Amoeblog

Remembering Al Jarreau [1940 - 2017]

Posted by Billyjam, February 13, 2017 10:22am | Post a Comment

Rest in peace to multi-million selling pop/jazz vocalist Al Jarreau who died yesterday in an LA area hospital from unknown causes. The Milwaukee, Wisconsin born vocalist/musician, who just a coupe of weeks ago had suddenly stopped his ongoing tour citing "exhaustion" as the reason, was 76 years of age. A seven-time Grammy winner, Jarreau held the distinction of being the only vocalist in music history to earn Grammy Awards in three different categories: jazz, pop, and R&B. Jarreau won his first Grammy for "best jazz vocal performance" back in 1978. Jarreau's first Grammy award was credited to his 1977 Warner Bros released album Look to the Rainbow.

Fast forward forty years to last night's 59th Grammys, as news of Jarreau's passing was fresh on peoples' minds, and the artist was  given a shout out on stage by vocal quintet Pentatonix before bursting into an abbreviated acapella version of The Jackson 5's hit "ABC."  In another related sad coincidence at last night's Grammys show the late great hip-hop artist Phife Dawg, who was lovingly saluted during the extended A Tribe Called Quest ensemble's live performance, was among the many artists to have collaborated with Al Jarreau over the years. The ATCQ emcee had worked with Jarreau back in 2001 on the track "In My Music" (audio clip below). 

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Hip-Hop Rap Up: New Releases, Videos, Shows: Lupe Fiasco, Mr. Lif, Daedelus, Paul Nice, Dre Day, Chance The Rapper + more

Posted by Billyjam, February 11, 2017 10:57am | Post a Comment
Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending Feb 10th 2017


1: Lupe Fiasco DROGAS Light (1st & 15th Productions)

2: Various Artists  The Hamilton Mixtape (LP/vinyl + on cassette) also avail on CD (Atlantic)

3:  DJ Paul Nice Ultimate Block Party Breaks Volume 3 (LP) (Fat Beats)

4: Daedelus Baker's Dozen LP/vinyl (Fat Beats)

5: Thievery Corporation The Temple Of I & I (also on LP/vinyl) : (Eighteenth Street Lounge)

This week's new releases include a variety of offerings including the brand new Lupe Fiasco album  Drogas Light, the vinyl and cassette (yep tape) format releases of the popular Hamilton Mixtape that dropped on CD version in early December, the vinyl only breakbeat album from longtime hip-hop producer/DJ battle and break tools maker Paul Nice Ultimate Block Party Breaks Volume 3, plus the multi genre releases (electronic meets hip-hop) from both Daedelus (Baker's Dozen) and Thievery Corporation (The Temple Of I & I). This latest album from the duo of Rob Garza and Eric Hilton, released by Eighteenth Street Lounge and also available also on LP/vinyl format, features, among others, regular band contributor revered Boston emcee Mr. Lif (in recent months interviewed by Amoeblog) on the album tracks "Ghetto Matrix" and "Fight to Survive."

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The Return of Dr. Octagon with 20 Year Anniversary Box Set + CA Concert Dates feat. Kool Keith, Qbert, & Dan the Automator

Posted by Billyjam, February 9, 2017 06:53pm | Post a Comment

Since the announcement yesterday of a return of veteran NYC emcee Kool Keith's Dr. Octagon alias (the alter ego he had killed off years ago) with two surprise California concert dates next month with the former Ultramagnetic MCs emcee along with the Octagon project key collaborators, producer Dan the Automator and fellow San Francisco artist DJ Qbert, there has been quite a buzz.  Tickets for the two CA dates, scheduled for March 6th and 7th at San Francisco's The Independent and Los Angeles' The Teragram Ballroom respectively, have been selling briskly with both the SF and LA dates already sold out (although tix can be still found on StubHub). The in-demand concerts, which act as a primer for the upcoming 20th anniversary, limited edition box set release of the Dr. Octagon project Dr. Octagonecologyst by Traffic and Universal, prove just how popular the mid-nineties Kool Keith alter-ego high-concept character and accompanying project remains even two decades later. Note that the forthcoming 2017 anniversary edition release will be just the latest in a series over an extended period of reissues and variations, including the popular non vocal Instrumentalyst via Octagon Beats, of the nineties Dreamworks release of the  Dr. Octagonecologyst album that was most recently reissued in 2014 by Geffen as the 2LP pressing of Dr. Octagonecologyst.

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OMCA's Black Panther Exhibit Continues Through Black History Month 2017

Posted by Billyjam, February 6, 2017 09:18pm | Post a Comment

Fittingly the Oakland Museum of California's (OMCA) 50 year anniversary retrospective on the  Black Panthers, that opened a few months back in October 2016, will continue through this month of February: Black History Month 2017.  Entitled All Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50 the popular exhibit's final day will be will be just a couple of days shy of the month's end on Feb. 26th when there is a special closing night party for OMCA members. If you have not already checked out this exhibit on the history of the homegrown Oakland revolutionary group you really should do so over the upcoming three weeks. Additionally be sure to read Rickey Vincent's insightful book Party Music on the Black Panthers little known house band The Lumpen who only released one record: the single “Free Bobby Now." Most likely for sale in the OMCA gift shop/book store, the 2014 published book and its author were profiled here on the Amoeblog three years ago during that year's Black History Month.  Meanwhile for their ongoing exhibit, OMCA's curators have set about presenting a balanced, fair, contemporary view of the Panther Party and "its aims to serve oppressed people and fight injustice." This they accomplish with an engaging gallery exhibit that portrays Black Panther members of both genders  with a variety of historical pieces on display. These include many very rare historical artifacts, never-before-seen photographs, first-person accounts from former Panthers, scholars, and community members, and contemporary art show how the Party continues to influence culture and activism locally, nationally, and internationally.

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Hip-Hop Rap Up: New Releases, Videos, Concerts: Run The Jewels, Rah Digga, Mobb Deep, Wyclef Jean, Saul Williams, Talib Kweli

Posted by Billyjam, February 4, 2017 12:03pm | Post a Comment
New & Reissued Hip-Hop Releases Week of Feb 3 2017


1: Wyclef Jean J'Ouvert (Entertainment One)

2: Yung Nation Greatest Hits (Music Access)

3: Mobb Deep Murda Muzik [180 Gram Vinyl] (LP) (Music On Vinyl)

4: Muggs/Soul Assassins Muggs Presents The Soul Assassins Chapter 1 [180 Gram Vinyl] (Music On Vinyl)

5: Various Artists Slam OST LP reissue (Music On Vinyl) 

Among the new releases / arrivals into Amoeba this week include the latest from Wyclef Jean who we have not heard from, in terms of an all new recording, in seven years. But this week, care of Entertainment One, the Fugees star released J'Ouvert. The new ten song album includes such tracks as the lead single (video below) "Hendrix," "The Ring," "Lady Haiti," and "If I Was President 2016" which is a kind of sequel to his last release: 2010's autobiographical political hip-hop EP If I Were President: My Haitian Experience. You may recall how back in that same year the Haitian born, NJ raised artist had announced that he would be running for president of Haiti but soonafter was disqualified because he had not been a  permanent resident of his homeland country for the previous five years.  

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