Pulitzer Prize-winning trumpeter Wynton Marsalis cares about preserving the roots of American jazz. For the Florida premiere of "Congo Square," Marsalis' Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra is collaborating with Ghanian master drummer Yacub Addy's percussion ensemble Odadaa! for a suite celebrating the New Orleans site where African slaves performed indigenous music until it was outlawed in 1802. Outtakes caught up with Marsalis after a New York City rehearsal to get to the roots of the roots:
Outtakes: How did you and Addy decide to write "Congo Square"?
Marsalis: It's the place where African music began to be turned into American music in New Orleans. It was really the only place on the whole continent where slaves were allowed to play drums and play their music. I figured it would be good to have an original composition that has that festive feeling of the Sunday markets in Congo Square.
So this is important stuff.
It's important to the history of American music. It's also significant in the world that we live in now with the whole question of integration of people and the arts. Congo Square was one of the great cases of cultural integration in the history of music.
How did it factor into the birth of jazz in New Orleans?
I think Congo Square prepared the way for the amalgamation of dance and music and the African form of improvisation. It kept the whole celebratory spirit and strength in the community. The belief in the culture, the pride and all the things that are in jazz began in Congo Square. The type of pride and freedom that comes from jazz is found in the acorn and the tree that it became in Congo Square.
What's been unique about "Congo Square"? What was your main objective with the piece?
I always work with a form. There are seven sections on each side because Congo Square took place on Sunday. We deal with the whole familial aspect of it. We develop themes. We have a love song, a thing about women, a market theme, things about men. Yacub gave me pieces, and I arranged them for the orchestra. I wrote my pieces and sent them to him, and he'd add the grooves to them. The key is to make it simple and make it groove. Let all the complexities be in the guts of the music. It's not flashy. It just has a very earthy sound, and it touches you. Robert Hicks
The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Yacub Addy's Odadaa! perform at 8 p.m. Monday, April 24, at the Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach. Tickets cost $20 to $100. Call 561-832-7469, or visit kravis.org.
To: New Employees
From: Emo-Rock Headquarters
Date: April 19, 2006
Subject: Corporate Guidelines
With all of the recent hires, we thought it would be prudent to review some essential company guidelines:
Your band name must include a day, a month, or a season. Please note that "Thursday" is taken, but you're welcome to go with something like "The Thursday Capitulation." Our research department highly recommends the use of "Sunday" and/or "Indian Summer."
Please leave the resonant singing voices at home we require a thin, high-pitched whine. You're welcome to offset this with screams/shouts from a second vocalist, but nothing too blood-curdling.
Attire-wise, hoodies, ringer tees, and Dickies-style clothing are all preferred the more you look like a gas station attendant, the better.
Guitarists we encourage angularity, but don't be afraid of standard melodies and hooks. Now is not the time to be too arty or adventurous.
The more angsty and confessional your songs, the better. Don't feel bad about lyrically lashing out at the girls who've hurt you females will still come to your shows and sing along to every word. Stick to these guidelines and you're certain to rise quickly up the corporate ladder! Michael Alan Goldberg
There are a zillion emo bands playing anywhere, everywhere, at this very moment. This week, our lucky little corner of the world gets its emo on with Horse the Band, Fall of Troy, Criteria, All American Rejects, Fall Out Boy, Emery, and Anberlin. Check Live Wire and the Calendar section for details.
Weed, Wonderful Weed
Maybe I took the Sex Pistols' line of "never trust a hippie" a little too close to heart. Maybe growing up in the polluted valleys of Latin America has instilled in me a predilection for smells in the industrial-to-cancerous range. Maybe it's the paranoia I've observed throughout the years that makes it seem like more of a task than actual recreation. Maybe it's the goofy nonsense some of my friends seem to spout between bursts of choking laughter and cottonmouthed halitosis.
I don't know what it is that's at the root of marijuana's allure, but I know it's funny. Like the nice dude I met in Corrections this month who confessed, "Fuck this shit, nigga. I wanna go smoke some weed."
Stoners are a likable and well-intended bunch, always wanting you to sit down and chill. Resourceful too! Think Richard Dean Anderson (ABC's MacGyver) would have been able to save the day, every day, unless he had some serious hours logged in Bong-making 101? You have not lived until you see a lebes gamikos vase reproduction turned into a water pipe.
Thankfully, we've come a long way from hippiedom, and Mary Jane's creative fuel has diversified across subcultures. So on the magic date of April 20, at ten minutes past the magic time of 4:20 p.m., Toker Productions presents the 420 Fest-Ovis, now in its second year. "As the president of Toker Productions," promoter Jared Cole says, "it's my duty to throw a festival on 4/20." Let the ganja begin!
Whether the Kingshead Pub allows smoking indoors, I do not know, but I do know they have a lax in/out policy and your car still smells like that one time we spilled the Graffix in the back seat. There will be a continuous outdoor drum circle, so you can hotbox to the beat outside and then head inside for the self-described "jellyroll rap" of Pilot Rai, the all-girl pop of Unstitched, and the cannibinoid experimentalism of Life in the So-Called Space Age, who along with the Professor will be rocking a theremin (dude, sweet). Also on the bill are acoustic babes Consider the Violet, jazz funkers Subject 2 Change, and reggae punks Boulevard Heights. DJ Immortal will keep the flow between acts with customized, sinsemilla-tailored sets for the live graffiti artists to work to. "It's pretty much all over the place," Cole says of his sticky green celebration. "Early on, it's a little mellow, and later on, it's a little hyper." Just like me after a coupla J's. Abel Folgar
The 420 Fest-Ovis starts at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 20, at the Kingshead Pub, 2692 N. University Dr., Sunrise. Tickets cost you guessed it $4.20. Call 954-572-5933.
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