[Dixielandjazz] From Soul to OKOM?

TCASHWIGG at aol.com TCASHWIGG at aol.com
Thu Mar 24 09:22:19 PST 2005

In a message dated 3/24/05 7:24:37 AM Pacific Standard Time, 
barbonestreet at earthlink.net writes:
RE; Chaka Kahn:
> Hmmmmmmm. She seems to be reinventing herself once again. With OKOM. What
> does she know about the audience for such music that we don't?
> Cheers,
> Steve Barbone
I would venture to say from having booked her in the early Rufus Days early 
70, s and having worked major Jazz Festival concerts with her in the past four 
years that she is expanding her potential audience to those who might be older 
and not into her pop funk oriented material that launched her to 
International Super Stardom.  Like Aretha Franklin has also been doing, and I am sure 
Gladys Knight is doing similar music in her live shows, they are reaching back to 
their roots and finally getting to sing what THEY want to sing and maybe 
wanted to sing all along.

When an artist signs with a major record label, the label generally assigns 
one or more of their in house producers & or A&R directors to basically dictate 
to the artist what and how they will record for that label, often even with 
producing the artist own original compositions.  Sometimes the artist song in 
finished format sounds very distant from what they wrote or intended for it to 
sound like, but rather the way the Producers hears it.

I am personally very happy to see artist of Chaka's caliber record OKOM to 
expand the audience even further, and she is expanding it backwards to the 
thirty to forty something set where she has a very strong built in audience 
receptive enough to accept that she is a major artist and will bring them a great 
performance and music no matter what she decides to sing.  She of course will 
continue to give them her Hits as well.

Ever heard Patti Labell sing Over the Rainbow?   it will run chills up and 
down your spine.

We all need to look further outside the BOX constantly to see and make 
changes that will progress OKOM not just keep it the same old same old forever so 
that it is like eating oatmeal for breakfast every day of your life.  Boring.

I have five CDs on my machine right now of New Orleans Brass Bands and I have 
been listening to the same songs played differently by each band, because of 
this I can play those five CDs all day long while I work and never get tired 
of hearing them.  Each soloist and band brings their own style and 
interpretation to the song, all improvisation and great Jazz as it was meant to be played 
by the guys who invented it.

Surprisingly enough the one Brass Band CD that gets a bit boring in spots is 
one by a prominent Professor of Jazz in New Orleans who went Artsy after he 
got his Ph.D. and tacked it onto his name.  Took his music to total Academic 
approach and lost the fire in the Belly and loose Jazzy Swinging feel.

The difference in many Jazz bands is that some great technicians play precise 
written arrangements, but they simply do not swing for the common music 
listener who has no idea how to approach understanding it or appreciating it for 
what it is.

It is very difficult in my opinion to write Swing and feel into notes on a 
paper, what makes the music swing is the feel from within that the musician puts 
into it in a live situation.

There are quite a few Ghost Bands playing dates with former legendary players 
charts etc., but for my ears having heard many of the former Legends and 
their bands live, the ghost bands just do not have  "IT" whatever that IT MAGIC 
was which may have been more personality and fan adoration than anything else, 
or perhaps that Legendary Solo Artist simply had the IT in their soul and 
portrayed it to the audience in a personal interpretation of communication.

Furthermore, those artists were getting all the major radio airplay and 
promotion and hype in their day just like the younger groups are getting to day in 
POP music so the momentum no doubt created Star status for them as well as the 
excellence of their music, and attracted more and more paying customers to 
see hear them and buy their recordings not to mention DANCE to their music.

Perhaps some of us will be fortunate enough to live long enough to see that 
the Circle is Unbroken.


Tom Wiggins
Saint Gabriel's Celestial Brass Band
Trying very hard to KEEP IT REAL JAZZ

More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list