Band of the Week(and Happy New Year)- Jaspects

ATL based band: From their Myspace:
Born during the hip-hop movement, Jaspects integrates their youthful skill to progress music and build a bridge between musical genres. Formally trained alumni of Morehouse College’s music department, Jaspects’ goal is to produce an exhaustive musical experience that involves TRUE freedom of expression via musical and lyrical creativity.

Jaspects’ latest album The Polkadotted Stripe embodies Jaspects’ thesis as it interrogates the idea of musical, social, and political freedom. The concept of the group’s fourth effort procures from the world of fashion. Delving deep into research, Jaspects learned that the fashion truth bastardizing the marriage of polka dots and stripes is man-made. Therefore, Jaspects’ The Polkadotted Stripe inquires: “What is truth?” Upon much discussion and studying, Jaspects recognized that in most instances reality is well, relative. With that in mind, The Polkadotted Stripe defined is someone or something that debunks the notion of social standards.

“PDS’” single "Unifunk" is an example of Jaspects’ trademark genre-bending production. Techno meshed with soulful horns, a grooving bass line, and T. Brown's futuristic vocoder stylings engulf "Unifunk" and provide an opportunity for serious social commentary to entrench the listener during this dancer's delight. "Unifunk's" lyrics focus on the state of the world today and spread the message of unity through "universal funk" or "Unifunk."

Jaspects works to rescue the concept of musicianship while breaking down the structural constraints of hip-hop. The band promotes the idea that the culture of hip-hop can support an entity that focuses on musical depth without ostracizing the mainstream fan of the genre. Jaspects uses music as a change agent in ways pioneers such as Public Enemy, Erykah Badu, and Marvin Gaye have. The message conveyed by Jaspects remains consistent, "make your music mean something to the world at-large."

The collective operates out of Atlanta and consists of T. Brown (Memphis, TN), Jon-Christopher Sowells (Dallas), drummer Henry “HC3” Conerway, III (Detroit), Dwayne “Spacey” Dugger (Queens, NY), Stagolee (Aniston, AL), and King James (Stamford, CT). In addition to PDS, Jaspects has released three other independent albums: In ‘House’ Sessions (2005), Broadcasting the Definition (2006), and Double Consciousness (2007).

Individually, Jaspects’ works have appeared in the 2005 major motion picture “Hustle & Flow,” on Chamillionaire’s platinum albums “Chamillitary” and “Sound of Revenge,” on Carlos Santana’s “All That I Am,” and with platinum recording artists David Banner, Wyclef Jean, Big Boi (“Kryptonite”), and Mary J. Blige (“Just Fine”). Collectively, Jaspects has shared bills with: Dwele, Bilal, Mike Phillips, Herbie Hancock, Eric Roberson, Stevie Wonder, Brian McKnight, and rap phoneme Drake. Jaspects has also collaborated with Grammy-nominated artists Janelle Monae, PJ Morton and Anthony David, in addition to Kedar Entertainment act Algebra, and Good Music’s Fonzworth Bentley.

CNN featured four selections of Jaspects’ music on their 2008 documentary “Black in America.” Jaspects is a two-time selection for “Best Atlanta Band” by Creative Loafing newspaper (2007 and 2008) and “Future of Jazz” winners (2006 and 2007) for the Atlanta Jazz Festival. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts featured Jaspects in January 2009 as a headliner for the Millennium Stage Series.


Beth Hart-Mama

This is one of my favorite songs(I know I say that a ton...)Beth is really underrated.


Sometimes I hate when indie people get signed...

And producers polish up songs...sometimes the demo versions are better sounding to me..case in point..my favorite Sara Bareillis song: "Love on the Rocks"

Old version:

Album version:

Maybe it's subtle to everyone else..but it seriously bothers me...

Fairytale(circa 2006):

New version:

This never gets old...and I'm not the greatest Bach fan ever...

I always said if I wasn't a singer/pianist...I would be a cellist. It's my favorite string instrument...I like the warmth of its sound.


Still into guitar...

This is my fave Paco de Lucia piece..."Chanela"
Live version:

Studio version:


This is why I'm disappointed with the new Shakira album

Because stuff like this was on the last album and she was NOT gyrating in cages like an idiot...ugh.Just because it worked for Nelly furtado doesn't mean the dance thing is going to work for you. Don't stop being yourself...see what happened to Kelis?


"Classical" Composers that any real musician should listen to: Gustav Mahler

Mahler was definitely the first composer I ever fell in love with. something about the darkness of his intricate and multilayered melodies drove me crazy.I have never been more saddened at the lack of opera from anyone but him. He never wrote one.
Gustav Mahler (7 July 1860 – 18 May 1911) was a Bohemian-born Austrian composer and conductor. He was best known during his own lifetime as one of the leading orchestral and operatic conductors of the day. He has since come to be acknowledged as among the most important late-Romantic/early-Modernist composers, although his music was never completely accepted by the musical establishment of Vienna while he was still alive. Mahler composed primarily symphonies and songs; however, his approach to genre often blurred the lines between orchestral Lied, symphony, and symphonic poem(via Wiki).

I sort of hesitate to post this because it means so much to me. I know that it sounds bizarre, but listening to Mahler is when I finally "got" "classical" music. I heard in the infinite sonorities of his music the messages he was trying to convey as a composer. It taught me to be challenged as a listener. Mahler stretches tonality extremely far and yet never loses that very tonality that gives him structure. I respect Schoenberg...but I can FEEL Mahler.I feel like the dissonance has a purpose. I'm not quite sure how to explain it. But when I sang Mahler I knew every emotion I needed to convey even if I never knew any German. But that doesn't mean it was easily handed to me. It wasn't a literal translation of a story,it was an emotional translation.
I think to understand Mahler you have to be in the emotional space to accept what is coming. In other words, if you are not mentally prepared for it,don't even bother listening. If you don't like your music a bit more...meaty...don't even try.

Kindertotenlieder(Songs on the Death of Children) I sang this my senior year of college. I don't think anyone understood why I would want to sing a bunch of songs about Ruckert(the poet) children's deaths. Honestly, it wasn't about that. I found so much truth in the music. Yes there were some moments I couldn't sing without becoming so emotionally involved in the character that I could not carry on...but I think that experience is beautiful. I believe every performer should experience a moment where they see and hear nothing but the music. A moment where they just "are" the character. I think singer's have to think more like actors,because we are in a sense,actors who deliver our monologues to a tune. The best feeling in the world for me is when I become lost in character. When my thoughts,actions,breaths,and overall being become someone else's for just one moment. Sounds weird, but those that know what I'm talking about agree it's magical. It's like sleep walking...but being able to feel sensation.When I think about those feelings...it really makes me miss singing this stuff.

All of Mahler's lieder is amazing though. I sang the Ruckert lieder when I was a junior in college.

From Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen-words written by Mahler himself. Listen to the different emotions in just one song of this cycle.Last 2 movements. One of my fave Baritones, my fave conductor,one of my fave composers...what's not to love?!?

Close your eyes,crank this up, and just listen.Take long deep breaths along with the sway of the music.Thank me later.

Pink Martini - Una Notte a Napoli


Song:Great.Video:Not so much...

I need more of a plot than the last 45 seconds Cudi.
Your girl,