Saturday, March 26, 2011

Chris Brown - F.A.M.E.

While it stands for "Forgiving All My Enemies," and "Fans Are My Everything," Chris Brown's fourth studio album, F.A.M.E. is more than an acronym -- it's actually an okay album.  When I initiated this blog a little over a year ago, my first album review was of Chris Brown's Graffiti, which was a major disappointment to me.  But where Graffiti has failed, F.A.M.E. succeeds.

Foremost in this album, Brown shows strong versatility; he performs pop, R&B, dance, house, electro, reggae, and hip hop inspired music.  And expanding beyond his appeal as a singer, Brown demonstrates his skills as a rapper on "Look at me Now," featuring Busta Rhymez and Lil' Wayne and hip pop bonus track "Champion," featuring Chipmunk.  The fusion of so many genres and Brown's choice to deliver rapped verses were big opportunities for failure.  But in his willingness to take chances, Brown proves himself as an artist worth taking seriously. 

I tip my hat to Brown and the producers of "She Ain't You," which samples the melodic theme of Michael Jackson's "Human Nature" and the beat from SWV's "Right Here," which also samples Jackson's classic tune.  Instead of coming across as a tired and played out remake, Brown reinvigorates Jackson's popular song with fresh lyrics, themes, and motifs.

I'm not a fan of dance/electro music, and songs like "Beautiful People" and "Yeah 3xs" don't change my mind.  I am also not fond of the adult, yet rather immature nature of "Wet the Bed," featuring Ludacris, "No BS," and bonus track, "Bomb," featuring Wiz Khalifa.  The music featured in these songs is contaminated by the lyrics, which encourage hyper-sexuality and promiscuity.  In fact, many of the other songs on this album have a heavy dosage of sexual imagery.  I find it more sexy for men to compliment a woman's inner beauty instead of objectifying her by rating her worth according to her body.

While I don't like the aforementioned tracks, I am constantly replaying "Deuces" and all of the remixes. And even though they contain a few sexual innuendos, I enjoy "Love The Girls," featuring Game and "Paper, Scissors, Rock," featuring Big Sean and Timbaland.

My favorite track on the album is the smooth number, "Up to You."  Yes, I am an über R&B head and a sucker for slick musicality.  In addition to exhibiting these qualities, "Up to You," in which Brown admits his past mishaps in love and gives his lady control of the relationship, is sincere, charming, and a great listen.

Brown has managed to redeem himself musically and is working his way back into my good graces.  F.A.M.E. is a successful integration of various musical genres and styles, and is a chronicle of Brown's artistic, conceptual, and cultural person.  However, his self-titled debut album is still #1 in my book.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Lupe Fiasco - Lasers

Released on March 8, 2011, Lupe Fiasco's third studio album, Lasers, has made a happy home at the top of the Billboard charts.  Lasers emphasizes that those of us who are generally labeled or characterized as the lower-class individuals actually encapsulate truth, light, and promise; put simply, the world may see us as losers, but we are lasers -- beaming and shining.    

For an album dedicated to defying popular culture, conformity, and convention, it is quite a feat for Lasers to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200.  Songs like "State Run Radio," featuring Matt Mahaffey and "All Black Everything" confront issues like the intellectual and moral deterioration of younger generations, racism, war, and other highly controversial topics.  Fiasco excels in challenging listeners to "beware what's on the air waves, and be more aware of whats not getting air play" (lyrics from "State Run Radio").

That being said, the tracks on this album are viable in the world of contemporary music -- today's listeners are embracing artists and songs that combine elements of various genres.  As can be heard in "Words I Never Said," featuring Skylar Grey, and "Beautiful Lasers," featuring MDMA, many of these tracks  oscillate between rock, alternative, electronic, and hip hop.  Quite cleverly, Fiasco crafts music that can succeed on the radio while also succeeding in spreading a profound and positive message.

Personally, I don't care for some of the slower tunes like "Never Forget You," featuring John Legend.  But even though I don't particularly care for these more alternative-sounding songs, I will not discredit them.  And although Fiasco ventures away from his norm to rapping about, or rather around, a love interest on "Out of My Head," featuring Trey Songz, I think the track is hot; the beat is infectious and the hook has me hooked!

