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African cross-pollination?
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African cross-pollination?

38 Posts

We've come a long way since Paul Simon's Graceland… There are so many amazing African artists infused with Western music and Western artists infused with African music.

We've come a long way since Paul Simon's Graceland… There are so many amazing African artists infused with Western music and Western artists infused with African music.
Don MacKinnon
Dec 2, 2012
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Lounge Lizards - Bob The Bob (home)
Jaime Wolf

John Lurie

In the '80s, when John Lurie first convened The Lounge Lizards amid the creative ferment of New York's Downtown scene, he cracked that the music they played was "fake jazz" -- a skronky no wave take on hard bop, an attempt to incarnate the fictitious band led by John Cassavetes in JOHNNY STACCATO.

But while the wiseass attitude initially competed with the music, it's a shame the description stuck, because by '88-'89 they were totally serious, and from that point through the mid-'90s, they were the best live band in New York City, hands down. The band with Marc Ribot, Roy Nathanson, Curtis Fowlkes, Evan Lurie, Erik Sanko, EJ Rodriguez & Dougie Bowne was stellar & launched a number of important satellites & spinoffs, but the subsequent lineup with Steve Bernstein, Dave Tronzo, Jane Scarpantoni, Billy Martin and Calvin Weston (and, occasionally, John Medeski), was even better, rarely less than totally transporting.

Lurie had obviously spent a lot of time listening to West African music, and his incorporation of not only its rhythms, but a sense of light & space became key to the band dynamic & sound, and it remains one of the more underappreciated aspects of his work.
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