Enjoy this great short set from late 80’s TV featuring Miles Davis and his smoking band: Kenny Garrett, Joe “Foley” McCreary, Adam Holzman, Marcus Miller, Ricky Wellman and Don Alias, with special guest host David Sanborn. It don’t get much better than this!
Basehead was a glorious thing back in the day – the most indescribable band in era of genre mashing. Basehead was an outfit somewhere between hip-hop and country-western, and believe it or not that blend has aged well due to the good writing and consistent performances throughout.
Leader Michael Ivey sing-raps in a slow drawl about the blues in life – women, friends, drinking beer – as the band glides through the changes on mostly acoustic instruments. Many songs build to a slow-boil, balancing tension and melancholy in his pleadings, fully aware that they are breaking new stylistic ground.
They did 2 great albums in the 90’s – Play With Toys and Not In Kansas Anymore, then dropped out for a while. Ivey did manage another hard to find album after renaming the outfit DC Basehead but to my ears some of the initial magic was gone.
Here’s one of the many great tracks from their debut:
Daryl Hall has reworked his show Live from Daryl’s House and it’s still one of the best music shows going. Originally set in a barn on his rural property, it was a jam session sleepover recorded for our entertainment. He brought all sorts of artists out to the barn – indie and legends – and they would jam on a few songs, hang out, and generally just celebrate the awesomeness of great live music.
It’s now in a club-like setting up the road, featuring more space and better sound and still without a crowd. The end result feels a bit more like a throwback recording session than a jam session.
Which is awesome, of course.
The sound is perfect and there’s a little more space to stretch out and get more camera angles. It feels as though the musicians present the songs better than in the barn, perhaps because it’s more obviously a TV show and recording session. The barn was charming but had a private rehearsal feel.
I’ve watched several of the 2016 episodes now and the highlight has to be The O’Jays. They are funny, have a monstrous catalog, and of course Daryl is such a disciple of the O’Jays sound that it all fits perfectly.
There are moments when things change in music. Something new is done. The future is revealed.
The 1980’s were about fusion. Not the pop and art fusion of the 60’s, or the jazz and rock fusion of the 70’s, but a new tension between technology and humanity.
Synthesizers were smaller and becoming digital, which would bring their price down drastically. Electronic drums were available. Digital effects units could bend signal in new ways.
Hip-hop was on the forefront of this tension because of technology. First the mixing board with crossfaders and mutes, then the sampler and drum machine. These were new technologies that the masses used to make a new style of music, a cutup of old and new.
The late 80’s project Tackhead was fearless. It brought together sampling, looping, hip-hop, and live playing like no one before. Since then several have moved into this direction, including my crew with 2MERICA, the amazing Headtronics project with Freekbass, and others.
Taking the stage with instruments and gadgets and building something relevant that night is a small but growing art form. In some ways these guys started it all. Awesome stuff.
Wimbish is currently touring the states with Living Colour.
11 years ago, Me and My Friends made some of music. Well we had been making it for years but we finally released something in 2005.
The magic of the internet allows it to still be available. This was the 1st 2MERICA LP, followed up by Sensors&Switches&Buttons in 2007, and the Mass Entertainment EP in 2012. The 3rd and 4th are both in production. 2MERICA is EVERYWHERE U R.
The firstest and bestest version of the P-Funk Thang as it was forming in 1969.
Bernie isn’t there yet, neither is Tiki, Bootsy or Garry. But the Parliaments are out front and a very early version of Funkadelic is just blaring away behind them melding together 3-4 songs and 3-4 pieces of then unreleased songs.
The Parliaments have their dance moves down and their parts all together, no lie!
Eddie Hazel, Tawl Ross, and Billy Bass are forming a pretty nasty string section. The drummer and keyboard player here were soon replaced. George is from another world.
Who’s the finest electric guitarist of all time? It’s a very short list at the very very top.
There’s likely millions of good ones, thousands of amazing ones, and probably 100’s of legends I have heard of.
