Nina Lanegra - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection http://www.jazzreview.com Tue, 23 May 2017 10:03:37 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb The Insurrection in Cuba: 'The Battle of Ideas' Tour http://www.jazzreview.com/jazz-news/news-story/the-insurrection-in-cuba-the-battle-of-ideas-tour.html http://www.jazzreview.com/jazz-news/news-story/the-insurrection-in-cuba-the-battle-of-ideas-tour.html The Battle of Ideas Tour is a fundraising effort, led by The Insurrection who will perform at five venues in Boston and Philadelphia so that a Boston-based delegation of young artists and activists can participate and perform at the 3rd US/Cuba Youth Exchange and the Cuban International Hip Hop Festival in July and August 2003 in Havana. Even though U.S. censorship, blind patriotism and corporate raiding are being portrayed as American values, the significance of showing s …
The Battle of Ideas Tour is a fundraising effort, led by The Insurrection who will perform at five venues in Boston and Philadelphia so that a Boston-based delegation of young artists and activists can participate and perform at the 3rd US/Cuba Youth Exchange and the Cuban International Hip Hop Festival in July and August 2003 in Havana. Even though U.S. censorship, blind patriotism and corporate raiding are being portrayed as American values, the significance of showing solidarity for Cuba at this time when the island nation is celebrating 50 years of revolution, is not lost on musicians with courage like The Insurrection.
The Insurrection, a Spoken-Soul-Hop band, led by Bojah, blends the best that these genres have to offer into an innovative art form that pays tribute to the reggae rhythms and consciousness of Bob Marley, the Hendrix-like skills of Insurrection guitarist Jeff Lockhart and the sweet soul of Roy Ayers creating a powerful tonic laced with lyrics that harken back to Gil Scott Heron's heyday. New territory is firmly established by fusing Spoken Word, Soul Music and Hip Hop with a new millenium cause. A cause whose mission is particularly poignant in a time when America's power base is clamping down on this economically embargoed country even more.
The Boston-based, Insurrection consists of singer-songwriter Bojah on his guitar and sometimes keys, as well as 5-7 other members. Previous performances have found The Insurrection holding it down for freedom activists and music lovers at protest rallies in Central Park-NY, Philadelphia, DC, Cincinatti, Chicago and Boston. In front of tens of thousands they have held their own with 18-year-old kick-ass female drummer Nikki Glaspie, a Berklee College student and Berklee senior Paula "PG" Green on percussion. The demands of touring, going to school and holding a life together forces The Insurrection to have deep resources for their positions. Take-no-prisoners DJ Special Blend and fierce female MC Natural "I'm not angry, I'm livid" Bliss, are counted on as Insurrection regulars. Vocalist Pelaiah Aset brings her transcendental dynamism to the stage. While frets-on-fire bassist, Aaron Bellamy, stand-up and be counted on Jeff Lockhart as lead guitar and erstwhile Rhodes key player, Matt Little, currently touring in South America are the glue that makes The Insurrection "funk-tion" so well. The Battle of Ideas Tour - Cuban Fundraiser kicks-off on July 2nd at The Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain, Boston, Ma at 10pm; July 3rd at The Nile in Germantown, Philadelphia, Pa at 8pm; July 4th at the Rally and March Against US Wars at Home and Abroad, Philadelphia, PA at 12 noon; 8pm at the Rotunda at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; July 6th at The Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, MA at 9pm; July 7th at the Biarritz Lounge in Dudley Square, Roxbury, MA at 8pm.
Raising funds for artists and activists of color to attend the Conference and Festival in Cuba is not easy during this time of political instabilty, economic hard times and budget cuts, but working toward that goal is part of an ambition come true for band leader Bojah of The Insurrection. Ever since being inspired by the determination and struggle of the Cuban people, he has wanted to share that inspiration with other young people around the world, especially in the U.S. "This fundraising effort is part of the Battle of Ideas Tour that supports the opportunity to help youth see for themselves what the revolution is about in Cuba. A revolution that begins with discussion, education and struggle, but also the living example of working class people and young people in power improving their lives and society." That revolution would not be complete without a continued exchange of infomation and culture, on August 22nd, at the Middle East Cafe (downstairs) in Cambridge, Ma, The Insurrection will begin their report back from the Cuban "Battle of Ideas Tour." What better place for The Insurrection to play than Cuba during the commemoration of the July 26 anniversary of revolutionary struggle some fifty years ago.
]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Nina Lanegra) News Story Sat, 29 Jan 2011 20:21:18 -0600
Rollins Ross http://www.jazzreview.com/jazz-artist-interviews/rollins-ross.html http://www.jazzreview.com/jazz-artist-interviews/rollins-ross.html Roxbury native Rollins Ross recently returned from Puerto Rico where he was on tour at the San Juan Hotel and celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Martha’s Vineyard Cottagers. Despite the whirlwind travel, Ross was upbeat and relaxed when I entered his Mattapan home for our interview. His living room was filled with CDs, DVDs, a piano and music memorabilia. Although a jazz musician at heart, he loves his R&B and his long-standing band, Soul Source, will be laying rhythm an …
Roxbury native Rollins Ross recently returned from Puerto Rico where he was on tour at the San Juan Hotel and celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Martha’s Vineyard Cottagers.

Despite the whirlwind travel, Ross was upbeat and relaxed when I entered his Mattapan home for our interview. His living room was filled with CDs, DVDs, a piano and music memorabilia.

