Saw this tonight at the Barbican in London. Fantastic. The entire set up was amazing.
Special multi-artform evening inspired by the revolutionary art of 1960s African-American radicals the Black Panthers cultural guru Emory Douglas. Featuring live music by members of hip-hop legends The Roots, free jazz, tenor saxophonist David Murray and the lyrical wizardry and politically-charged raps of the Last Poets.
Black Thought (MC)
Ray Angry (Keyboards) and Felix Pastorius (Bass) from The Roots
Corey Glover (Vocals) and Vernon Reid (Guitar) from Living Colour
Abiodun Oyewole (Poet) and Umar Bin Hassan (Poet) from The Last Poets
David Murray (Saxophone)
Doctor L (Video Engineer)
A unique musical tribute to the cultural influence of 1960s African-American radicals the Black Panthers, whose publications and artefacts were often characterised by the unforgettable vernacular artwork of Emory Douglas, who worked as the Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party from 1967 until the Party disbanded in the 1980s.
The Last Poets, originally formed in 1968, are now widely seen as one of the earliest influences on what would become hip-hop. Their politically-charged raps, taut rhythms, and dedication to raising African-American consciousness almost single-handedly laid the groundwork for the emergence of political hip-hop a couple of decades later in groups like The Roots, formed in 1987 by Tariq ‘Black Thought’ Trotter and Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson in Philadelphia.
The Roots have continued to provide a left-field, politically conscious and jazz-influenced take on the genre. Tenor saxophonist David Murray, the star of the free jazz ‘Loft Scene’ in 1970s New York, has since ploughed an individual musical furrow, leading small groups, an octet and a big band as well as recording a tribute the Grateful Dead, Dark Star, and picking up a Grammy Award in 1989 and the Danish Jazzpar Proze in 1991
‘Well-tempered harmonic imagination … technically audacious.’ Jazz Times on David Murray
‘The bottom line is that if you enjoy hip-hop, or jazz, or soul, or rock - or, now, New Orleans’ brass, this is the band to see live.’ Jim Cosby, Music OMH on The Roots
‘Murray’s playing [is] a volcanic blend of avant-garde sheets of sound and stately echoes of Ellingtonia, it somehow evokes both the free jazz pioneer Albert Ayler and the old-school romantic Ben Webster. ‘ Clive Davis in The Independent on David Murray