As a new and unattached listener to Fiasco, I am deeply impressed by most of the songs on Lasers.  My favorites are "All Black Everything," "Coming Up," and "Til I Get There."  Even though Fiasco has struggled with his record label over album content and appeal, he was able to remain true to himself, who he describes in "Til I Get There" as, "just a little ol' hope with his back against the ropes, fighting for his fans and, fighting for his folks."

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Talib Kweli - Gutter Rainbows

I'm currently listening to Talib Kweli's Gutter Rainbows.  I seldom listen to Kweli, but even I know that he is a highly regarded lyricist and intellectual rapper. 

Not only is his new album lyrically sound, the music is oh so right.  Strings and horns are used in several of the tracks, giving the album an epic, rich quality.  Instead of feeling static, each song seems to grow without becoming tangled. 

Some themes of this album are loyalty (to "Friends & Family," musical integrity, self,etc.), spirituality, and rising up.  As in most, if not all Hip-Hop albums, Kweli asserts that he is the best.  I especially like, "They gave somebody else the crown, but i'm still the king without it," from "Palookas."

Seven of the fourteen tracks feature other rappers or singers.  Some featured artists/entertainers include Ed Lover, Nigel Hall, and Outasight.

I can respect this album.  It is cohesive in that all the songs are in the same sound world, and there is focus on a specific genre.  Cheers to Kweli for "Gutter Rainbows," "How You Love Me" ft. Blaq Toven, and "Wait For You" ft. Kendra Ross.

I'd recommend listening to these songs.  But I still prefer more insightful, clever, socially conscious Hip-Hop, like the last song on Gutter Rainbows, "Self Savior" ft. Chace Infinite and music by Maurice Mobetta Brown.  In my opinion, this is the best song on the album.  It has a message that is especially relevant.  That's what Hip-Hop is all about.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Emily King and Jesse Boykins III - Live at 92YTriBeCa

While sitting in the dark among the crowd of 20 somethings at 92YTribeca, I became increasingly excited to hear Jesse Boykins III and Emily King perform – after all, what better way to spend a Friday night in New York City than with great musicians?  I should definitely spend more of my nights listening to smooth soul and bangin’ bands, but my excuse is that I am a broke college kid.  Fortunately for me, my friend Paris won two tickets for King and Boykins’ 9 PM live show on February 4, and this is my review. 

I entered the venue, took a seat at a free table, and vibed to the familiar sounds of Common playing on the speakers.  Paris pointed out that we were actually seated right behind King’s mother and family, who became more and more lively as the night progressed.  And as the hour drew closer to show time, the dimly lit space became more filled with young professionals and artistic types networking and chattering. 

Then, The Beauty Created, Boykins’ band, introduced him onstage. Of the ten songs Jesse Boykins III & The Beauty Created performed, I enjoyed “Itis” the most.  “Amorous” and “Before the Night is Through" were also personal and audience favorites. 

The best part of the songs, as well as the show, was the band.  The players were definitely on their “A” game, and no song could go wrong with such hot instrumental intros and solos.  For me, trumpeter Marion "OJ" Ross was the star of the band.  He kept producing these extraordinarily funky, synthy sounds with his trumpet via foot pedals.  The technical aspect is unknown to me; the result is a new appreciation for a certain cute trumpeter with dreads! 

Another high note of the show was Boykins’ connection with the audience.  He danced freely on stage, led the audience in several sing-a-longs, and even invited a woman of interest to sing to and dance with onstage during “Pantyhose.”  He also  shared the personal and comic story behind “Come to my Room,” which was inspired by a failed attempt at luring a high school crush into his bedroom. 

About 30 minutes after Boykins and his band left the stage, King and her band proceeded to play.  I must admit, I was falling asleep by this time.  But I did wake up to hear the relatively short performance King gave. She sang a few covers, including Michael Jackson’s “Shake Your Body.”  And she sang 9 or 10 rather condensed versions of her own compositions, such as “Ever After” and “It Was You.”

King had a likeable stage presence.  She made a few jokes and kept the audience moving to her music.  Most of the songs, especially her new single, “Radio,” had a soulful and slightly psychedelic feel, which was surprisingly nice;  and since I was already tired, it almost lulled me to sleep (in a good way).

Though King has good music and a pretty voice, both her music and her voice lack depth and character.  The sort of music that she sings calls for a vocal expression of pain, passion, sorrow, etc.  And on this night, her music was surely lacking these qualities.

