Tuesday, February 07, 2006

keys of ‘rock’

can y'all get funky?

When I was in my 8th grade school band I was assigned to compose a short song. I instead jacked a few bars from “Planet Rock” I think I got a B+. Not because my rendition was any good (which it was not) but because most kids refused to play their own compositions in front of everybody. A friend in the band laughed at my ‘tune’ and told me “That sounded like an ‘exercise’” using the term for those mechanical rituals, like musical scales, that a musician does to warm up. I realize now that I was fascinated more with the rhythm than with ‘the tune.’

Houston son and Harlem-world resident, Jason Moran, on the other hand, heard it all… and has the skills to let us hear it all too.

His cover of “Planet Rock,” from his 2002 album ‘Modernistic’ has received plenty of analysis and, I would assume, double-takes. It apparently, became a recurring musical theme in performances, which have been augmented by recorded sounds including “Planet Rock” itself. But more importantly it is augmented by the fact that he knows hip-hop rather than 'learned about it' in an 'academic' sense. His love of this "classic" has led Moran to put versions on other albums.

The fact that Wayne & Wax slid Moran’s version into the “Crunk Genealogy” mix a couple weeks ago (linking Bambaataa’s original to Aphex Twin’s "4") simultaneously with my step-dad mailing ‘Modernistic’ to me, is nearly too much synchronicity for me to handle.

Everybody say, rock it, don't stop it…

Jason Moran – Planet Rock
Jason Moran – Planet Rock Postscript