Versatile New Orleans-born musician/producer Allen Toussaint died yesterday from a heart attack while in Spain, according to an email confirmation from his daughter today. The 77-year-old pianist, singer, songwriter, and producer, who remained consistently active in a rich and long musical career that began while in his teens, died after he collapsed following a concert in Madrid on Monday. Part of an ongoing European tour, last night's concert, which took place at Madrid's Teatro Lara, was captured on video with portions of it already posted online (see one of the clips below). Toussaint's legacy will forever be entwined with the New Orleans R&B musical scene. Growing up in New Orleans, he loved music from an early age and taught himself the piano.
Toussaint, who originally went by the stage name Tousan, began as a musician before expanding into the role of producer. He worked for a while behind the scenes for the Minit Records label, shaping hits for other artists such as Lee Dorsey and Irma Thomas. As a recording artist he was both influential and prolific with a rich catalog to his name, including a lot of singles. Among the most popular releases by Allen Toussaint found at Amoeba include the recommended collections of his work such as Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky: The Hit Songs & Productions 1957-1978, Toussaint: The Real Thing 1970-1975, and What Is Success: The Scepter and Bell Recordings.
Among my favorite artists of all time is the legendary LA hip-hop electro artist The Egyptian Lover, who has played at Amoeba Music in the past but this week makes a very special return with two separate in-store shows in honor of his new double LP. Entitled 1984, the album is out November 7th now on his Egyptian Empire Records label. Note that 1984 is also available in both vinyl, download and CD versions. See him at the Hollywood Amoeba today (Friday, November 6th at 7pm) and again tomorrow at Amoeba San Francisco (Saturday, Nov 7th at 4pm) for a Revolutions session following sets by Chungtech and Guillermo.
3 Records Egyptian Lover Will Def Play @ Amoeba:
1) Bambaataa/Soul Sonic Force's "Planet Rock" + "Planet Rock" backwards
2) "Electric Kingdom" by Twilight 22
Back at the time of this totally unexpected event communities all over the world, including the Bay Area's deep hip-hop DJ scene, were in a collective state of both remorse and shock. Shocking all these years later is that the 2002 murder still remains unsolved. Over the years suspects have been named and investigated, but 13 years on and no one was ever found responsible for the murder nor convicted.
JMJ lives on through his music that both entertains and influences. Further he influences a new younger generation posthumously through the efforts of the foundation set up in his name. The Jam Master Jay Foundation For Music was created about a year after his death by his widow Terri Corley-Mizell. The non-profit organization was set up to give back to the next generation. Its stated goal is that, "regardless of socio-economic status, every child deserves equal access to the arts. The Foundation supports the idea that social Justice, Arts and Music (J.A.M.) education should be in every school, in every region of the country, giving children the opportunity to expand their world-view through artistic expression." The Foundation's next planned public event is a hip-hop lip sync battle on November 10th, at Subrosa located at 63 Gansevoort St NY, NY. The beats will be provided by TJ Mizell, JMJ's son who is carrying on his father's legacy in various ways including acting as DJ for Run-D.M.C. in concert. For more information on the Foundation happenings visit their website. Meanwhile check out the rare clip from 1984 of JMJ doing he intro to the Run-D.M.C. concert from three decades ago. And browse the Run-D.M.C. records and CDs available from Amoeba.
Since its release last Friday (October 30th), popular Bay Area rapper J.Stalin's latest album Tears Of Joy (Livewire) has been selling well at Amoeba, particularly at the stores in the Bay Area where the prolific longtime West Oakland rapper hails from. In fact, as a reminder to fans that the new album is out, the Livewire Records CEO commissioned a series of billboard ads round the Town (Oakland) in the weeks leading to the release. But the main reason why this new album is in demand is because it's a hit and fans were fiending for its release for some time now. So far the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, especially for the autobiographical "Selling Crack" (see new music video below), "Instagram Gangstaz (feat. L'Jay)" that pokes fun at this era's version of fake superficial studio gangstas, and album standout track "Think U Ready" that posthumously features a cameo from beloved Bay Area rap icon The Jacka who was killed earlier this year in East Oakland in a drive-by. The album also features a touching tribute to the slain artist, "Jacka's Prayer."
Other artists guesting on the new album include Iamsu!, Riff Raff, Snow Tha Product, Mistah F.A.B., Rayven Justice, D-Lo, B-Legit, and Jonn Hart. Meanwhile, production credits go to some of the best including The Mekanix, DJ Fresh, and Junonnabeat. Fans of the Bay's rich mobb music legacy will appreciate this rap album that the artist himself considers it a return to form.
Love him, hate him, or simply feel indifferent towards him, no one can deny that during the past (almost) five years of Ed Lee as Mayor of San Francisco the City by the Bay has been dramatically reshaped. Hence why tomorrow's November 3rd election for mayor of San Francisco, in which he is running for a second term, is considered so crucial.
Back on January 11, 2011, Ed Lee was appointed by the Board of Supervisors to serve out the remainder of former mayor Gavin Newsom's term. At the time no one thought much of it, believing Lee would carry on business as usual without making any significant changes. Wrong! In the half decade since taking office, Lee has made numerous changes and in so doing been roundly accused by his detractors (and there are many) of been beholden to big corporate money, all the while turning his back on San Francisco's longtime low-income residents.
In tomorrow's election Lee faces five different challengers who are united in their anti-Lee stance and push to a return for what's been labeled "a grassroots democracy" for San Francisco. In all the six candidates on the ballot for mayor of San Francisco are Kent Graham, Francisco Herrera, Ed Lee, Reed Martin, Stuart Schuffman and Amy Farah Weiss.