I heard the future here and now — let’s call it the present! — in the form of trumpeter Igmar Thomas & The Cypher with MC Raydar Ellis the other night at a public party produced by Revive Da Live, which promotes the jazz-hip/hop mashup in realtime performances, and I was surprised — not bad at all, in fact it was a lot of fun.
The problems rap & hip-hop pose for those who privilege jazz styles from Jelly Roll and Pops through Duke, Count, swing and standards to bebop, modal jazz and 21st century global improvisation include the preponderance of mechanized sound, spoken word over melodic content, static harmony and unbending rhythms. Though rap & hip-hop emerge from the same multi-culti, helter-skelter cityscapes that have given rise to great black music since New Orleans circa 1917, rappers and hip-hop or acid jazz bands — according to many a “serious” jazz critic — abjure the advances jazz musicians over the decades have discovered and asserted in pursuit of transcendent glory, restricting their own efforts to tuneless chants over leaden beats that seldom go anywhere. And I’m characterizing the music here, not sending up the diverse poses and affectations rap and hip-hop artists aim at their hardcore audiences rather than produce for the comfortable consumption of mainstream types or even boomer hipsters.
y deejays with turntables and samplers so that it pulses with the deep breath and coursing blood of people interacting with each other through their instruments.