You know that saying “Small World”?
It’s all about connections and disconnections. For example, consider a band like Zapp. Started by Lester and Roger Troutman, the group grew into the powerhouse most of us know as Zapp. But, before that it was Roger and the Human Body. Through a childhood friendship with Bootsy Collins that Zapp got major exposure through theMotor Booty Affair tour of ’79. A record deal, “More Bounce to the Ounce” and opening performances for acts like Prince, the Commodores, Ashford and Simpson, Cameo, Kool and the Gang and the rest, they say, is history.
Wait a minute. I said connections and disconnections…
Go back a step.
Parliament-funkadelic (say that fast twenty times) was a mother lode of funk. Onboard the mothership was a cast of talent including Bootsy’s Rubber Band, The Horny Horns and The Brides of Funkenstein.
Ahhh.. The Brides…. Did you know that original members Dawn Silva and Lynn Mabry backed up to Sly & The Family Stone? Later the Brides consisted of Silva, Sheila Horne and Jeanette McGruder. Did you also know that their album “Never Buy Texas from a
Cowboy” containing hits “Never Buy Texas from a Cowboy” and “Mother May I” features some of the best guitar solos you will ever hear? Later you could hear Dawn Silva on tour with The Gap Band during 1982.
Oh dag did it again..
Go back two steps!
Reach for it by George Duke . All ‘N All by E.W.&F. Menagerie by Bill Withers. Angel by the Ohio Players. The Pride by the Isley Brothers. Ask Rufus by Rufus. Secrets by Con Funk Shun. The Force by Kool & The Gang.
George Duke hit us upside the head with “Reach For it” making heads snap around. Did you know it was an accidental hit? Came out of a set they were performing at The Cellar Door in D.C. (Thank You Ndugu!) Deep head nod to Byron Miller for the bass solo that won me bets left and right (a lot of people thought it was Stanley Clarke due to Duke’s association with him). Hehehehehe…sorry guys! Not!
So you have Duke, Ndugu, Miller and company cutting up in D.C., the Mothership slittin’ about zappng the sonic doo-doo out of our minds and … come to think of it.. I think The George Duke Band is due in Detroit on the 24th of this month at the Opera House. (Next month you can may catch them on the Capitol Jazz Supercruise)… But I digress…
The above mentioned LPs share something in common something real simple and quite obvious…they are sounds of their time. They reflect where we’ve been and where we think we’re going as is all music when you think about it… Santana’s Abraxas reflects more than excellent guitar performances and it wasn’t all about Carlos either….
Connections and Disconnections…
Look into the the family trees of the bands and you will see many many familiar names down in there. Like James Brown, Fred Wesley, Bernie Worrell, Bootsey Collins, Gladys Knight and The Pips, Stanley Clarke, Frank Zappa, Airto, Flora Purim, Billy Cobham, Santana, Al Johnson, Weather Report, Dianne Reeves, Earth, Wind & Fire (who included in its roster Ronnie Laws and Roland Bautistsa who also played with George Duke), Herbie Hancock (who played with everybody!), Shiela E , Ramsey Lewis (remember Sun Goddess? That was done with E,W&F)…
The roots run deep no matter which branch you follow. Something to consider when the media foists upon you the” latest new never heard before new to the planet genius” of some sort.Whether it is music related or about politics, everyone is connected somehow some way. There’s no escaping it.
Connections and disconnections.
It’s all in the mix. Without some there’d be none. It’s not about who came first its about when. Just like it is about what plays when not who. Because in the end it’s all about what.
Listen carefully and you will hear what I mean.
I’d like to also note with regret the passing of a local institution here in Tampa. WTMP 96.1 FM 1150AM is no longer broadcasting R&B and community related programming to Tampa’s Black community. It’s reported in local papers the owners lost control of the stations to a New York based hedge fund through a financing deal gone sour. Visits to their web site shows the format will focus on the latin community. I hope that the sound of ‘TMP will rise again. The community needs it. Read more here.
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