Kyle & I have been pluggin’ away here (admittedly, more Kyle as my semester is over tomorrow). TT will be back with more tapes for y(our) ears. It’s difficult to find time to pull some words together on the recent pick, DP’s A Lil’ Light, as my listening has been punctuated by school-related reading & work-related…work. Furthermore, the dialogue that Kyle & I have been sharing has been focused on all the publicity that hip hop has been receiving in the shadow of Don Imus’ comment/firing. While the comment was idiotic, the aftermath, in my opinion, has been productive. There have been numerous conversations across all media outlets on the message(s) that spew forth from popular hip hop music. Kyle & I have been on top of this before Imus and as a hip hop fan, I’m encouraged by the all the discussion (from blogs, to radio, to Oprah and news outlets). The opinions have varied but the discussion is necessary to address the real problem, which I think is the fact that an entire community has gone beyond complacency, and is advocating a culture that is violent, misogynistic, and teaches its young to devalue education, authority, and women. The time of displacing responsibility has passed. It is time for the hip hop community to look at this problem introspectively. I’m pleased to see influential people like Rev. Al & Russell speaking out on this important issue.

In addition to the news, my music listening has also changed gears a bit as I’ve delved into the jazz scene. I am currently reading Ashley Kahn’s A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane’s Signature Album. While not a fluid read (it reads kind of like a journal), it provides an excellent account of the background and context that birthed Coltrane’s masterpiece. I’m not all that well versed in music theory or technical jazz terms, but Kahn does a good job of breaking the music down and I’ve really begun to listen to and appreciate the tracks all that much more. As I read Kahn’s description of 1959 jazz releases, I couldn’t help but conceptualize that period as akin to the early 90’s Golden Era, or vice versa. The work that came out in the late 50’s, by most jazz standards, is considered some of the best. I’ve been exposed to some great albums (currently listening to Charles Mingus’ Mingus Ah Um and loving it). Through my blog travels, I came across this the other day and thought it was appropriate to what I was thinking. Needless to say, Coltrane’s A Love Supreme has been ascending my list of favorite albums for a few years now and Kahn’s breakdown facilitates this progress – “Acknowledgment” amazes me and for me, is great as a late night track, or an early morning one. (Admittedly, I’m still partial to “Say It (Over & Over Again)” from Ballads but “Acknowledgment” is making it’s way up the list fast). I’ve been a peripheral jazz fan for a few years now but really become more focused on it over the last few months. Coincidentally or not, I’ve enjoyed the escape from the pop hip hop scene and Coltrane, Mingus, & Colemen have been a comfortable immersion.

With that said, I assure you that Kyle & I will be talkin’ hip hop shortly. My spidey sense tells me that Sa Ra’s The Hollywood Recordings may be in Trading Tapes future. I have copped it and through two listens am really diggin’ the fresh vibe. “Hey Love” & “Sweet Sour You,” with Bilal are the standouts early on…as is the renewed “So Special.”


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