My new mix is a tribute to Roy Ayers, one of my favourite musicians. Roy was born in 1940 and hails from South-Central Los Angeles. Roy started recording as a bebop sideman in 1962 and rose to prominence when he joined jazz flutist Herbie Mann in 1966. In the early Seventies Roy formed the band Ubiquity and became one of jazz-funk’s leading proponents. My musical choices on some of the many tracks Roy wrote or played on as a sideman. I have avoided the usual favourites, but I couldn’t resist Everybody Loves the Sunshine! At seventy-five Roy is still going strong and I can personally vouch that his live act is stunning. A true giant!
I have always known Yusef Lateef’s music from back in the day. But, recently I have been rediscovering what a musical phenomenon he really was. For those not familiar with Lateef here’s a short biography.
Yusef Abdul Lateef, October 9, 1920 – December 23, 2013) was an American multi-instrumentalist, & composer. Although working predominantly in the idiom known as Jazz, Lateef wanted to be known as a musician rather than a “jazz” musician. Lateef’s main instruments were the tenor saxophone and flute, but he also played bamboo flute, shanai, shofar, xun, arghul and koto. He was a true innovator studying “Eastern music” and blending it with western influences to create a new genre. Yusef “played world music before world music had a name.”
Well if you want to hear why I love his music, I have posted a mix on Mixcloud which gives a little of his essence. I am only really disturbing the surface of a deep well of brilliance, so I advise you to search out his albums and discover for yourselves what a musical genius he was.
Archie Shepp (born May 24, 1937) has always been controversial. Part of the black nationalism movement in the sixties, his anger and defiance manifested themselves in such compositions “Malcolm, Malcolm—Semper Malcolm,” from his breakthrough 1965 Impulse! release Fire Music. He blew sax using an aggressive, grating sound, that nevertheless paid homage to the past. Shepp became the jazz world’s Malcolm X. His controversial statements about race relations and justice only added to this perception. This mix begins by showing Shepp’s more funky melodic side, before delving into his more “difficult” music. Give a listen to one of jazz music’s true innovators.
It’s always difficult to predict what will go down well with the punters on Mixcloud. For example, many of my friends are heavily into early seventies spiritual jazz, me too. But it appears that the listeners on Mixcloud are not that enamoured with the genre. I consistently get low volumes of listeners when I post a spiritual jazz mix. Quite the opposite for Japanese jazz, it always gets a lot of plays. Why? Does Mixcloud have a hardcore of Japanese jazz aficionados? Search me! I wish I knew. In order to try and analyse my listening trends I have logged my plays over the last six months. Surprisingly, my mix inspired by Eric Satie came top of the list. There must be a lot of Satie fans out there. Well I guess there are, but I didn’t expect so many on Mixcloud. Spanish Jazz came a close second, lets here it for the Iberian peninsular. And, in third place “Verse” my poetry and jazz joint, another surprise. Must be some Ginsberg fans in the mix!
Anyway, here is my top twenty mixes – take a listen if you care to, but I’d be just as happy if you checked out some of my less successful mixes at: http://www.mixcloud.com/tony-todd/. They are all my children and just because they failed to make the charts doesn’t mean I’m any less proud of them.
01 Satie http://www.mixcloud.com/tony-todd/satie/
02 Jazz Espana http://www.mixcloud.com/tony-todd/jazz-espa%C3%B1a/
03 Verse http://www.mixcloud.com/tony-todd/verse/
04 The Crusaders http://www.mixcloud.com/tony-todd/dj2tee-presents-the-crusaders/
05 Unusual Suspects http://www.mixcloud.com/tony-todd/unusual-suspects/
06 Jazz Reggae http://www.mixcloud.com/tony-todd/jazz-reggae/
07 Japanese Jazz 2 http://www.mixcloud.com/tony-todd/japanese-jazz-2/
08 Japanese Jazz 3 http://www.mixcloud.com/tony-todd/japanese-jazz-3/
09 Japanese Jazz 1 http://www.mixcloud.com/tony-todd/japanese-jazz/
10 Universal Musical Mind http://www.mixcloud.com/tony-todd/universal-musical-mind/
11 Nordic Noir http://www.mixcloud.com/tony-todd/nordic-noir/
12 Turkish Delight http://www.mixcloud.com/tony-todd/turkish-delight/
13 Talk to the People http://www.mixcloud.com/tony-todd/talk-to-the-people/
14 The Joyous Sound of Flute http://www.mixcloud.com/tony-todd/the-joyous-sound-of-flute/
15 Ocean of Sound http://www.mixcloud.com/tony-todd/ocean-of-sound/
16 Modal Jazz http://www.mixcloud.com/tony-todd/modal-jazz/
17 Bad Sneakers http://www.mixcloud.com/tony-todd/bad-sneakers/
18 Polish Jazz http://www.mixcloud.com/tony-todd/the-story-of-polish-jazz/
19 Amen Break http://www.mixcloud.com/tony-todd/amen/
20 Afro-Blue http://www.mixcloud.com/tony-todd/afro-blue/
I’m no expert in Spanish Jazz, but I wanted to put together a music mix that reflected that region. Interestingly, whilst it is easy to get some perspective on Jazz from other countries, it seems to be difficult to get any in depth material on Spanish Jazz. A quick trawl of the internet reveals very little. The Wikipedia entry is not particularly enlightening. And, I found nothing that gives a good historical perspective. So, any pointers would be warmly welcomed.
In the end, I merely put together a selection of stuff that I liked. Much of this music is relatively new, and for reasons I’ve mentioned, don’t expect a historic perspective. Whilst some of the music follows an American model, other tracks exhibit the influence of forms such as flamenco. Anyway, I hope you enjoy my selection. It can be found here: http://www.mixcloud.com/tony-todd/jazz-espa%C3%B1a/
According to Wikipedia: The word “verse” is commonly, though incorrectly, used in lieu of “poetry” to distinguish it from prose. Where the common unit of verse is based on meter or rhyme, the common unit of prose is purely grammatical, such as a sentence or paragraph. Yeah Sure! Call it what you will, these poets, rappers, verbalists are spittin’ chanting’ rhyming’ lines of poetry, rap, lyric and so on. Its not everybody’s cup of tea, but I love a combination of poetry and music, so I put together a mix that feature some of my favourites. Check it out at: http://www.mixcloud.com/tony-todd/verse/
What makes a DJ mix popular? To be perfectly frank – I have no idea. I’ve been doing the virtual DJ thing for a while on MixCloud and I am always slightly surprised at the popularity of certain mixes. I suppose to a certain extent it depends on the popularity with your peer DJs. There is an element of nepotism on MixCloud, if a top DJ likes your mix, then you are guaranteed extra plays. How you get to be a top DJ on MixCloud, seems to an esoteric process on which the personal preferences of the MixCloud politburo seems to play a large part. I specialist in jazz and to be “really” popular you have to be included in the Jazz category. I have never managed that yet. The choice of categorised DJ seems a bit hit and miss. There are people in there who have far less followers than me. I have asked MIxcloud about that and never really got a proper answer. Maybe I should send them a box of chocolates!
Anyhow, that’s my rant over. Below are the top ten of my most popular mixes. If you fancy a listen, just click on an image. As always I value your comments. You can leave a comment here or on Mixcloud. If you do like a mix, please love it or Tweet it.