Big Daddy Kane & Rakim
Thursday 10/08
Big Daddy Kane & Rakim @ The Howard Theatre
$29.50 / $35
Big Daddy Kane On September 10th, 1968, Bed Stuy, Brooklyn gave birth to one of hip hop's most lyrical, diverse, innovative, and trendsetting MCs. He is known by many attributes - Dark Gable, Black Caesar, and King Asiatic Nobody's Equal - but he is known to the world as Big Daddy Kane. This baritone-voiced, stylishly dressed MC was the first one to bring the "playa" element to hip hop, and along with Bobby Brown and Michael Jordan, he put dark skin back on the map. Kane was the first rapper to ever hold not one, but two sold-out shows at the world-famous Apollo Theater for women only. In the words of the late Big Pun, Kane is "not only a playa, he just crush a lot" - a reference to his rapid-fire, metaphoric battle rap style. Kane's influences are Muhammed Ali, Marvin Gaye, and his rap hero Grand Master Caz of the Cold Crush Brothers, but once dancers Scoob Lover and Scrap Lover join him on the stage, you can clearly see the James Brown and the Famous Flames influences as well. With several Gold albums to his credit, Kane has enjoyed a long career, including the releases Long Live The Kane ("Ain't No Half Steppin'" and "Raw"), It's A Big Daddy Thing ("Smooth Operator," "Warm It Up, Kane," and "I Get The Job Done"), and Taste Of Chocolate ("Hard Being The Kane" and "All Of Me," a duet with the late legendary Barry White). As a powerful figure in the rap game, he has also collaborated with many artists, including Public Enemy, Ice Cube, Heavy D, Patti LaBelle, and Quincy Jones. All of these accomplishments combine with a Grammy Award to make Kane a true hip hop legend. Rakim In 1986, Rakim started to work with New York-based producer-DJ Eric B. The duo—known as Eric B & Rakim—is widely regarded as among the most influential and groundbreaking of hip-hop groups, due in no small part to Rakim's technical abilities. The duo’s first single, "Eric B. Is President" was a success and got the duo a contract with the fledgling Island Records sub-label 4th & B'way. The duo’s next single, the smash “I Know You Got Soul,” sparked early debate on the legality of unauthorized, uncredited sampling when James Brown sued to prevent the duo's use of a fragment of his music. It also established Brown's back catalog as a hip musical mining ground for a new generation of hip-hop programmers. Their first full album, Paid In Full, was released in 1987. causing a stir in the hip-hop music world due to its novel sound, approach, and subject matter. Rakim pioneered a practice previously unknown to hip-hop called internal rhyming. Already an important aspect of traditional poetry, where rhymes could be found throughout the bar of a lyric which added to the rhythmic complexity of the song: "I keep the mic at Fahrenheit, freeze MCs, make 'em colder/The listeners system is kicking like solar/As I memorize, advertise like a poet/Keep it goin', when I'm flowin' smooth enough, you know it's rough." Instead of two rhyming syllables within two lines at the end of the lines, as we would find in the older hip-hop style displayed above, we have 18 rhyming syllables in just four lines. Rakim also introduced a lyrical technique known as cliffhanging and popularized the use of metaphors with multiple meanings. His songs were the first to really impart hip-hop music lyrics with a serious poetic device sensibility. Eric B & Rakim went on to produce three more successful albums, all now considered hip hop standards. Prior to Rakim, hip-hop music lyricism was usually rather simple from a structural standpoint and the ideas it expressed were easy and direct. Many hip-hop artists (both underground and mainstream) acknowledge a huge debt to Rakim's innovative style. He is given credit for popularizing the heavy use of internal rhymes in hip-hop—rhymes that are not necessary to the overall rhyme scheme of the verse, but occur between the endpoints of lines and stanzas, serving to increase the alliteration, assonance, and emphasis of the rhyme. He is also credited for the jazzy, heavily stylistic, seemingly effortless delivery of his lyrical content.
