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Tag: Fontella Bass

Thursday, January 8th

voices I miss

Lester Bowie’s From the Root to the Source (MCOTD Hall-of-Famer Lester Bowie [1941-1999], trumpet; Fontella Bass, vocals, piano; Martha Bass, vocals; Malachi Favors, bass, et al.), live, 1983


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lagniappe

reading table

I walked through the mountains today. The weather was damp, and the entire region was grey. But the road was soft and in places very clean. At first I had my coat on; soon, however, I pulled it off, folded it together, and laid it upon my arm. The walk on the wonderful road gave me more and even more pleasure; first it went up and then descended again. The mountainous world appeared to me like an enormous theatre. The road snuggled up splendidly to the mountainsides. Then I came down into a deep ravine, a river roared at my feet, a train rushed past me with magnificent white smoke. The road went through the ravine like a smooth white stream, and as I walked on, to me it was as if the narrow valley were bending and winding around itself. Grey clouds lay on the mountains as though that were their resting place. I met a young traveller with a rucksack on his back, who asked if I had seen two other young fellows. No, I said. Had I come here from very far? Yes, I said, and went farther on my way. Not a long time, and I saw and heard the two young wanderers pass by with music. A village was especially beautiful with humble dwellings set thickly under the white cliffs. I encountered a few carts, otherwise nothing, and I had seen some children on the highway. We don’t need to see anything out of the ordinary. We already see so much.

—Robert Walser (1878-1956), “A Little Ramble” (translated from German by Tom Whalen)

Saturday, 12/29/12

passings

Fontella Bass, singer, July 3, 1940-December 26, 2012

“Rescue Me,” TV Show (Shindig), 1965

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“Theme De Yoyo,” with the Art Ensemble of Chicago, 1970

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“God Has Smiled On Me,” with mother Martha Bass, brother David Peaston, Amina Claudine Myers (piano), Malachi Favors (bass), Phillip Wilson (drums), 1980

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“All That You Give,” with The Cinematic Orchestra, 2002

Thursday, 6/9/11

kaleidoscopic, adj. 1. changing form, pattern, color, etc., in a manner suggesting a kaleidoscope. 2. continually shifting from one set of relations to another. E.g., the music of the Art Ensemble of Chicago.

Art Ensemble of Chicago (Roscoe Mitchell, saxophone; Joseph Jarman, saxophone; Lester Bowie, trumpet; Malachi Favors, bass; Don Moye, drums), live, Europe, 1980s

Part 1

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One of my all-time favorite musicians—no matter the instrument, no matter the genre—is the guy playing bass. If I’m feeling down, he lifts me up. If I’m feeling good, he makes things even better.

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Part 2

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How many trumpeters play so many different colors?

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Part 3

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Part 4

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Part 5

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Part 6

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Avant-garde? Their use of polyphony recalls the earliest New Orleans jazz.

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Part 7

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How many musicians not only roam so widely but swing so hard?

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lagniappe

more

Art Ensemble of Chicago with Fontella Bass, “Theme de Yoyo” (1970)

More? Here.

Thursday, 3/31/11

basement jukebox*
(an occasional series)

Fontella Bass, “Rescue Me” (1965)

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Tyrone Davis, “Can I Change My Mind” (1969)

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Otis Clay, “The Only Way Is Up” (1980)

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*When I was a little boy, a big bright shiny jukebox lit up our basement. Daily it granted our wishes, communicated with just the touch of a finger, for “Wake Up, Little Susie” (Everly Brothers) and “The Battle of New Orleans” (Johnny Horton) and “(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance” (Gene Pitney). It taught me something I’ve never forgotten—music is magic.

Monday, 3/14/11

Albert King

Fontella Bass

Art Ensemble of Chicago

Fela Anikulapo Kuti

Few musicians travel so widely—or so well.

Lester Bowie, trumpet, October 11, 1941-November 8, 1999

Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy (Steve Turre, trombone; Phillip Wilson, drums)
Live, Germany (Berlin), 1986

#1

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#2 (Whitney Houston’s “Saving All My Love For You”)

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Lester and drummer Phillip Wilson were kindred spirits. Like Lester, the drummer came out of St. Louis. And like Lester, he roamed freely. Adventurous jazz (Art Ensemble of Chicago), funky soul (Stax Records sessions), hard-rocking blues (Paul Butterfield Blues Band): to each he brought the same hands, the same feet, the same ears.

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lagniappe

Bill Cosby on Lester Bowie

Vodpod videos no longer available.
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