All-in-all, I really enjoyed the music that some of New York City's young and talented musicians presented.  So much, that I have added music by Jesse Boykins III & The Beauty Created to my personal collection.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Alicia Keys ft. Eve - Speechless

Bringing in the new year with new music from Alicia Keys.  And I won't hold my breath, but maybe Alicia Keys' upcoming album will be more like Songs in A Minor and The Diary of Alicia Keys, albums that will always have a place in my heart.  Her new single, "Speechless," gives me hope that Keys still has soul, spunk, and vulnerability that are so evident in her debut, sophomore, and Unplugged albums. 

"Speechless," the second duo by Keys and rapper Eve, is raw, is a bit more Hip-Hop inspired (like "Unthinkable") and is less glossy and perfected like her more recent pop tunes (like "Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart").  This new song has a slight "rock" edge, due mostly to the distorted guitar, which works quite well with the keyboard and Keys' raspy voice.   And thank God Eve is featured instead of an over-exploited, gimmicky female rapper who shall remain nameless! 

Keys and Eve are a killer combo - both ladies excel at their crafts, and they add integrity to the song through their performance and lyrics.  The hook, "I'm just speechless baby/ don't know what to say/ I'm just speechless baby/ the poet in me has died today," is both memorable and a clever verbalization of a feeling that some of us are blessed enough to experience.

While I don't think she will be getting down with the gangstas or rocking her braids and afro-puffs (like in Eve's "Gangsta Lovin'"), perhaps Keys will at least give us more great tracks like "Speechless" to vibe to.

Check out this behind the scenes footage.  It confirms that my feelings are spot on - Keys and her hubby did a great job conveying their intentions in this song.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mariah Carey - Merry Christmas II You

I love, love, LOVE Mariah Carey's original Merry Christmas album!  I discovered it only a few years ago, but I listen to it every Christmas.  "Miss You Most," "Jesus Born on This Day," and "Jesus, Oh What a Wonderful Child," are my faves.  So when I caught wind of her second Christmas album, I was more than anxious to hear.  And Merry Christmas II You (cute title) does not disappoint—I love it more than the first!  The Merry Christmas album features traditional Christmas music infused with gospel and pop. And although this latter album continues in that tradition with "The First Noel," and the remakes of "All I Want for Christmas is You" and "O Holy Night," Merry Christmas II You is steeped with jazz and soul!
There is nothing blatantly wrong with this album.  Most of the songs, especially "Christmas Time is in the Air," are classic, elegant, jazzy, and cinematic.  Merry Christmas II You contains a spruced up, equally infectious, but not incredibly different remix of "All I Want for Christmas Is You," Carey's most popular song from the original album.  Other secular Christmas carols include a dance mix of "Auld Lang Syne," an R&B interpretation of "Here Comes Santa Claus," and her own Hip-Pop infused "Oh Santa!" (featured on her Macy's commercial).
While these songs are fine, they don't compare to the yet unmentioned others.  One of them is "Charlie Brown Christmas," in which Carey marries original lyrics with the beloved Charlie Brown theme song, producing a nostalgic tune that is appropriate for the season.  Another is "O Come All Ye Faithful," featuring her opera-singing mom, Patricia Carey.  Both beautiful and sentimental, their rendition remains true to the gospel essence of the hymn while incorporating Carey's style, along with her mother's.  
My favorite songs in this collection are original songs, “One Child” and “When Christmas Comes.”  "One Child" conveys the original and intended purpose of the Christmas season—to rejoice in the birth of Christ.  Carey, accompanied by a children's choir, appeals to my Christmas spirit as she urges me to "worship and adore Christ the Lord," and sing along.  And "When Christmas Comes" not only makes me want to sing—I want to move, I want to groove—this song is very smooth! It has soul in proportions comparable to Donny Hathaway's "This Christmas."
All in all, the quality of the music is superb.  It's obvious that Carey worked extra hard to prove her critics wrong, and she's convinced me that her vocals are still as powerful and as versatile as ever.  Not only is she vocally present, Carey and her producers were also conceptually creative.  For instance, bits and pieces of different Christmas carols are skillfully knit together, such as in "O Little Town of Bethlehem/ Little Drummer Boy Medley." As I think about it, Merry Christmas II You reminds me of a Christmas concert at the Met (grand and spectacular).  And the lush strings, signature Christmas sounds of bells and children, and Carey's cashmere vocals work together beautifully and take the listener on a sleigh-ride through Winter Wonderland!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kelly Price - "Tired"