But then there’s the very top. The completely untouchable, unplayable motherfuggus that just knock people out. Done.
They make other guitar players try harder– or quit. Mic Guitar drop.
Eddie Hazel is one of those guys.
The most genius amongst a pack of them, he blazed through the P-Funk mob from ’67-’82 then battled his addictions outside of music. By 1990 he was starting his comeback stronger than ever. He passed away in 1992 at the young age of 42, a medical prescription error the supposed cause, unfinished music.
There’s lots of tributes out there. This one always gets me. It’s Bootsy’s tribute track just a few short years after Eddie’s passing. Beautiful.
Why flip the title? Good morning shows the future is bright.
“Good morning Eddie” because I know through music education our youth (and ignorant adults) will know geniuses like Edward Earl Hazel. They will live forever. They will be studied academically, spiritually, and musically. They are the 20th century masters.
Amp Fiddler managed to launch a successful solo career after many years with the P-Funk Mob. His records take that P-Funk groove and give it a touch more soul/R&B and let Amp get his strut on. Here’s a nice live clip from Switzerland a few years back where he mixes one of his songs into a MJ classic.
When you have your first certified hit as track #1 on your first album, track #2 becomes really important. Track 2 = What else can this band do?
If track 2 sounds like track 1 – probably a 1-trick pony. If track 2 sounds like a totally different band, well that’s confusing. If track 2 is nice but clearly not a hit, you think one hit wonder.
I Wanna Know, track 2 on Living Colour’s debut is nearly perfect. It counters the track 1 megahit Cult Of Personality with playfulness right off the bat. It isn’t driven by a monster riff and political lyrics but a bouncy bass line and sugar coated setup for a lovey vocal and cutesy guitar riffs in the verses.
Here’s a smoking live version from 2013:
The short cheesy verse moves quickly into the dramatic but nearly monotone hook, then back into a longer verse 2. It’s addictive by the time the 2nd chorus comes around.
When the bridge opens into new parts, including a 50’s style walking bass and a vocal break, I find myself thinking about Cult of Personality and how different that is from this.
Here’s a crap mp3 of the original (which you must own):
As the tight formula for I Wanna Know plays out and the musicians add more flavor, you start to hear the chops behind this song. The solo starts to wail, the rhythm section locks into a funk groove, then begin the long fade out, and concludes a nice little piece of pop/rock /metal.
The monster staccato riff of Middle Man then jumps up and you are sold on this Living Colour. Great album. Vivid indeed.
There’s a lot going on in this clip. It’s pretty good.
Ray Charles + Stevie Wonder, doing one of Stevie’s funk songs, with neither of their bands, for an awards show. It looks like the late 80’s with plastic keyboards and big hair but the talent is so great it works out just fine.
Also since Ray’s R&B big band really doesn’t do the early 70’s funk groove that this song was originally cut in, for this era they turned into a disco-tempo gospel style romp. It’s reframes the song nicely.
Imagine if these two ever did a full record together….
Stevie Wonder is a monster musical genius, capable of perfection at every angle. Tribute shows are the big thing now, and I’m not complaining. Anytime someone can throw down the cash needed to properly work these songs up and make other famous artists step up to the plate and deliver some classic material, magic can happen. This ain’t a laptop DJ.
So I found two great Stevie tributes online. Both feature amazing lineups, great setlists, perfect playing, Stevie himself lending a hand or two, and plenty of amazing moments.
I loved this band, very strange indeed. Two dudes with synths, sequencers, guitars, and occasionally a drummer. Gil Mantera played bass, synths, sang, and generally rocked one of the most awesome looks ever to hit the stage. His partner Ultimate Donny sang his heart out through some very strange lyrics and played an icy lead guitar while wearing a trench coat and not much else.
Their songs are strong and the mix was unlike anything else. It’s nearly every genre at once and it works. I heard they broke up a few years ago :-(.
Behold the awesome sauce that was Gil Mantera’s Party Dream (GMPD), and check out the rest of the record – it’s full of jams and left turns.