June 24 on ASPiRE TV: Miles Davis tribute featuring DJ Moonbaby with Robert Glasper and Terrace Martin

AJ Miles Davis

On May 19, 2016, in honor of  jazz legend Miles Davis and his 90th birthday, Grammy-nominated producer/multi-instrumentalist Terrace Martin along with GRAMMY-winning jazz pianist Robert Glasper joined my good friend DJ Moonbaby at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in Los Angeles for a once in a lifetime community event. Glasper, who won his first Grammy with his breakout album, Black Radio, was celebrating his current release, a tribute to and re-imagining of Miles Davis’ music, Everything’s Beautiful. Martin has become well-known for his work with Kendrick Lamar, Quincy Jones, Snoop Dogg, 9th Wonder, and Talib Kweli, among many others.

MILES DAVIS TRIBUTE TO BE BROADCAST ON ASPiRE TV JUNE 24TH:

The free show brought the community together for a night of entertainment, jazz history, and the opportunity to witness some of this generation’s most talented musicians. It was incredible to bring the legend of Miles Davis to such a diverse and youthful crowd. With the release of the feature film, Miles Ahead, featuring Oscar-winner Don Cheadle, the timing is apropos. With a line-up of world class musicians, the packed crowd was wowed they played the music of the groundbreaking genius, Miles Davis. The entire event will be broadcast on the ASPiRE TV NETWORK THIS COMING FRIDAY, JUNE 24TH AT 10 P.M. PST.

JUST LIKE MILES DAVIS, CROSSING GENRES & BUILDING BRIDGES:

Martin and Glasper are not only bringing their love of jazz to the mainstream and new generation, they are merging genres with their collaborations with artists from other genres. Terrace has worked with a wide range of hip-hop and R&B artists, while Glasper has worked with musicians as diverse as Radiohead and Joni Mitchell.

DJ Moonbaby has a weekly radio show on acceleratedradio.net called UnRestricted, every Thursday night from 8-10 p.m. PST, playing the best in soul, hip-hop, gospel, and R&B, but truly throwing in anything she wants, even some trip-hop electronica now and then. She features live music and interviews with an indie artist discovery spotlight along with some of your favorite artists such as three-time Grammy winner Lalah Hathaway, Faith Evans, and more.  Additionally, she serves at the Gospel and TV/Film Music Awards Manager for the Grammy Awards. Aside from that, this busy chica has a gig hosting/curating a music series called Grammy Pro Buzzin’, in which she interviews musicians who are making waves in the current musical ocean as well as the current Grammy nominees and winners.

You can search find ASPiRE TV on your cable provider by searching their website here or calling your local provider. Do not miss this event: truly talented, innovative musicians paying tribute to one of the most groundbreaking musical geniuses of the 20th Century.

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Miles Davis Event
Miles Davis Event

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Miles Davis Event

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The blues according to Nina Simone: my ode to Queen Nina

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What hasn’t been said or written about Queen Nina Simone? She has been called an icon, a legend, and a genius, and she is one of my favorite artists of all time and I would be remiss if I didn’t use my blogging platform to honor her music – especially her love of blues and her strong political stance. She passed away in April of 2003 and she has haunted me since.

My late father told me a story of being about 16 years old in Hollywood, I believe at the Formosa Cafe. This would have been in the early/mid 60s. Nina Simone was playing at a club and he snuck in to see her. He met her for a few seconds and she told him how adorable he was. He used to listen to her version “Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” over and over, which the Animals covered a few years later. After my pops passed, I would listen to that song over and over too. It was soothing to my soul. She was incomparable and a complete bad-ass in everything she did.

Here are some of my favorite Nina tracks, starting with the aforementioned:

“Do I Move You?”

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James Booker: Producer Scott Billington on the enigmatic “Bayou Maharaja” (Part 1)

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James Carroll Booker III (1939-1983) was one of the foremost musical and piano geniuses of the 20th century, yet his name is not as widely known beyond music lovers, musicians, and New Orleanians. That should change because his last album is being revisited by a reissue of his album Classified by Rounder Records by renown roots producer Scott Billington, who did the original sessions for the album in 1983. Scott has produced and played on more than 100 recordings and won two Grammy Awards and has been nominated for 10. I had the good fortune of speaking with Scott this past week about the “tragic genius” of James Booker, who died at the age of 43 before he could become the household legend his legacy deserves. He’s been called the Piano Prince of New Orleans, a wizard, the King of New Orleans Keyboards, a tragic genius, and the Bayou Maharaja. Who was this man who was so talented and brought to the surface so much tragic emotion? Talking with Scott, who knew him well, sheds some light on this enigmatic genius. He suffered from mental illness and addiction which stymied his rise to his proper place among musics’ legendary geniuses.  This interview will be two parts as there is too much great info for just one post.

 

Rootnotemusic: People have called James Booker a genius. What do you see as his specific genius that is different from any other artist that sets him apart from other musicians labeled genius’ of his generation or his style of music?

Scott Billington: He could play more piano than anybody I ever heard. He could synthesize so many different styles of music.

Rootnotemusic: I heard gospel, ragtime, jazz, blues, classical.

Scott: He was a brilliant improviser. He had a classical background. He studied classical music when he was a boy and had a teacher that taught him Chopin and Rachmaninoff. He could do things with his mind that many other people couldn’t do. Earl King, the New Orleans piano player had many Booker stories. One of them was about showing up at a gig and the bandleader handed Booker a fairly complicated score and Booker looked at it for 10 or 15 seconds and Booker said “Okay I got it” and set it aside. And the bandleader said “What do you mean? You can’t play that!” Well he did.

Rootnotemusic: He was a true genius.

Scott: Yeah, Earl King said he had a photo mind, a photographic mind. Earl King told another story about the organist Jimmy Smith being in New Orleans and playing a show. They were backstage and they had an upright piano and Booker was back there and he said to Jimmy Smith ‘I really liked your show, but you made a mistake on the bridge to this song.’ And Jimmy Smith said ‘I didn’t make a mistake.’ And Booker said ‘Yes you did’ and he went to the piano and showed him. And Jimmy Smith said, ‘damn I guess I did.’ Booker said ‘well do you want to hear it backwards?’ and he could play the same song backwards and forwards with both hands at the same time.

Rootnotemusic: Why do you think he never achieved the wider notoriety of other musicians of his talent?
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