I grew up on gospel rich and robust vocals in Southern black churches.  So when I hear a voice like Kelly Price's, in a song like "Tired"...(closes eyes and shakes head).  This truly reminds me of that type of music - it's straight from the soul of a person.  The emotion is audible.  And especially since this song doesn't have a traditional form, it is very much like a cry.  It's no secret that Kelly Price is immensely talented.  Her producer, Warryn "Baby Dubb" Campbell describes her as "one of those singers who can do anything with her voice."  So I am looking forward to listening to and marveling upon her upcoming album.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Faith Evans - Something About Faith

Do you ever wonder what funk mixed with jazz, sprinkled with techno, and smothered in hip-hop/soul sounds like?  Take a listen to Something About Faith, Faith Evans’ sixth studio album, and you will know.  Fifteen years after her debut album, Faith, Evans’ voice has maintained its cashmere softness and warmth.  And like her hits from the ‘90s, “Never Let You Go,” “I Love You,” and “I’ll Be Missing You,” the love songs on her new album continue to infuse my soul and melt my heart.  Whether she sings about having faith in love or having faith in God, self, or humanity, Evans proves that there really is something about faith.

The intro opens with shimmering synths, twinkling hi-hats, and sparkling chimes—sounds that are very similar to Evans’ voice.  While these instruments work on some tracks, on other songs, like “Baby Lay,” and “Can’t Stay Away,” the timbres clash with her sheer soprano vocals.    

Another downfall of this album is its lack of cohesiveness.  While most songs are in the same sound world, others are clearly dislocated.  “Your Lover” sounds like the hybrid of a game-show theme song and a commercial jingle for an island vacation.  And the lyrics in “The Love in Me” present two non sequitur themes.  Evans first explains how “hood” and “real” she is and then invites the listener to “embrace the love in me.”  Even if the two themes do somehow fit together, the song title baffles me because it falsely signifies that this is a love song.  

I commend Evans for making music that is socially conscious, including “Real Things,” “Changes,” featuring gospel duo Mary Mary, and “Troubled World,” featuring gospel’s own Jessica Reedy and soulful songstress Kelly Price.  Even though the lyrics contain substance and truth, the music lacks depth and variation, making these songs unmemorable.    

And maybe it's my speakers, but many of the songs sound a bit incomplete, like biscuits without jam or Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce; they needed another flavor to enhance the sound.  Yes, room for improvement exists, but there is also a lot to love!  

In the case of many of these songs, this is feel-good music that makes you want to “get your back up off the wall!” exclaimed in “Party.”  And even though they have elements that are more contemporary, many of these songs resemble the rich and soulful 90’s R&B from my childhood.  Back in the day, beautiful, lush harmonies became Evans’ signature, and they are incorporated in pre-released singles, “Way You Move,” featuring Snoop Dogg, “Sunshine,” and “Gone Already.” 

But “Worth It” is my absolute favorite song.  It is the perfect combination of the smart instrumentation, cool groove, and “grown-and-sexy” vibe that enlivens each of these songs.  Music like this confirms that I’d much rather prefer to hear Evans sing about love and heartbreak than anything else. 

Another strong point of Something About Faith is the integration of music by Evans’ late husband, The Notorious B.I.G.  In “Can’t Stay Away,” featuring Keyshia Cole, she quotes lyrics from the hook of Biggie’s classic, “Hypnotize.”  And she does her own interpretation of his song, “Everyday Struggle.”  Biggie’s version hopelessly laments, “I don't wanna live no mo’. Sometimes I hear death knockin at my front do’. I'm livin everyday like a hustle—another drug to juggle. Another day another struggle.”  But Evans challenges listeners to keep the faith in her rendition, which features two rapped verses by Raekwon.  

All in all, Something About Faith impresses me.   This album is not perfect; nonetheless, many of its songs will enjoy ample playtime on my speakers.  Actually, I have already listened to most of the songs multiple times.  Something about Faith, the album and the singer, truly resonates with me.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Faith Evans - Gone Already

Two words - CAN'T WAIT!!! Faith Evans is one of my favorite singers, and I'm super excited that she's finally coming out with a new album after 5 years!  Her first single, "Gone Already," from her sixth studio album, Something About Faith, showcases her shimmering voice and her undeniable talent. 

