My American Experience: My Reality Pt.1



As a child, I heard James Brown (in my aunt’s house), Marvin Gaye, the Temptations and Four Tops, Gladys Knight. Driving with Daddy I heard Doo Wop and Soul. In my aunt’s house I heard James, Funkadelic, The Bar- Kays, Earth Wind and Fire,The Jacksons
In my teens, my sister Donna introduced me to health food, herbal tea and yogurt…her boyfriend Wayne introduced me to Jazz, Spyro Gyra, Earl Klugh and George Benson to name a few. He also introduced to designer colognes, some of which I still where today. During Block parties I always heard and saw live music being played by local bands. By my mid-teens block parties had been taking over by local Disc Jockeys (Djs) These guys weren’t on the radio, they took their stereos from home to the street and kept the dancing going ALL night long. The Master of Ceremony’s (M.C) was NOT the star of the party, in fact he/she didn’t exist yet…it wasn’t long before the GAP band followed by The Sugar Hill Gang took the park’s music to the radio.
My late teens was singing to girls songs from the Spinners,” I’ll be around”,”Could it be I’m falling in love” etc. By the time I was 19 Hip Hop (Rap music) had made it’s mark on American music…in the mid-80’s I was in my middle 20’s and the west coast exploded with their own style of angry Hip Hop “Gangster Rap” but by this point I was so fed up with the language, empty messages and battle between east and west coast, that I pulled away from Hip Hop and ran to the arms of Rock…

The music of my 20’s was a somewhat delicate balance between the classic rock of Jemi Hendrix, The Doors and the new rock of Bon Jovi, The Police and Prince. Every once and a while I searched for Jazz to cleanse my palate…Chuck Mangione worked wonders for the ears. The movie Mo’ Better Blues opened my ears to new artist like Branford Marsalis and Terence Blanchard. Shorty before the movie as I was sliding away from Prince (now with The New Power Generation) and closer to more Jazz, I discovered this young cat playing swing! by the name of Harry Connick Jr. 

I’d falling in love with an AM radio station that played Frank Sinatra almost all day…I would tune in when I was writing. Jazz still remains to be the only music I can write to. Harry lead to Wynton Marsalis and the two sparked a revolution in my ears. I left all other music behind, save, Sting but eventually even he was left in the wake of the Jazz revolution.  Harry took center stage, I bought everything he made!  But Wynton, was a very close second. 

As I grew, so did my taste grow with me. The 90’s reignited my tasted for country music, with artist like Garth Brooks, which begin in the 80’s with Kenny Rogers, like everybody else back then. I listened to Jazz exclusively until I became a Christian. As a new believer I didn’t know what to buy.  There was this christian bookstore on 43rd St. in Manhattan I used to go to, my method was to buy what looked good. Christian Hip Hop was growing, so naturally I was curious since I’d turned my back on Rap music. After a few hit and misses I settle on The Crossmovement, a group that brought authentic east coast Hip Hop favor, style and sound to the church. I branched off to Rock from there with Third day, Salvador, Newsboys and D.C talk...

Today, my Zune, that’s right I said…Zune! is filled with hundreds of Jazz, Rock, christian Hip Hop and some country music albums. Most times I’m listening to a worship album or Diana Krall and of course Harry.   What’s my point to this long story? In-spite of resent events, I wanted to share a bit of my world. You see, if you saw me on the street where I live, you might want to put in a box. “He lives in the ghetto” there for, I must be into Jay-z or his wife. Wrong! People from my own cultural background might think the same thing. “What’s the name of that song by jay z?” My response is, “I don’t know!” “How can you not know?”…”Do you know that song by Florida Georgia Line “This is how we roll?” To farther make my point, all black people, like white, native, chinese etc. are not the same….

To be continued…

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