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All across the nation Harlem Bush Music was booming. Coast to coast, Canada to Mexico, this was

one of our main musical statements. It had everything: anti-Vietnam war statements, metaphysics,

straight up revolutionary fervor, dance&romance, blues

 

 

Gary Bartz CDs

 

There Goes the Neighborhood / Episode One Children of Harlem  / Juju Street Songs / Vignettes / Red & Orange Poems

 

Libra/Another Earth / Blues Chronicles: Tales of Life / Reflections of Monk /

 

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Gary Bartz Ntu Troop “People Dance”

 Music Commentary by Mtume ya Salaam & Kalamu ya Salaam

 

The Harlem Bush Music LPs take me back. I grew up on this stuff, even if back then I had no idea what I was hearing. I probably didn’t understand a word of it. I’d even bet that I wasn’t consciously “listening.” But now, more than thirty-five years later, when I hear Gary Bartz and Andy Bey doing their thing on “Rise” or “Celestial Blues,” I feel it in a way that I doubt I could or would if I really was hearing it for the first time.

The history of this music is a little confusing, so check it, here goes. Gary Bartz is a jazz saxophonist (soprano and alto) who came out of one of the many Art Blakey bands. A few years after releasing his first recording as a headliner, Bartz put together a jazz collective named Ntu Troop, the leaders of which were vocalist Andy Bey as well as Bartz himself. Today, Bartz is best known for the gorgeous title track of his 1977 Music Is My Sanctuary LP, but those truly in the know know that Bartz’ greatest moment came years earlier.

Released months apart in 1971, Harlem Bush Music - Taifa and Harlem Bush Music - Uhuru are two of the best jazz/funk/soul/fusion albums you’ll ever hear. According to the liner notes of the reissue (which compiles both LPs on one CD, albeit minus one track), the two albums were originally conceived as a single double LP. That’s easy to believe considering that, these days, it’s difficult to tell which song belongs to which album. This music is all part of the same impulse — heavy on percussion and chanting, with Bartz and Bey frequently echoing each other’s “voice.”

Almost all of the songs are worth hearing, but I narrowed it down to five. “Celestial Blues” is the best known song of the Harlem Bush Music LPs. From time to time, it surfaces on the playlist of adventurous soul DJs. “Rise” is probably my favorite. Bartz’ playing is at its most soulful here. I love the way Bartz and Bey shadow each other note-for-note while Harold White knocks out those funky polyrhythms. “Taifa” is gentle yet powerful, managing to simultaneously sound like a war chant and a lullaby. The aptly-titled “Warriors’ Song” is the heaviest tune of the collection. It begins with a ferocious assault on alto and drums (along with overdubbed percussion) only to be abruptly interrupted for a few pointed words from Bartz:

I say bluntly that you have had a generation of Africans who believe that you can negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. … [But] you can’t negotiate upon freedom nowadays. If something is yours by right, then fight for it or shut up. If you can’t fight for it, then forget it.

Whew. 1971. What else can you say?

The feature track is “People Dance,” not necessarily because it’s better than all the others, but because it’s the track that I remember the most. And also because it serves as a reminder that the Black Arts and Black Power movements weren’t always all about fighting and battling and warring. Sometimes, oftentimes even, it was just about encouraging each other to keep on keeping on. Sometimes it was even about having fun. As Mr. Bey sings:

Brothers and sisters, I want you to know
When you’re feeling you’re in a tight one
You just hang in there and go right on
People come on, I want to see you dance!

Alright, people. You heard the man. Let’s do it. Dance!

—Mtume ya Salaam

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Essence of Life         

The hook on “Celestial Blues” gave us the name for Ahidiana’s short lived musical group, “The Essence of Life.” Ahidiana was our New Orleans-based, pan-African political organization (1971 - 1986). The years 1965 to 1975 were the high point of our struggle. Man, was we in motion! On the move, zooming blackly thru the universe like a comet, red hot, on fire seeking blue (sky and water) and green (earth and nature) tomorrows.

All across the nation
Harlem Bush Music was booming. Coast to coast, Canada to Mexico, this was one of our main musical statements. It had everything: anti-Vietnam war statements, metaphysics, straight up revolutionary fervor, dance&romance, blues, you name it, all three-sixty was up in there and we dug it, embraced it, loved it, learned it, sang it, worked and rested to it.

Harlem Bush Music was music for the militants. And the children of militants. Hence, Mtume, you hear this and something inside (inside me and inside you) smiles.

A couple of quick notes: 1. Andy Bey was more than simply the vocalist. He was also the very capable pianist and a significant composer. 2. There is actually one other album that was significant in this phase of Gary Bartz’s career: I’ve Known Rivers And Other Bodies, which was recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1974. The title cut, based on the Langston Hughes poem was extremely popular with movement activists.

It’s beautiful to hear this music still sounding as fresh and as strong as back in the day.
—Kalamu ya Salaam

posted 30 July 2007

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books

For July 1st through August 31st 2011
 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."

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Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered

the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It

By H. W. Brands

In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar's astonishing rise to become the world's principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar's changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America's economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan's bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt's handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar's dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today. He concludes with a sobering dissection of the 2008 world financial debacle, which exposed the power--and the enormous risks--of the dollar's worldwide reign.  The Economy

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues


1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        

Enjoy!

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 14 December 2011

 

 

 

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Related files: Andy Bey Steady Burning Black