Friday, September 24, 2010

Music from New Orleans (Part 1): Louis Armstrong

Hey Ya'll!
Today I'm shining a light to the land below sea level, New Orleans! If Mesopotamia is the cradle of civilization, Nola is the Fertile Crescent of jazz, funk, r&b and all other forms of music. New Orleans' musical history has deep roots in Congo Square, the area in the 18th centrury that is currently Louis Armstrong Park. Slaves were allowed to maintain their traditions from back home (Africa) on the weekends after working the fields. This, along with the intruduction of western instruments, paved the wave for the birth of Dixieland and later Jazz.
One of the most popular musicians associated with Nola is Louis Armstrong. A gifted trumpet player and singer, Armstrongs' music influenced countless musicians, and is still felt to this day.

Here's a clip of Louis with Johnny Cash, showing Armstrongs influence on genres beyond jazz:

This next clip is Armstrongs most well known song. It's beautiful, and, to me, ironic, considering he grew up in the shadow of slavery and the spotlight of Jim Crow. A testament to the beauty of music:

Coming soon: Part 2 where I'll be checking out Nola funk!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New to the game!!

Hey everyone!
      This is my very first attempt at blogging! I'll start off with a post from one of the tunes I'm really feeling right now. The song, "Feel Like Making Love (To You)" was written by Eugene McDaniels, who's written 6 Top 40 hit. Eugene later wrote more socially conscience music, which we'll check out later, when I analyze his legendary (and underrated) album, Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse.  In August 1974, Roberta Flack performed "Feel Like Making Love (To You)", and took it to #1 on the Billboard charts.

Her version:

The song was also performed by Isaac Hayes, who changes the key of the song from F minor, to G minor:

The last version is actually the first I heard. This is D'Angelo's interpretation from his album "Voodoo" (2000). Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson was heavily involved in the production of "Voodoo" and he's also a very big Eugene McDaniels fan, so it's no surprise this made the final cut:

D'Angelo - Feel Like Making Love (To You) Live In Brazil

D'Angelo - Feel Like Making Love (To You) studio

To me, it's really interesting how a a song can be reinterpreted so many ways. I hope you enjoyed this analysis of this classic tune!!