The song is on a more solemn note than I would expect for her first single in such a long time.  But I'm happy to know that she hasn't lost her touch.  Lady can still caress a melody and those keys were sounding nice!  I'm sure that Something About Faith will consist of music that I can really get into.  So I can't wait for October 5 - I'm expecting greatness.  This sad, but beautiful song encourages me to keep the faith!

Also, check out Faith Evans' "Way You Move," featuring Snoop Dogg - it has a smooth vibe, it's more upbeat and fun, and it's catchy!  Find it on my iPod on the sidebar >>>

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Concha Buika - Soledad

No, no comprendo español mucho.  Especially when it is sung.  But that's not going to stop me from wrapping my ears around the luscious sounds of Concha Buika's rendition of "Soledad" (originally by Chavela Vargas.  I don't understand many of the words, but I can sense the emotion behind each syllable.  The tone of her voice is like a wooden fire crackling and cinders glowing - sigh... Jason, one of my classmates stated that "Buika sounds like she's 120 years old!"  He's right!! (that's a good thing in this case.)  Her voice is so rich and sultry.  And it is full, so her songs don't need much instrumentation.

However, the jazz piano on this track fits like a key in a lock.  Well-loved jazz musician, Chucho Valdés, graces this song with his piano magic.  He waltzes with Buika's vocals - they move hand in hand and float atop the sound waves of pure soul!

I'm so glad that Professor Ouellette had us listen to "Soledad" in class today; when I got home, I streamed all of her albums via Zune.  I marvelled at more songs from El Ultimo Trago, and I am now listening to "Love," from the album Mi niña Lola.  Do yourself a favor, and take a listen!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ne-Yo - One in a Million

Watch out Usher!! Ne-Yo's back!  You could check out his Michael Jackson-like track "Beautiful Monster," or you could listen the charming, "One in a Million," in which Mr. GQ pursues a lady who could obviously care less for him.  Ladies, Ne-Yo starts dancing in the streets!  Guess Ne-Yo snagged Columbus Short when Chris was becoming a gangsta! One thing I really like about this song is that Ne-Yo has maintained his artistry.  He has taken great care to perfect the lyrics, the music, and the performance.  Overall, he delivers.

R. Kelly - When a Woman Loves

This is old soul for real!
X Lyrics on point
X Vocals beyond compare
X Feel it in my soul
X Wholesome
You go R. Kelly!!

Chrisette Michele - I'm a Star

For the first few seconds of this song, I'm thinkin "yes, this is gonna be tough!" I was kinda wrong though.  This song is quite soft and sweet.  Is Chrisette going for a more pop feel on this upcoming album?  Well this new single, "I'm a Star," leads me to believe so.  The lyrics are cool and the music is nice.  Actually the song has some great musical elements - the intro, the "seen it, done it" part and her vocals, of course. But I'm expecting Chrisette to pour more soul into the mix on the other songs from her currently untitled album.

I REALLY hope Chrisette doesn't pull an Alicia Keys on us - by that I mean trade in her jazzy, gritty sound for a polished, more mainstream sound.  Her old world vocals are what captivated me - I first heard her sing the hook on Nas's "Can't Forget About You."  I was like, "Whoa!! Who's that singing?!"

I eventually listened to both of her studio albums.  I absolutely love all of the songs on Chrisette Michele's I Am, especially "Love is You," "Your Joy," "Like a Dream," and "Let's Rock."  I liked the majority of songs on Epiphany - "What You Do" is still stuck in my head.  Hopefully, she reverses her minimally declining track record with the upcoming album.

I recently saw Chrisette, along with Tamia, Mario, Salt, and Rick Ross, perform at Summerstage at Central Park on August 28, 2010.  Seeing and hearing...scratch that...EXPERIENCING Chrisette live is truly a delicacy.  Its yummy to the senses>>hearing her do all this crazy vocal work, seeing way she moves her hands, squints her eyes, bends down as she belts out - her mannerisms remind me of Etta James, whom she has studied.

Watching a lady with such prowess and passion is awe-inspiring.  I'm looking forward to hearing more from Chrisette and experiencing her in concert again.  I believe that she is a legend in the making.  As long as she keeps her focus and remains true to her soul [music].

