Category Archives: Funk/ R&B/ Hip Hop

Sun Goddess

How the paths of Ramsey Lewis and Maurice White led to the recording of this quiet storm classic

Ramsey Lewis recorded this track in 1974 with Maurice White & members of Earth Wind  & Fire

by Marshall Bowden

Ramsey Lewis was one of the more popular jazz musicians of the 1950s and 1960s, bridging the gap between gospel, blues, soul, and jazz. The Lewis of this period is best known for his gospel and blues-inflected pop tunes with a heavy backbeat, such as “The ‘In’ Crowd”, “A Hard Day’s Night”, and “Hang On Sloopy”.

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Aretha Arriving: Young, Gifted and Black

Aretha Franklin, great American singer, songwriter and pianist, passed away on August 16th. As a tribute, New Directions In Music takes a look at her landmark 1972 recording Young, Gifted and Black and Ms. Franklin’s place in the movement for black equality in America.

by Marshall Bowden

Download or Stream It

Aretha Franklin had already had a long career by 1972. She had recorded a number of records for Columbia Records in styles that were largely jazz and cabaret singer settings, with only smatterings of R&B and soul, with tepid results. Her move to Atlantic Records put her into the orbit of Jerry Wexler, Arif Martin, and Tom Down and Aretha’s subsequent Atlantic releases were largely R&B and soul affairs with pop covers and the occasional look back at an earlier style

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Flying Dutchman: A Survey

by Marshall Bowden

flying groove
Flying Grooves : Download or listen

Former John Coltrane producer and Impulse! Records A&R man Bob Thiele founded the Flying Dutchman record label with the express intention of producing a line of jazz-based records that would sell and be played on the radio. He also recorded a lot of favorite jazz artists, including a great many leading avant-garde players (Ornette Coleman, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp) and others (Oliver Nelson, Bud Freeman) who found themselves without recording contracts. In 1971 the label was acquired by Atco, a subsidiary of Atlantic Records.

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Remain In Light: Full Circle with Angelique Kidjo

by Marshall Bowden

 

There were charges of cultural appropriation in the air when Talking Heads fourth album, Remain In Light, was released in 1980, charges that seemed to intensify when lead singer David Byrne and producer Brian Eno released My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, a collaboration that in many ways fueled Remain in Light. Remain In Light benefited from a looser, funkier approach that was explored by the band’s married rhythm section, bassist Tina Weymouth and drummer Chris Frantz. It was the first album released due to legal issues with sampling rights that kept Bush of Ghosts unreleased until 1981.

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