Music is rooted in and transcends culture, social structures and almost all religions. It is a powerful medium that has no social hierarchy and is a reliable bridge between generations. Because of the way in which it evolves, it often requires its own history to drive it forward. It borrows from culture, religion and the past but requires musical innovativeness in order to become something new, something reinvented.
It comes as no surprise that we would find music at the centre of most familial traditions. With a lot of families there are usually 3 to 4 generations alive at the same time which gives a pretty decent foundation for exposing and influencing musical taste and there is no better time to instil these differences than when we partake in our own familial traditions.
I was born in Jamaica and my first memories of music within my family gatherings include vinyl, turntables, huge speaker boxes that my uncles would make by hand, I remember Beres Hammond, Sanchez, Bob Marley, Beenie man, Toni Braxton & Celine Dion. This was way back when I was 8 or 9 circa 1995 to 96, vinyl was a big deal back then and I can directly attribute my love for vinyl’s to my familial traditions during my childhood.
In 97, I moved to London to be with my mother. As expected, moving to a country with a more diverse population and its own identity to contribute to music, I found that my musical taste expanded as I got older, not only taking steps across and into different genres, but also reaching back into the past, to the offerings that preceded me, I can love anything, as long as it resonates with me on a particular level. Our family gatherings now are still decorated with music, but the type of music is greatly dependent on the occasion or the time of year.
But what makes great music? This is debatable that’s for sure, different strokes for different folks type of thing, I know for me to recognise great music, it has to include a good singer, one that exercises great control over their voice, someone with a distinct and unique tone. Musicality, regardless of genre, is major key also, when Kendrick Lamar released “To pimp a butterfly” I didn’t realise that I could take rap/hip hop to my soul the way I did with this album, he drove home socially relevant messages with a passion that wasn’t just evident in his vocal offerings which were often times melodic, but also in the composition of his lyrics, the choices of instruments, the intertwining and lacing of free jazz, spoken words and funk. This album has a definite place in my growing collection.
Your definition of great music may sound completely different to mine; you may be someone that appreciates the sounds of the instruments over the sounds of someone singing. Maybe your musical love is ingrained via ceremonial or cultural rituals. Whatever your preference may be, I’d like to invite you to listen and share some of your favourite songs, singers and albums. Stop by the website on Friday evenings, click on the "Listen" option in the Nav bar up above to hear what i've got to offer.
So, being that today is Friday and all, here's my first playlist, it features some my favourite female Jazz singers, who also happen to be some of the best Jazz singers of all time. Grab a glass of wine or a glass of water, a mug of tea....whatever it may be, press play and chill out.
P.S, I know Louis Armstrong is on there, but he's tag teaming it with Ella, so you know.....plus that voice!