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Willow Smith - Whip My Hair

Hmmm...well I'm a little puzzled. This 9 year old girl is talking about her haters while she should be playing with her barbies (or whatever celebrity kids play with), and she dresses like someone twice her age (and we wonder why so many perverts are out there). But this critique from here forth is strictly about the song!

The hook is repetitive but very catchy - it will probably be stuck in my head for a while =).  Willow isn't an AMAZING singer, at least not yet. But she's good...good enough, apparently, for Jay-Z to sign her to his Roc Nation label.  The first person who comes to mind when I hear this song is Rihanna.  Willow sounds very much like Rihanna, vocally.  And her fashion style is undoubtedly influenced by Rihanna as well.  But thankfully, Willow keeps it kid-friendly! The message of the song is be yourself despite what anyone says or thinks.  I'm impressed that this young lady seems to be so self-assured.  Her delivery is pretty convincing.  Will and Jada Smith are definitely raising some driven kids!  But is Willow actually talented? Listen to the song and decide for yourself.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Lyfe Jennings - Statistics

Wow - must say I'm pleasantly surprised with Lyfe Jennings' single "Statistics."  I shouldn't be so surprised, because "Must be Nice" was of similar nature, in that it was distinct.  But I haven't listened to his other music, until now.  I guess I was expecting "Statistics" to be a song in which Jennings flaunts his money, cars, and women...I must listen to way too much Hip-Hop! =)  However, the album title track of his new album gives statistics regarding men.  For example, what percentage of men practice safe sex, grew up without a father, and have cheated on their mate. He is dropping knowledge to the ladies about the statistics of our prospects. The guys may be a bit averse to this song, but it's something to think about for the ladies. I must say, it's definately a breath of fresh air from the norm of male R&B.

Now I'm listening to another song from the album Statistics, "It Could've Been Worse."  Again, I'm so impressed that Jennings chooses to sing about matters that actually matter.  He begins the song with, "Embrace your struggle, 'cause no matter what, it could've been worse." This is so true - I'm automatically putting a heart by this song.  From what I'm hearing so far, the tracks aren't too complex, as far as instrumentation/ arrangement.  You can tell that the vocals are the focal point of the songs.  And the vocals are so raw and genuine - "Done Cryin" is a good example of how a simple song can be so beautiful.  (The Deluxe Edition includes an acoustic version of this song which is so good to just vibe to.) 

Statistics is a compilation of real life issues, love, and spirituality.  Lyfe Jennings makes it so very personal with "I Still Believe" and especially,"Learn from This," and "If Tomorrow Never Comes."  He truly open his heart and soul to his audience.  I would recommend giving this album a good listen.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

John Legend, The Roots, etc... - WAKE UP

So, using musical talents for the advancement of a people/ nation is, undoubtedly, important.  "Wake Up," a collabo by John Legend, The Roots, Melanie Fiona, and Common (whom I love!) is the type of song that we all need to hear.  Sadly, songs with a "stand up, be about something positive, make a change" messages aren't the most popular.  But these are exactly the types of songs that should be on replay, both in our heads and on the radio/ iPod/ TV.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monica - Love All Over Me

If you know me, you know that I am so in love with Monica's album Still Standing.  So of course, I'm posting this video.  The song is beautiful (and the guy is too)!!

Janelle Monae - Tight Rope (Wondamix)

Check this!!! I like this version MUCH better than the original! The verses are sick!! Jajaja - love it!!

Soul Seekers - It's All God

Been looking for some new, fresh, smooth gospel?  Something you can vibe to?  Music to uplift you? So have I.  Look what I found:

Friday, June 4, 2010

On Meeting Wynton Marsalis and JLCO

Thanks to my cousin Shaun and his connection, Marcus Printup, who is a jazz trumpeter and member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO), I was able to sit in on a rehearsal of the JALC big band, led by jazz legend, Wynton Marsalis. Along with meeting such an extraordinary and well-loved musician as Marsalis, I also met the overly talented band members, including trombonist Chris Crenshaw, drummer Ali Jackson, and pianist Dan Nimmer. These guys sounded so amazing rehearsing the witty, reminiscent, and pleasant composition by Marsalis. Although I am no jazz expert, I know and appreciate good, soulful music when I hear it. The musicians had sound advice and fun experiences to share with my aspiring jazz trumpeter cousin. But as a music student, I also benefited from all they had to say, which was don't shy away from dreams that you are serious about; seize opportunities and stay working hard.