Let’s start with 5!
Not in any particular order:
You want to know how I started playing trumpet? My father bought me one, and I studied the trumpet. And everybody I heard that I liked, I picked up things from.
It was when the Billy Eckstine band came to St. Louis that you first got together with Bird and Diz, wasn’t it?
I’d heard ‘em on records. But I was playing like that, anyway. You got to understand, man. See white folks always think that you have to have a label on everything—you know what I mean?
Well, I don’t, necessarily.
That’s how you’re spelling everything—when you say: “You heard Diz”. But two guys can do the same thing, and still won’t see each other. So it was happening, like I say. It actually happened in Kansas City. If you listen to Charlie Parker, he sounds like Ben Webster, you know. Dizzy doesn’t sound like Charlie Parker; they’re two different people. Right?
Since the Sixties we have grown accustomed to the phenomenon of the politically conscious pop musician. We have only to point out the phenomenon of the protest singers, who sharply criticize existing situations or provide overall criticism of society through their lyrics. And although there were other musicians who had their regular run-ins with the authorities, the few arrests made could almost always be attributed to the liberal use of forbidden stimulants. Only the Czech band Plastic People of The Universe or musicians in the South-American dictatorships have been jailed because of their political convictions. Names of musicians of truly international fame cannot be lapped up yet.
This has changed with the arrest and conviction of Fela Anikulapo Kuti. He was convicted by the military regime in his native country to five years imprisonment on the basis of an extremely debatable charge. Even Fela’s national and international fame couldn’t save him this time. And from the interview that follows, the last he gave before his arrest, he was all too aware of that himself.
He arrives at the Music Works office in Kingston quietly, on foot, no entourage, no Toyota Turbo.
Anyone accustomed to the gold-teeth and coke-spoon variety of reggae supa might walk straight past this thin, unassuming dread in the brown chords and earthman shoes.
Augustus Pablo belies the contemporary myth that you have to wear leatherette trousers to make good music.
Music Works producer Gussie Clarke lends us his back office for the interview. We close the door on the traffic buzz from Slipe Road and Pablo’s gentle, resonant voice fills the cramped, record-lined room with the tranquillity of the Jamaican countryside…
Herbie Hancock is one of the remaining legends of jazz, but he is not going to be pigeonholed in that jazz “box.” He likes change, he said in an October conversation, and wishes more of the younger generation of jazz musicians had the same attitude, though he admits they don’t.
At least not like he does. Not like his contemporary, friend, and fellow legend Wayne Shorter, does.
“It’s funny because Wayne and I have had a lot of conversations about the state of jazz today and what’s happening,” he said. “We realize that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of people looking into new ways of reexamining the conventions that we’ve grown to accept in the music.” He continues on his own artistic voyage, not trying to carry the load But he leads by example, even if he doesn’t say so.
Besides George Clinton, Bootsy Collins is probably the mobster who is best known to people outside P-Funk circles. His rise to stardom (pun very much intended), beginning in the sixties as James Brown’s bassist, then moving on to becoming one of the key members in the P-Funk empire (both as a musician/songwriter/producer for Parliament/Funkadelic and as the leader of his own Bootsy’s Rubberband) has been well covered. But who is William “Bootsy” Collins? How does he think and feel? Isn’t he scared of being attacked when he defies all the rules of security and walks through the audience during the song “Touch” on live gigs? Doesn’t he ever get bored with being “Bootsy”, with all its accessories? Is it true that he is living out his star image to the max (as a paper reported before Bootsy and the New Rubberband’s first ever concert in Sweden)? Those were just a few of the questions I was hoping to get answers to as I dialed the number to Bootsy’s studio in Cincinnati, Ohio, aptly titled Bootzilla Rehab.