Tag Archives: black music

RIP Pharoah Sanders (1940 – 2022)

Pharoah Sanders was een Afro-Amerikaans componist en saxofonist. Tot zijn bekendste composities behoren “The Creator Has a Master Plan” (1969) en “Hum-Allah-Hum-Allah-Hum-Allah (Prince of Peace)” (1969). 

“Hum-Allah”

Zelf vind ik vooral die “Hum Allah” van belang omdat ik daar voor het eerst het haast buitenaards gejodel van Leon Thomas hoorde.  

Als mijn herinneringen mij niet in de steek laten maakte ik met Sanders kennis toen ik  “You Got to Have Freedom” (1980) via een Jazz Juice compilatie te horen kreeg. De uithalen op die plaat behoren tot de meest energieke luchtstoten die iemand ooit uit een saxofoon liet opstijgen. Je zou het perfect na “Space is the Place” (1973) van Sun Ra kunnen draaien.  

Er is niet zo heel veel jazz waar ik van hou (net genoeg eigenlijk), maar die van Sanders is er wel bij. 

Hij speelde uiteraard met Bill Laswell samen. 

“Harvest Time” (1977)

Het afgelopen jaar trakteerde YouTube mij heel vaak op “Harvest Time” van zijn elpee Pharoah (1977), een trancy plaat die doet denken aan het werk van hedendaagse sax-furore Colin Stetson en tevens Sanders’ laatste werk met Floating Points voorafschaduwt. 

Sanders met Floating Points

Verder is mij nog naar aanleiding van dit schielijk overlijden opgevallen dat het ‘New Age’-religieuze aspect dat Sanders in zijn muziek binnenbracht zich niet alleen in het Verre Oosten (Karma, 1969) afspeelde maar ook in het Nabije Oosten (Tauid, 1967). Achteraf gezien is dat niet onlogisch, want Sanders is slechts een van de vele jazzmuzikanten die zich in die tijd tot de islam bekeerden, een religie die zich in de jaren negentig in Europa nog niet op de kaart had gezet. 

RIP Pharoah Sanders 

RIP Joe Simon (1936 – 2021)

“Love Vibration” (1978) by Joe Simon

Joe Simon was an American singer who worked in the soul and R&B idioms. Well-known recordings are “The Chokin’ Kind” (1967) and “Drowning in the Sea of Love” (1971).

But I give you “Love Vibration” (1978) because Larry Levan used to played it at the Paradise Garage.

Be sure to also check “The Chokin’ Kind” for its interesting percussion. Morevoer, that song was written by Harlan Howard, the same songwriter who gave us country music favorite “No Charge”.

RIP Greg Tate (1957 – 2021)

Greg Tate was was an American writer, musician, and producer.

Track from All You Zombies Dig The Luminosity! (2017)

A long-time critic for The Village Voice, Tate focused particularly on African-American music and culture.

Also a musician himself, he was a founding member of the Black Rock Coalition and the leader of Burnt Sugar.

He is known for such pieces as “Yo! Hermeneutics!” (1985) and was interviewed by Mark Dery in “Black to the Future” (1994), making Tate a key figure in the protohistory of black science fiction.

Some have called a rogue scholar and when one reads “Yo! Hermeneutics!”, one does get the feeling of having landed in an African-American version of the Sokal affair.

RIP MF Doom (1971 – 2020)

MF Doom was a British-born American rapper. He died two months ago, but news came out only recently.

Like Sun Ra, who he sampled more than once, MF Doom builds his own universe. It is not difficult to see how he influenced Tyler, the Creator, another voice in hip hop I appreciate.

Like Buckethead, MF Doom wore a mask during concerts.

RIP Johnny Nash (1940 – 2020)

Johnny Nash  was an African-American singer-songwriter, best known for his 1972 hit “I Can See Clearly Now“.

On the Belgian popcorn scene, popular recordings of Nash included “Some of Your Lovin'”, “Old Man River”, “Moment of Weakness”, “Kisses”, “I’m Leaving”, “I’m Counting On You” and “Don’t Take Away Your Love”.

RIP Bill Withers (1938 – 2020)

Who Is He (And What Is He to You)?” (1972)

Bill Withers was an American singer-songwriter known for songs such as “Lean on Me”, “Use Me” and “Ain’t No Sunshine”.

I give you “Who Is He (And What Is He to You)?” (1972) because it’s one of the best adultery songs ever with the unforgettable opening lines:

A man we passed just tried to stare me down
And when I looked at you
You looked at the ground

While researching this death, I came across a rather smart piece of music criticism by the American author Robert Christgau (born 1942):

“Withers sang for a black nouveau middle class that didn’t yet understand how precarious its status was. Warm, raunchy, secular, common, he never strove for Ashford & Simpson-style sophistication, which hardly rendered him immune to the temptations of sudden wealth—cross-class attraction is what gives ‘Use Me’ its kick. He didn’t accept that there had to be winners and losers, that fellowship was a luxury the newly successful couldn’t afford.