Although a jazz musician at heart, he loves his R&B and his long-standing band, Soul Source, will be laying rhythm and blues licks on the crowd tonight at Slade’s Bar and Grille on 958 Tremont St. in the South End of Boston, Massachusetts. Slade’s is one of the few remaining black-owned nightspots in Boston that features live music.

Soul Source is usually comprised of eight members: J.O. Whorter on saxophone, Vincent Bailey on drums, Danny Underwood on bass, David Ely on percussion and Ross on keys. Missing in tonight’s lineup are vocalists Athene Wilson, an accomplished gospel singer and recent Urban Music Award winner and the dulcet tones of Ashanti Munir.

Ross spoke about the difference between the music scene, then and now.

"Modern music environments, lacking live performance venues, require a flexibility that makes everyone a ‘pick-up musician,’" Ross explained. "There are no longer set bands that perform together on the regular and that’s that."

He began playing piano and bass at the age of 12, and by the age of 14, he studied under Dean Earl, Berklee ‘56, who was Charlie Parker’s piano player and a professor at Berklee for more than 30 years. There is a scholarship now named after him.

Introduced to arranging, composition and jazz at Berklee, Ross learned that making music is borrowing from the old and mixing it with the new.

"George Clinton and James Brown are one of the few original old school artists with a working band after 4 or 5 generations of making music," Ross said. "James Brown is a frustrated jazz musician. How great it is that he still has a working band. Groups can’t do that today. And on top of that, James Brown is a rapper."

That talent and adaptability stands head and shoulders above the rest. While talking about the modern music scene, Rollins mused about John Legend.

"Surely he is gifted," Ross said, "but how many musicians do you know work 10 months in a year, versus those that are working 10 times a year? How many artists in the last 10 years are working with their band? They can’t, the costs are just prohibitive. The best thing a musician can do today, especially a jazz musician, is to be affiliated with a college or university, any way they can."

Ross and I compared notes regarding a mutual acquaintance, a veteran musician, recently returning from a national tour with headliners, only to be back at square one again, working the phone and picking up gigs. Music is a tough business and musicians have to be entrepreneurs.

Some of Ross’ classmates at the Berklee School of Music were Bill Pierce, ’73, current chair of the woodwind department and Abraham "Abe" Laboriel, ’72, who just may be "the most recorded electric bassist ever," performing on more than 3,000 sessions and according to Berkelee’s website, appears on more than 600 albums, not including reissues and compilations.

"There were great teachers," Ross said.

He couldn’t recall any female teachers back in the day.

"There were only a handful of female students and now there is wonderful chorale work that is being done, a gospel choir and more," said Rollins, noting some of the changes.

Five years ago, Berklee started a gender and diversity equity campaign to make the school a better place. Berklee is striving to "create an environment in which women and minorities know that they are full and valued members of the community," according to the school's website. "But there is no comparison between the Berklee of the 60’s and now. Berklee has excellent continuing education for professionals - students’ art can develop quickly, they can keep their hands on new technology," Ross said.

Rollins went on. "The opportunity is there at Berklee to study with a wide variety of guest artists and take master classes," he said. " The music industry constantly changes; electronic music has taken a big hold. Not having professional development is about as useful as having an outdated computer."

When I asked Ross about the projects he is working on he said he has always had a recording studio, but he is mostly a sideman. Rollins depends on word of mouth to get gigs and he feels that he has "missed the CD market." He now encourages young musicians to instead "go directly to the Internet." For a variety of reasons, he did not want a record deal.

He pointed out that many of the 1950’s do-woppers are in a revival mode and should do CDs. In the past, they didn’t own their material.

"They have to recapture their publishing and promote themselves currently as ‘oldies but goodies,’ like a revival," explained Rollins.

This versatile veteran has played with blockbuster jazz vocalists "Queen" Esther Phillips and the debonair and long-lived Joe Williams. Rollins has scored music for the "Today Show Kids" programming, "Ready To Go," as well as scored a four-hour special for PBS on Nelson Mandela.

He is now working on a project that involves accomplished Boston songwriter and musician, Cyril Chapman, who is writing lyrics for instrumental jazz tunes. Ross has been working for the past five years on a CD for fellow Soul Source band member David Ely, a.k.a. "Mr. Hollywood."

Though music is an integral part of his life, Ross also has had a day job as a consultant, advising and training small companies and young entrepreneurs on obtaining government contracts.

I asked Ross to reflect on a saying a bass playing friend has, "If you want to have a livelihood instead of lovely-hood or you want to become a professional instead of a weekend warrior, what should you do? Rollins offered, "You can’t get better if you don’t play even if it’s for short money."

"You have to have the opportunity to interact with musicians, study many styles of playing and you have to have experience playing a lot of different tunes, many different genres," he said.

Rollins pointed out, "If you left out the blues, you’d be in big trouble."

And once again, something old becomes something new as the African art form of syncretizing takes place in the musical expression of culture. Webster’s calls syncretizing an "attempt to unite and harmonize, especially without critical examination or logical unity."

We talked a little about the Urban Music Awards and the upcoming Beantown Jazz Festival now owned and operated by Berklee College.

The diminishing numbers of local venues for R&B, jazz or blues is evident in the South End. Connolly’s, Basin Street and Louis Showcase Lounge are sadly among the missing. But regardless of the lack of venues, Ross explained, "Music is one of the few things in the world that gets better."
]]>
morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Nina Lanegra) Jazz Artist Interviews Sat, 29 Jan 2011 11:34:12 -0600