Give the Drummer Some: How the Right’s Fixation on Nathan Phillips’s Drum Reflects White America’s Fear of the Drum

Ever since the video of the group of Covington High School boys surrounding Native American activist Nathan Phillips and---depending on your interpretation---either harassed him or defended themselves (count me among those who understand it to be the former), there has been a massive national conversation addressing numerous issues that speak to our cultural and political …

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With You’re Dead, Flying Lotus Puts a Nail in the Jazz/Hip Hop Intersection

My next installment of challenging the oft-declared "jazz/hip hop intersection" takes on Flying Lotus's 2014 album You're Dead. You're Dead—which features an impressive list of musicians including Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Herbie Hancock, Stephen "Thundercat" Bruner, and Kamasi Washington—is the end result of Flying Lotus's seamless amalgamation of myriad stylistic influences. The album is adventurous, …

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Karriem Riggins and the “Intersection” between Jazz and Hip Hop

A lot has been made recently of jazz artists working with rappers and hip hop producers, especially folks like Kamasi Washington and Robert Glasper's work with Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar. A key focus of jazz critics and journalists writing about these musicians is the "intersection" of jazz and hip hop as if the two …

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Last Batch of Favorites of 2014 & Thoughts on the NPR Poll

Happy 2015 folks. Even though the new year is already a few days old there's already more than a few excellent releases to look forward to in 2015. I'm particularly stoked about the live album from Jack DeJohnette/Roscoe Mitchell/Henry Threadgill/Muhal Richard Abrams/Larry Gray that is coming out on ECM shortly. But I'm getting ahead of …

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My Top Ten Bucket-List Jazz Albums

A few weeks ago a former professor of mine shared an article on Facebook from the Village Voice that listed the Ten Jazz Albums to Hear Before You Die. Usually it seems like the "ten whatevers you need to do/visit/read/listen before you die" lists are things that people probably haven't done, are not likely to …

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