Legends, Urban and Otherwise (Something Else! on www.WtnrRadio.com for 10/08/09)

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All sorts of fun stuff this week following the “Something Else Intro.” A couple of movie soundtrack cuts “This City Never Sleeps” by Eurythmics (9 1/2 Weeks) and “The Human Fly” by Lalo Schifrin (Enter The Dragon.) Lalo Schifrin scored the whole film and according to the liner notes managed to simulate a few traditional Chinese instruments through clever combinations of western instruments since the film budget wouldn’t allow for the “real” instruments. Low budgets were the fate of some classic 70s films that yielded great soundtracks (e.g., Superfly) Maybe he learned a few tricks while playing in Dizzy Gillespie’s band–Diz became quite interested in “world” music many years after his bebop heyday. Speaking of world music, “Arroz Com Feijao” by Saravah Soul and “Tumbala (Da Lata Remix)” by Novalima both come out of the Afro-Latin tradition that fascinated Mr. Gillespie so much. However, both of these tracks have a little “something else” added to them–Saravah Soul spice it up with a pinch of funk and Novalima gets the afro-house touch on the Da Lata remix. “Luxury (Cottonbelly Remix)” by Maxwell is an interesting track. To begin with, Maxwell was part of the 90s soul revival that introduced artists like Erykah Badu, D’Angelo and Omar. Generally, he collaborates with Stuart Matthewman, player of keyboards and woodwinds for jazzy pop/soul groups Sade & Sweetback. Stuart has yet another career as electronic producer and remixer Cottonbelly–who does the soulful, electronic re-groove on this track. “A Charmed Life” by J-Live is an underground hiphop mc’s story of how he got to where he is. He has some clever uses of metaphor as would befit a former English teacher (he taught in Brooklyn, NYC.) The French downtempo producer Kid Loco was also a 90s phenom. Around the mid-90s DJ Cam and a lot of great French acid-jazz & hiphop was popular Kid Loco made his mark with the album A Grand Love Story. Today we hear the title track. Carlos Guaico has been part of several great LA music groups I’ve known about: Mesh of Mind, The Black Eyed Peas, The Breakestra and The Rebirth. “Love Issue (Radio Edit)” by The Rebirth is something Carlos told me about on their Reverb Nation site–sign up and go get it! As indicated in the title of this episode, the next track is by a legend–Stanley Clarke. Along with Jaco Pastorius, Larry Graham and Louis Johnson (featured on the track) Mr. Clarke helped elevate the bass guitar from being “just” the low-end to being a lead instrument. “Play The Bass 10³” by Stanley Clarke shows you what he can do melodically — the funky support is provided by Louis “Thunder-Thumbs” Johnson. Many people know that the Sinead O’Connor hit “Nothing Compares 2 U” was written by Prince. What most of them do not know is that it was written for a group that Prince was producing in the 80s called The Family during the initial breakup of The Time. The original version appears on their self-titled album that featured hit “The Screams of Passion.” Unfortunately, the album didn’t sell very much and so the song I liked the most is pretty obscure unless you followed the scene created by Prince. “High Fashion” by The Family is classic 80s Prince, but I think holds up quite well. Speaking of “holding up,” the next track “Tohu Bohu Pt. 1” by the late Marc Moulin is from 1975 and is still quite listenable as a piece of experimental jazz. Both this track and the next have been sampled and refashioned into electronic pieces that I love, but I wanted you to hear the original sources which are great as well. “Afro Lypso” is by the great Mongo Santamaria — no stranger to refashioning music. Mongo’s version of Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man” was probably more popular than the original. Keeping it latin, but a bit more current is “Luz Del Atardecer feat. Debi Nova” by Urban Legend, something I was given by the artist on a recent trip to Barcelona. Definitely check out the new album Tropical Techniques. “The Final Peace” wraps up the show, performed by yet another legend–guitarist Jeff Beck. Beck was the 2nd guitarist to leave popular UK group The Yardbirds for greater fame (Eric Clapton was first and the last was Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin.) His 60s group featured bassist Ron Wood (later rhythm guitarist for the Rolling Stones) and vocalist Rod Stewart. I’ve always been amazed by Jeff Beck’s versatility and soulful tone. I hope that this tune speaks to you as well.

Enjoy and I’ll have more tunes next week…

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