March 11, 2011 will unfortunately be remembered as the day both an earthquake and a tsunami devastated Japan. As I began to type this post (around 12:40PM, March 22nd) I felt another aftershock (or earthquake). No, Life is not quite back to normal yet and it’s going to take a long time before things are back to normal for the people in the hardest hit areas.
I’ve had several people ask me how can they help with the relief efforts. There are many charities through which you can donate clothing, money, etc. (including my good friend Glen Onodera’s charity here) but another way you can give is through Music.
“Sendai Selections” is a collection of 21 tracks by the Canadian / Dutch duo Stone Detectives. The asking price for this release is $5 (about 406 yen) but you can give more if you choose to. All proceeds will will go to the Japanese Red Cross and UNICEF.
Since Friday evening I haven’t really been in the mood to listen to Music…which is, well, unbelievable. I’ve always thought that no matter the situation, there would be some song I could put on to make things better.
Like so many others I’ve been glued to Facebook, Twitter and the television in order to receive (and pass along) information regarding the earthquake, tsunami and most recently the nuclear reactor situation. I’ve even done a couple of TV interviews (via Skype) for a local station in my hometown of Detroit. The past 55 hours have been anything but normal.
About an hour ago I was just chatting with a few Twitter friends about how I need to get back to normal.
How, I need to get back to Music.
Shortly after that, my man Fathom 9 blessed me with some goodness. I’ve mentioned before that I have no idea when this guy sleeps as he’s always making Music. His latest collection of 13 instrumentals were all created in the last 24 hours. Yes, the last 24 hours.
Please enjoy his latest release, The Colorful Grey: Moods of Fathom 9
There are many ways that you can help the earthquake victims including making donations through the U.S. Apple iTunes store. If you would like to do so, please click here. Also, if you would like more info on how you can help, please contact me.
Dreams. We all have them…right? I hope you do! Moving to Japan was one of my dreams, that actually came true (I still find it hard to believe some times).
One of my other dreams: Making & Playing Music.
My Musical weapon of choice: Bass Guitar.
(Yes that is my baby “Kofi Brown” at time of this page.)
Towards the end of Summer 2010, my good friend (and co-worker) Daisaku and I decided to start a band. At first it was just he and I in the studio but we soon discovered that there is only so much fun you can have and only so much Music you can make with 1 Guitar and 1 Bass. About two months later Daisaku asked his friend Kaz if he would like to be our drummer. Kaz said yes and has become my rhythm section brother. We really needed a keyboard / piano player, so we decided to search the Twitterverse (aka Twitter). After a few responses from people that were either already pros (we are not) or just didn’t have what we were looking for, we thought, “Ok, this is not going to be so easy.” You know, sometimes you just have to be patient. We soon found our pianoman: Masaru.
As a group, the 4 of us have only been playing together since February 1 of this year although it seems like we’ve known each other for many years because of the amount of fun we have. Studio time followed by cheap food and even cheaper beer (no we’re not cheap!) before catching the next to the last train (yes we are responsible!) is a weekly ritual I always look forward to. My Musical brothers are really talented and I really feel honored to be able to play with them.
On Sunday March 6, 2011, we invited a small group of people to come and get a taste of “our” Music. I said “our” because 99% of our stuff is original. This was our first time playing live as a band, my guitarist’s first time in about 10 years and my first time ever. Yes, I was nervous as f***!
Anyway, here’s a little piece from our first live performance.
I hope you enjoy it.
I was halfway through the first track of this one when I decided to buy the entire album (yes, I practice what I preach).
74 Miles Away is a collaboration between some very talented Jazz Musicians/producers and also features the work of the very soulful Miles Bonny (I have a link to Miles’ site on the right side of my page).
A little Musical goodness from the UK. “Leftover” by Project Leftovers was released last year but I just heard their Music this morning. Man, I wish I had gotten a hold of this one earlier but as my homie Rusty Redenbacher said the other day, “It doesn’t matter when you get hip to good music, as long as you get hip to it.”
Project Leftover has too many good songs to post just one so I’m going to provide you with a link to their site so you can hear all the goodness for yourself.
This woman I’ve been talking about (and listening to) damn near daily since I first heard her Music, roughly 2 1/2 years ago. She’s an unbelievable Bass player, singer and the youngest person to ever teach at Berklee College of Music (I’m going to take classes there if it kills me!).
She recently won the Grammy for Best New Artist which made a whole lot of Bass players and Music lovers happy, while at the same time pissing off some Music fans that felt “their” artist should have won (sorry folks, I thought it was a no-brainer). Some folks were pissed off to the point where…well, no sense in repeating the foolishness that took place on the various social networks.
Oh yeah, her name: Esperanza Spalding.
Shortly after the Grammy win, she came to Japan to perform at Blue Note Tokyo. I caught her very last show and loved every minute of it. Myself and my favorite Flamenco dancer (aka Lady J.) sat 2 tables away from the stage (about 2 meters or 9 feet). I had a goofy, Kool-Aid smile on my face the whole time. Esperanza on Bass (and vocals)..Terri Lynn Carrington on drums..one of the best rhythm sections ever – not one of the best female rhythm section but best, period. Leo Genovese on piano, 2 violins, 1 viola, and backup singer…man, that show was perfect.
Here’s a video of Esperanza talking briefly about playing as child and how the critics actually help her to stay true to herself and do what she loves.