This day, I am thankful for the spirit of God and strength he has given me to keep on keeping on. I no longer think about what I lost nor the pain it caused. I think about what I’ve gained and where I’m headed…this is indeed a shift (and a welcome one). I am thankful for the ability to share my love of music, particularly jazz, with so many people. I am thankful to be ALIVE! I am thankful my mother is still alive (I get a great of strength from this woman…love her). I am thankful for the gift of friendship and the power it holds. I hung out at no fewer than eight places last night and it’s because my friends saw fit to ensure that I rang in my birthday laughing, dancing and getting spirited. I simply cannot thank them enough. I plan to keep it easy today, do some bible study, eat well, drink plenty of water and perhaps engage in something naughty by evening….perhaps ; ) They say as you get older you should get wiser, I don’t know about that…I’m not sure what I did at the R Bar last night was very smart (nope, not telling) However, I do feel a bit richer spiritually and it feels good.
Like many of you, I grew up in the world Gil Scott Heron spoke about and continue to experience the social ills he fought against. For me, his death is yet another reminder of why as an individual I must continue to be soldier for justice and love. I see many RIP messages for Gil and that’s cool. But as I tweeted earlier, I have no illusions that he is resting at all. Judging by all the love and tribute I’ve seen since his death, it seems to me that even now, Gil is still at work saving lost souls and calling out the bullshit for what it is. I am just thankful I lived in a world that included Gil Scott Heron. These are the songs I loved by him, I could have easily included dozens more .
I’m not too keen on the author using the likes of Harlem, Detroit and the streets, as a means of defining his class and upbringing. Felt myself cringing when he justified the white pedigree of his parents, and middle-class background. No matter where you’re from being called a ‘nigger’ by some bigoted stranger is always hurtful. I suppose it was written for the Daily Mail. But the reaction of everyone else was one of passive consent, which I can’t stand. This seems to be a theme, especially within the xenophobic and false nicety of the fashion industry. I understand why he was apprehensive to name the person at hand, but he should have. I’m sick to death at people turning a blind eye and in turn allowing these type of people to think it’s okay. I do understand that nothing is more hurtful than being called a ‘nigger’ or any other derogatory word that denotes the colour of your skin or sexuality. A feeling of shock, rage, frustration and embarrassment. If only you could make the perpetrator feel that same thing. It all just reminded me of that Mos Def song, ‘Mr.Nigga’.
I started to reply “wow” to this..then I stopped…why? because I am NOT surprised. Not in the least.
May the blessing of the rain be on you— the soft sweet rain. May it fall upon your spirit so that all the little flowers may spring up, and shed their sweetness on the air. May the blessing of the great rains be on you, may they beat upon your spirit and wash it fair and clean, and leave there many a shining pool where the blue of heaven shines, and sometimes a star.
Poet and musician Gil Scott-Heron passed away late this (Friday) afternoon. He was a too-young 62, though that voice and soul remain as vibrant as ever. The passing was confirmed by Scott-Heron’s publishing and label partners.
Scott-Heron is probably best known for “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” though he is also credited for influencing a range of musical genres, including hip-hop. This was a diverse and talented artist, one with an unmistakeable voice and impact. That influence stretches into the modern era, with Kanye West outwardly acknowledging his influence (just listen to “On Coming From a Broken Home (Part I)” for just one bit of evidence).
Scott-Heron was born in Chicago, spent part of his youth in Tennessee, but landed in the Bronx as a teenager. His greatest impact came in the 70s and 80s, and he often tackled tough issues of the era. There were small public reappearances in subsequent decades, though the 2000s featured some unfortunate struggles with substance abuse and resulting incarceration.
The past decade also featured occassional collaborations, including one with Blackalicious. Scott-Heron also released an album, I’m New Here, in 2010.
My curfew was street lights. My mom didn’t call my cell, she yelled my name out the window. I bought candy before school. I READ comic books. I played outside not online. If I didn’t eat what my mom cooked, then I didn’t eat. Sanitizer didn’t exist. But you COULD get the taste slapped out your mouth for being disrespectful. I rode a bike without a helmet. Getting dirty was okay & ALL the neighbors on my block knew me, my siblings and parents. I drank water from the fire hydrant & still survived.
Miles Davis is one of the most important musicians regardless of genre of all time. There is no shortage of books and online bios on his life. The Rolling Stone has a great quick and dirty bio which I really enjoyed. For a more comprehensive take I would recommend Miles: The Autobiography by Quincy Troupe. There is also hot and heavy talk about a biopic starring Don Cheadle (I’m really looking forward to this!). As always, I highly encourage you to find your way to these and other resources to learn more about Miles’ life. I also look forward to hearing your suggestions. Read More…
Happy Birthday Miles!
Track List So What Jeru Freddie Freeloader Moon Dreams Blue In Green Venus De Milo All Blues Budo Flamenco Sketches Deception Godchild Boplicity Rocker Israel Rouge Darn that Dream Paraphernalia Stuff
“Somewhere someone is thinking of you. Someone is calling you an angel. This person is using celestial colors to paint your image. Someone is making you into a vision so beautiful that it can only live in the mind. Someone is thinking of the way your breath escapes your lips when you are touched. How your eyes close and your jaw tightens with concentration as you give pleasure a home. These thoughts are saving a life somewhere right now. In some airless apartment on a dark, urine stained, whore lined street, someone is calling out to you silently and you are answering without even being there. So crystalline. So pure. Such life saving power when you smile. You will never know how you have cauterized my wounds. So sad that we will never touch. How it hurts me to know that I will never be able to give you everything I have.”—Henry Rollins (via iloveyoulessthanpunk)
Something many may not know, especially New Yorkers. The Borough of Queens has been home to many Jazz musicians. Most famously, Louis Armstrong lived in Corona till his death. Milt Hinton, who has a street named after him, lived in the same south east Queens neighbourhood that Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Lena Horne all called home. John Coltrane lived in Queens for a time, so did Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis….