I got a groove thing going on...

Ok, in three days and four hours we leave for Istanbul: do I LOOK excited?!?  We got a note today from some of our new friends in Istanbul that OUR excitement has gotten THEM to work on pulling together a gathering of Turkish musicians and bloggers interested in the same peace-groove as the Jazz Ambassadors.  How much fun is that?  (Can I get an AMEN?!?) No wonder I've got a groove thing going on and just CAN'T get a few songs out of my head - one could even become a theme of sorts:

+ Let's start with the master of funk and genre-bending, Mr. Sylvester Stone, better know as Sly and his Family Stone. He's gotten lost in the coke and the buzz, but back in the day this brother could make it happen on so many levels. Right up there with Booker T and the MGs for mixing Black and White musicians  together to model something new - and let's not forget that Sly brought the women in as equals, too.  Just watching these guys was counter-cultural - I saw them two nights in a row back in Central Park- and when they started to play... watch out!  Driving back from lunch with my daughter, "Everyday People" came on the IPOD and it sounded just as fresh, funky and relevant as when I first heard it.

+ And what about this remake from another family stoned:  Arrested Development? They kick it up a bit  - and get more explicit about the politics - but they still claim the same heart and soul as Sly, yes?  And can they ever get an integrated crowd into it - something that speaks to me at a very deep level - as being ambassadors of jazz is NOT a spectator sport.

+ And as long as I'm in a groove thing... who could leave out War's masterpiece:  Low Rider? These guys mixed up the sound and broke down some racial and musical barriers, too.  Wikipedia writes: "the band's goal was to spread a message of brotherhood and harmony, using instruments and voices to speak out against racism, hunger, gangs, crimes, and turf wars, and promote hope and the spirit of brotherhood."  I am down with that and always have to get up and dance when I hear the opening cow bell call to action - same with "The World is a Ghetto."

And then, just for some perspective, what came up on the IPOD a few minutes after brother Sly?  Miles Davis' classic:  "Freddy Freeloader." Kerouac described something like this song when he said:  Here’s a guy and everyboy’s there, right? Up to him to put down what’s on everybody else’s mind. He starts the first chorus, then lines up his ideas, people, yeah, yeah, but get it, and then rises to his fate and has to blow equal to it. All of a sudden somwhere in the middle of the chorus he gets IT- everybody looks up and knows; they listen; he picks it up and carries. Time stops. He’s filling empty space with the substance of our lives, confessions of his bellybottom strain, remembrance of ideas, rehashes of old blowing. He has to blow across bridges and come back and do it with such infinite feeling soul-exploratory for the tune of the moment that everybody knows its not the tune that counts but IT!

And can you believe the line-up of this band? The solos are by Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Paul Chambers, and Wynton Kelly.


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