothing.
I had bands in New Orleans and Memphis and so forth, so the younger people can play. They are working hard and they are very accomplished musicians, I’ve never been disappointed with a band backing me up on the road yet. They’ve all been good players, they learn my songs, and that’s the future of music, all of these young players.
Dennis Coffey has racked up an arsenal of fire recordings through the span of the past five decades, and now at 70, he’s still going strong. The former Funk Brother once electrified Motown’s library with funky guitar licks, and his trusty wah-wah, appearing on tracks for Valerie Simpson (Ashford & Simpson), Funkadelic. Coffey was the first white performer on the popular show Soul Train, and his now infamous song “Scorpio” once was set at #6 on the Billboard Pop Chart, an amazing feat for an instrumental record.
When developing the concept for our current issue, and in discussing the growth of funk and soul and their connections with jazz music, we brainstormed who we could team up with that would be a good representation of the funk/soul ethos, and the crux of this issue’s content. One San Francisco record label who has constantly made brilliant and unknown artists emerge from obscurity, and expose people to the most fantastic of the unknown, is Ubiquity Records.
Bajah and the Dry Eye Crew members, Bajah, Dovy Dovy, and A-Klazz still have an air of love and gratitude that they exude in their everyday lives and certainly in their music, despite living in conflict for over a decade. The Revivalist spent an afternoon at Photo Rob’s studio, for a fun shoot with the guys, as we picked their brains about bearing witness to war, the initial culture shock of moving to the United States, and how their music has affected change in their communities.
Hiromi Uehara, known in the music community as simply Hiromi is a world renowned concert pianist, composer, bandleader who began as a jazz virtuoso at an early age. The Japanese born musician met Chick Corea when she was only 17 years old, and was asked to play at one of his concerts. She came to the U.S. shortly after to attend Berklee where she was mentored by Ahmad Jamal and quickly scored a record deal. It is no surprise that she is now one of the most distinguished and sought after jazz pianist of her generation.
The stories of music visionaries are very rarely in our culture the product of rigid government directives, but in the case of the rise of Jazz music in Egypt, the greatest pioneer was also a political dignitary who made it part of the national agenda. Salah Ragab was born in Egypt in 1936. By the 1960s, the multi-instrumentalist would be responsible for introducing jazz music to the Afro-Arab world, aligning himself with the compelling currents of American jazz music and to later be revered as the Godfather and pioneer of Egyptian jazz music. Strangely, very little has been written about his upbringing and the factors leading to this very important historical phenomenon.
Blitz the Ambassador is a Brooklyn based emcee–by way of Ghana–who is fast attracting international attention for his musical ingenuity and his DIY indy hip-hop community that he has cultivated under the platform of his self-made label Embassy MVMT. His music is an amalgamation of political ferver, West African Highlife, Afrobeat and Afro-funk, early 90s boom bap lyrical stylings, visual art, and the element of egalitarianism that he loves and admires about football (what American’s call soccer).
The story of Sun Ra in Egypt begins with the journeys of three men from three geographical origins and three disparate cultures. Their first unification in Egypt in 1971 carries a level of mystery four decades later that still holds significance in the world history and power of the transnational exchange of jazz music. Very little has been documented about it, but it demonstrates a synthesize of ideas years before its time, a self-fulfilling prophesy of Sun Ra’s Afrofuturism movement, which married Afrocentrism with science fiction and ancient spirituality.
There are few contemporary Afrobeat bands in 2011 that are pushing the envelope and not relying on generic retro grooves or the emulation of Fela, but Ikebe Shakedown is one. But we can’t exactly call them an Afrobeat band. Infusing cinematic soul, highlife, American funk and some Afro-Latin flavors as well, the fellas of Ikebe Shakedown have mastered a sound so crisp and precise, yet entirely raw.
The Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars have an inspirational story that has been told all over the world through their music and a documentary made about their story. Sitting down with them before their show in Brooklyn, we had a chance to talk about the impact of the documentary, how music affects change, and where they are going in the future.
The pulsating Yoruban derived rhythms that are so seductive and foundational in Afrobeat can be reduced to the work of one man, Tony Allen. Allen was self-taught, practicing his chops while working as an engineer at a local Lagos radio station when he was only 18. He caught his first break playing claves for the highlife band “The Cool Cats” headed by ‘Sir’ Victor Olaiya, the catalyst that brought him into the nucleus of the Nigerian music circuit where he later met his partner and bandleader from 1964-1979, Fela Kuti.