Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stunting Musical Growth

I recently recorded a blues duo CD with a friend of mind. In the duo I'm playing a hybrid kit which consists of congas paired with kick and hi hat. We've been getting rave reviews but I had a conversation with a guy that mentioned that he and some so called blues purist felt that congas have no place in the blues. Now I am a musician and I am blessed to have the opportunity to travel the world playing various forms of music in many different situations and one of the things I continue to strive for is growth. This statement about congas having no place in the blues only shows ignorance of the history. Even though the blues is an American musical art form, it definitely draws it's inspiration from Africa in form and concept. The blues grew out the slave fields and the hurt, pain and hope of our ancestors that were stolen from where.... AFRICA. So to discount the inclusion of congas or anything African in origin is just plain dumb. This also explains why this generation is having problems connecting with the blues. All forms of American music are influenced by the blues but these so called purist are not leaving the door open for the next generation to take the music to a new place. The truth is that the blues is not just a form of music constricted to a particular set of chord changes but it is a form of expression that is as individual as one's personality. In the blues you can do no wrong. If you feel it then play it and that is your story, your experience, your blues. I do respect the point of view of some elders but I ask them to please allow this music to grow. I am evidence of what can happen when you leave the doors of creative growth and expression wide open. I was raised on the blues and it is the under current of all I do. Whether I'm playing hip/hop, jazz, R&B, reggae, salsa, funk...etc, it is my understanding of the blues in form, concept and historical tradition that gives me my THANG. So don't stunt the growth. If you don't dig it, just move over to another lane because we are moving forward in this one.

The Truth
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