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June 24, 2004

John Conyer's Jazz

A nice little piece at the WSJ on another side of John Conyers.

"But," he continued, "although this is an African-American created music, it's available to everybody if you want to get it. I've always argued that white guys can learn to play jazz." Citing baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams, the congressman said, "He was the greatest on that instrument there ever was--and he came out of Detroit! There are African-Americans that can't play jazz. But if you've got it, you can play it. You're never too old. It's never too late."

Sometimes I wonder who is going to replace these guys when they are gone. Not only the aging CBC members, but the Jazz musicians. So often the answer is Second Worlders.

Posted by mbowen at June 24, 2004 09:45 AM

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Just picked up Hugh Masekels'a autobiography, "Still Grazing."

I guess he's third world, and he's old enough that someone needs to replace him, though I don't see anyone stepping up to that particular plate. I think he's one of the great ones, not really jazz, but then not really in any category but his own. The only native African to have had a number one hit in the USofA, back in 1969 when "Grazin' in the Grass" displaced the Stones. I think it was "Jumpin' Jack Flash" Hugh kicked into second place.

His verson of Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry" will bring tears to your eyes. When you've seen Zulu women in Chicago swoon over Hugh Masekela you've had a lesson in what home is.

Posted by: Bill Benzon at June 24, 2004 07:11 PM

My father bought a couple of Hugh's albums and by that single action demonstrated to me that Africans were not ugly and stupid. Suddenly I understood that this handsome man (his short afro was *perfect*) had his picture all around the world. I wish I could find that album...

Posted by: Cobb at June 25, 2004 06:08 AM