A-J & the spirit of upliftment

Mon, 11 Sep 1995 00:53:03 -0400 (EDT)

A friend of mine and I were having a conversation about music-- music and
celebration specifically, and we started making the links once again (I
say once again b/c many of you have made the link yourself) b/w hip-hop,
jazz, funk, gospel, and the blues. A lot of funk from the late sixties, and
all throughout the seventies had the ability to make people move. But its
interesting to note the deeper significance, and 'movement' behind the
'funk'-- and that was movement towards freedom for African Americans
(and Black people around the world.... Makes me think of Soul II Soul's 'Keep
on Moving' in completely different way...) P-Funk, Mr. Curtis Mayfield, and
some of the O'Jay's are good example's of how funk not only freed one's
body from the rigidity and conformity of the capitalistic/mechanistic
routine of everyday life, but also inspired, and uplifted people to
recognize their struggles and gather a sense of positivity from their
predicaments (Gil Scott Heron's 'It's Your World' is a fine example of
this, too.) Funk was undeniably influenced by the tradition of the blues.
The Blues, too was about upliftment through sharing and voicing pain. The
uplifment came through, the physical act of realeasing the pain, in the
form of words and music, as well as through the less viscerally spiritual
experience of having your own pain reflected back to you, by the people
sitting near you. Similar comments can be made about Gospel and Jazz.
--I wonder sometimes if Acid Jazz, can be seen as a genre that encompasses
elements of funk, and jazz, and etc, if the motivation amd spirit does not
resonate with the motivation and spirit of the traditions Acid-Jazz claims
it borrows from.I don't think I want to engage in a discussion about music,
culture, and authenticity...but really, being Black about more than
pigmentation..being Hindu has more to it then 1 million deities...and Acid
Jazz must have more to it then great rhythm sections,& clever jazz solos.
What I'm asking, then, is WHAT IS THE SPIRIT of ACID-JAZZ? IS, it (and
should't it be ) about upliftment, like the wayHip-hop is? Or is it
creatively stagnent to treat ACid-Jazz as "a continuation of African
American expression" (which by the way Has been the creative force behind
every new musical form in N.A)? Even for a genre as criss-polinated as
Acid-Jazz-- there must be a common denominator that 'creates' it,a nd
pushes it forward. And if it isn't motivated by African American
expression, then I have 2 questions: Why not? & WHAT is the SPIRIT behind
this genre that we all love but vaguely understand?

--Shanti: Hiren (The Brown Hornet)