DECLASSIFIED: Drop the Needle featuring Mason Bates & Anne Akiko Meyers with the National Symphony Orchestra
Friday 04/15
DECLASSIFIED: Drop the Needle featuring Mason Bates & Anne Akiko Meyers with the National Symphony Orchestra @ Kennedy Center Concert Hall
Says the New York Times: American violinist Anne Akiko Meyers brings "playing that flows from the heart." As the top-selling instrumentalist on Billboard's 2014 classical charts, she performs an innovative violin concerto by new Kennedy Center Composer-in-Residence Mason Bates, "whose cheerful disregard for stylistic boundaries is a godsend" (San Francisco Chronicle). Meyers performed and recorded the world premiere of Bates's acclaimed concerto in 2012. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ABOUT DECLASSIFIED: FRIDAYS AT 9 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The secret is out! Some of the NSO's Friday night programs are taking on a whole new vibe with a fresh mix of sound and vision plus exciting pre- and post-concert activities, all at a great price. For the 2015–2016 season, the NSO has "unlocked" some of its standard Friday programs and opened them up to fresh concepts in concert-going with DECLASSIFIED: Fridays at 9. Not your typical Concert Hall experience, these late evenings will include an eclectic mix of classic and modern sounds, special guest artists, dynamic multimedia, audience interaction, and pre- and/or post-performance activities. They'll begin at 9 p.m. (an hour later than usual) and last 60–75 minutes (shorter than a typical program), all at a great price for making memorable nights out with a date or a group of friends! If you heard about the NSO's concert at D.C.'s Echostage in January 2015, you'll know exactly what to expect at these new concerts: - Come as you are: straight from work, in jeans, or whatever suits your fancy. Be ready to move! - Arrive early and/or stay after the concert for added fun to be announced--each night will be a different experience. - Grab drinks or snacks anytime and bring them back into the Concert Hall. - Most importantly, open your mind to a music experience where anything can happen! Performance Timing: Approximately 85 minutes, with no intermission
John Scofield & Jon Cleary Duo
Friday 12/04
John Scofield & Jon Cleary Duo @ The Howard Theatre
$30 / $35
John Scofield Aside from being one of the principal innovators of modern jazz guitar, JOHN SCOFIELD is a creative artist of an even rarer sort: a stylistic chameleon who has forged a consistent, rock-solid aesthetic identity. An artist with fan bases in many camps and forty albums to his credit, he has expressed himself in the vernacular of bebop, blues, jazz-funk, organ jazz, acoustic chamber jazz, electronically tinged groove music and orchestral ensembles with ease and enthusiasm. His versatility and technical mastery won him early sideman gigs with Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker and Cobham/Duke among many. Since that time he remains firmly in the foreground of jazz consciousness as a player and composer, prominently leading his own groups in the international Jazz scene, his own albums (many already classics) including collaborations with many contemporary favorites like Pat Metheny, Steve Swallow, Charlie Haden, Eddie Harris, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Bill Frisell, Brad Mehldau, Mavis Staples, Government Mule, Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano and Phil Lesh. He’s played and recorded with Tony Williams, Jim Hall, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Dave Holland, among many jazz legends. Regardless of the stylistic setting, his distinct guitar sound and compositions are unmistakably Scofieldesque, always coupled with an improvisational excellence and dedicated to the finest in jazz tradition. Jon Cleary Jon Cleary is known for his salty-sweet voice, masterful piano skills, and a knack for coupling infectious grooves with melodic hooks and sharp lyrics. Born in Kent, England in 1964, Cleary steeped in the sounds of American roots music as a child via New Orleans funk and R&B 45s. Venturing to the Crescent City at 17, he quickly earned the respect of local music community. He spent the '80s gigging as a sideman and bandleader with a rotating cast of New Orleans' best including members of funk forefathers the Meters and delta-bluesman John Mooney. He has balanced the last few years with an international fan base as a member of Bonnie Raitt's group and his own group (with album of the same name) Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen. Cleary has the self-made Moonburn (Virgin 1999), and his ode to Big Easy R&B - Alligator Lips and Dirty Rice (Ace 1994). All of Jon's talents are manifest on Pin Your Spin, Basin Street Records produced by John Porter. His latest Occapella was released in 2012.