Aaliyah

August 25, 2001. I am driving on the Bay Bridge, on my way to celebrate my birthday, when I noticed that the radio stations were playing a lot of her songs. Then came a call from the A&R at Virgin Records; she was crying…   Originally published as “The Art of Aaliyah” in Wax Poetics […]

Jimmy Jam

  Over the past three decades, James “Jimmy Jam” Harris III and Terry Lewis have become synonymous with recording excellence. They’ve created trailblazing sounds for numerous genre-bending artists and amassed a following only a few musicians can claim. Their production methods are legendary among their contemporaries and music aficionados alike. Through their ethereal talent and […]

 
Jorge Dalto Chevere
Argentine pianist Jorge Dalto, who played with Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, and George Benson, released his debut solo album Chevere in 1976

Jorge Dalto Chevere (United Artists) 1976 In June 1980, seven years before his untimely death at just 38, Jorge Dalto finished off a successful tour of Europe as part of the Latin Percussion Jazz Ensemble (LPJE) with an assured performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival. The set, beamed live from the illustrious Montreux Casino, captured […]

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mothernaturesson
Ramsey Lewis
Mother Nature's Son

Ramsey Lewis didn’t want to record a Beatles cover album.

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booker_t_mclemore
Booker T. and the M.G.’s
McLemore Avenue

…gives the Beatles the Stax treatment that they wanted so badly…

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Other-Side-of-Abbey-Road
George Benson
The Other Side of Abbey Road

Fifty years ago this month, the Beatles debuted in America on The Ed Sullivan Show.

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French jazz pianist Jef Gilson
French jazz pianist Jef Gilson left his mark on fellow musicians but fell through the cracks of history
He rubbed shoulders with John Coltrane, Archie Shepp, Randy Weston, Woody Shaw, Philly Joe Jones, Sahib Shihab, Byard Lancaster, David Murray, and others.

  Sometimes history does not want to remember you. When Jean-François Quiévreux aka Jef Gilson died in February 2012, he was still unknown to most of his French countrymen, even to many of the French jazz world. Yet he began his professional career in the mid-’40s alongside Boris Vian, the famed novelist/musician who connected Duke […]

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Duke-and-Billy
George Duke
Goodbye to a synth master

As a world wide web of George Duke fans have taken to the Internet today to fellowship and favorite, I keep coming back to this video…

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Bobby_Bland
Wax Poetics Presents
The Bobby "Blue" Bland Playlist

Bobby “Blue” Bland, soul and blues pioneer, died at age eighty-three on Sunday, June 23, 2013, in his home outside of Memphis, Tennessee.

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Adrian Younge
10 records that influenced Adrian Younge while producing the new Souls of Mischief album

Adrian Younge recently got together with Bay Area golden boys Souls of Mischief to create a new album that harkens back to the glory days of ’93 but gives the wordsmiths a new hip-hop structure to build their stories upon. The resulting album, There Is Only Now, is due out on August 24 on Younge’s own Linear Labs […]

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Kaytranada
Producer/DJ Kaytranada pulls 10 records while beatdigging at New York’s A-1 Records
At only 21 years old, his sold-out DJ sets around the globe showcase a musical selection that seems a bit beyond his years.

If you’ve ever bore witness to one of Montreal beatmaker Kaytranada’s DJ sets, you’ve likely been shuttled through an aural history of Black popular music from the past three decades. From Kashif and Indeep to Flying Lotus and Three 6 Mafia, Kaytranada finds the common thread between these multi-textured genres and makes them groove seamlessly. […]

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DJ Quik by Jorge Peniche
DJ Quik picks out 19 influential records at L.A.’s Amoeba Music
This self-styled mad scientist producer has sonically alchemized disparate genres in his 20-plus-year hip-hop discography.

“When you sample,” says Compton, California, legend DJ Quik, “it’s more than just about the musical piece. It’s the wow and flutter from the turntable. There’s something about the electrified diamond touching the carbon-based vinyl that makes the sound so robust. The concept shouldn’t even work. It’s a miracle of physics, if you ask me.” […]

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Bob Power
5 R&B records that producer/ engineer Bob Power put his stamp on
His name gained hip-hop notoriety when A Tribe Called Quest name-dropped him on their album, but this engineer/producer is also linked to a handful of classic R&B albums.

What’s in a name? Well, no one’s accusing Bob Power of false advertising. Since the mid-1980s, the esteemed producer and engineer has beefed up the recordings of everyone from D’Angelo to A Tribe Called Quest in efforts to make our world a doper-sounding place. And who better to do it than a cat named Bob […]

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Norman Connors - Dance of Magic
Norman Connors

He was a young drumer trying to keep up in the serious world of spiritual jazz. Then Norman Connors traded the rigorous life for expensive cars, fashion models, and R&B hits.

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No-UFOs2
Detroit Techno

A Number of Names, Blake Baxter, Cybotron, Derrick May, Intercity, Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, Kreem, Modell 500

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Fender Rhodes
Rhodes Electric Piano
Harold Rhodes left a bright legacy

World War II may have given us the atom bomb, but it also contributed what Ray Charles would call “an atom bomb on the musical landscape.” Predating synths like the Moog, the Rhodes piano was the great keyboard instrument innovation of the twentieth century. Its history is intertwined with the history of jazz, and while […]

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Talk Box
Talk Box
This Bob Heil–invented vocal-effects module is not a vocoder

In an age in which robotic vocals have become cliche, the most important thing to know about the talk box is that it’s not a vocoder. That’s not to say the ideas aren’t related. The vocoder models human speech as the combination of a carrier and a formant—the sound of your vocal cords, and the way […]

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Fela Kuti Deaf and Dumb
The surreal Afrobeat ballet of Fela’s Nigerian shows

You can hear the sonic ripples of Fela Kuti’s legacy anywhere in the world. But to appreciate the explosive power of the man as a musician, a bandleader, and a booming voice for social justice, the tale becomes a Nigerian story, an African story. Rikki Stein was Fela’s manager and close friend, a veteran of […]

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Analog Out
Rhodes Electric Piano
Harold Rhodes left a bright legacy
Analog Out
Talk Box
This Bob Heil–invented vocal-effects module is not a vocoder
TV
Articles
The Frank Ocean Interview
Frank Ocean finds himself in a unique position of calling the shots and taking his time on his forthcoming major label debut
Select Discography
Norman Connors
Select Discography
Detroit Techno
Record Rundown
Peanut Butter Wolf
Video Rundown
TV
Articles
Inner City Hues
The saga of Hey Good Lookin’, Ralph Bakshi’s fractured masterpiece
Analog Out
The surreal Afrobeat ballet of Fela’s Nigerian shows
Articles
Border Crossing
Brownout traffics in Tejano funk