Weird awesome jams from the one and only Sun Ra. This isn’t so weird musically for a sun ra song but it is lyrically. Musically its kinda like Herbie Hancock’s early piano jams but dude is all “Motherfucker, don’t you know? If they push that button, your ass gonna go…. whatcha gonna do without your ass?”.
It’s like all those hardcore songs about nuclear war only 100x better.
This is pretty much one of the only jams playing around the holidays I love. This is the full version, where they go from playing the familiar melody to doing a bunch of awesome unrelated bits, then go back and forth. Not my fave Coltrane stuff but it’s fucking great.
I can’t seem to find out when exactly she said this and all the sources are tracing back to the BBC obituary, but I’m guessing this was said much later in her career. The context of this quote goes along with her annoyance with the comparison to Billie Holiday. And anyone who knows Holiday and Simone’s music will find that comparison to not only be extremely ridiculous but also an example of a racial view of defining black musicians, something Simone is talking about in this quote.
I remember during her early years, she said “all that is to me is jazz.” And well, jazz to a lot of black musicians was not just music but a way of life; their way of life as black people. I could source quotes about jazz and blackness in the U.S. from hundreds of black musicians and compare that to the few white musicians denying blackness in jazz music. But I’m guessing Simone sees it differently this time around.
Whiteness always takes something away from black people though, a large idea which music journalist Greg Tate talks about. This culture of jazz has been poisoned and it erases black people just the way hip-hop does because of the narrow views of blackness. It reminds me of the Santigold interview where people called her music “hip-hop.” She lashes out and talks about how ridiculous it is that of all things, they’d label her as hip-hop just because she’s black. It also reminds me of Scott Joplin known primarily for composing ragtimes on the piano. He thought of his music as serious works of art, comparing it to European traditions and in the same sense Simone saw her own music…Joplin treated his music as Black classical music. But a lot of his music at the time were considered a joke and to his disappointment from the audience, not taken seriously at all because of racism.
This is a really good read. Nina was saying versions of this as early as the 70s, also about being categorized as R&B. I think her annoyance was generally with being labeled, especially by white critics who didn’t know a damn thing about anything.
Powerful stuff from the one and only Nina. Don’t let the upbeat music fool you, this is a heavy fucking song. Written in 1964, It was banned from radio in various states for it’s succinct depiction of racism in America.
Certainly a song that should make you angry and sad, but in a good way.