Cultural Lesson #2  

Posted by Tony Guerrero

In an effort to avoid my blog becoming all about my kids (things are going great with little Nico!), here's my latest cultural lesson - my attempt to share some things I love that you may not have seen or known before.

So, what do Satchmo and Snoop have in common? Read on, McDuff.

The problem with changing music styles over the years hasn't been the actual change - I'm 41 and love a lot of contemporary music - but that young fans of new music often have no concept of what came before, or, more importantly, how what they love is connected to the past.

It'll be no surprise to most of you that I love Louis Armstrong. But you may be surprised to know that whenever a person in a band takes the front of the stage for an improvised instrumental solo (like Jimi Hendrix, or Eddie Van Halen), they owe a direct debt to Louis. He is widely considered to have introduced the idea of a "soloist" to 20th century popular music. Until him, bands played more as an arranged unit, with each part holding relatively equal prominence. His ability as a horn player was such that it would have been impossible for him not to stand out (he was even so loud that he had to play from the far corner of early recording studios, away from the other musicians and the microphones) and he eventually created music that consistently featured 'soloists' instead of the arranged band.

More to the point however is how music styles have always grown out of each other. Consider the old Muddy Waters quote, "The blues had a baby and they called it rock'n'roll." Even today's hip-hop and rap had its origin in music that most 'kids' today would consider corny. The attached video is not an actual "hip hop rap" from Louis Armstrong, but someone's attempt at putting a modern beat behind an old clip of Louis from the 1930's, showing just how connected his rhythms and pacing were to the rhythm and pacing of today's contemporary music. Someday, what is "hip" on the radio today will be considered "corny", but it won't necessarily have disappeared - it will simply be hidden inside whatever evolved from its influence.

Enjoy the clip.

(If all you see is black space, click in the space
and it will take you to the clip on YouTube)

This entry was posted on Friday, April 18, 2008 at Friday, April 18, 2008 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Tony - that was really fun to watch and listen to -- the original RAP artist! And he didn't even introduce Billie Holiday who was in the scene!!!
Thanks for sharing your expertise in these clips. I enjoy your BLOG. Your little boy is cute too! He missed my birthday by 2 days. (and 74 years I might add).

4/20/2008 8:50 AM

Ok, that was TOO cool. People also need to realize how long rap/hip hop was on the streets and in the spoken-word coffee shops, long before it was put onto radio. Props to the legends before us who paved the way. Aaaachaaachaaaa.....

4/21/2008 2:32 PM

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