The New Hate of the G.O.P

The Pace Report

Last week both the House and Senate voted on what is deemed as one of the most important legislative measures since President Roosevelt’s Social Security and President Johnson’s Medicare program. In a 219-212 vote, the House Democrats in the last hours voted for President Barack Obama’s highly controversial health care bill that would add coverage to as many as 32 million additional Americans that don’t have or can’t afford the means to pay for it. The bill would allow parents to extend benefits to their children until their 26 years old. Also, allow them to choose the kinds of services and doctors provided they pay into a plan that would be mandatory for all citizens or be fined. The Obama administration has pushed his agenda on reformed medical care throughout his presidential campaign until last Sunday to mixed reviews.

Over the last week the dust has finally settled and we see both the G.O.P and the Democrats showing their true colors. As this is the year for mid-term elections for both branches of government; this past week has been a spectacle of divisive and childlike behavior that hasn’t set well with the public. Georgia Representative and civil rights icon John Lewis was on his way to vote for the bill and was spat on and called “nigger” by angry protestors that mobbed the front entrance of the House. Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts was also called a “faggot” and other epithets by tea party protestors both on the day of the vote and throughout the week via voicemail messages and letters. Congressman John Clyburn(SC) was faxed a picture of a noose and the incident is currently under investigation. Even Republican Senator Eric Cantor’s window was shot out by a protestor at his campaign office last week warranting the CIA and Capitol police to increase their presence to these high ranking elected officials.

The war of words by politicians and conservative media pundits like Senator John Bohner who at last week’s session hailed the bill as “Armageddon” and “will destroy private businesses and the working class!” Or, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh who stated on last Monday’s radio show: “we’ve gotta get these bastards out of Washington,” has added to the strain and negativity that’s keeping this country from moving forward. Anytime you cut the propane line of a congressman’s house because you disagree with someone’s political or religious views is taking measures to the extreme. Again, the right has taken fear, racism and “terrorist-like” actions to continue to divide and conquer as the country moves to have socialized medical care for millions of Americans that can’t afford this service. Yet, when the president continued to ask the G.O.P to bring some ideas to the table, Obama added some of their measures and they still voted no! Not one Republican vote.

It’s also interesting how the Tea Baggers have made a name for themselves for trying to sabotage the public with misinformation and blatant lies about the whole medical program. This was evident when Sarah Palin made those outlandish statements last summer that “President Obama added death panel” in his health plan. Also, how this group were also the creators and extremely vocal on the “birthers” debacle where they wanted to oust the President for not being a legal citizen. The Tea Baggers have been key in Senator  Scott Brown’s landslide victory in the late Ted Kennedy’s vacant seat as well as raising close to a million dollars on-line to help oust Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi just a couple of days after the House voted on the health care bill.

With all of the negative press and declining numbers for returning Congressman and Senators on both sides of the coin, this year’s election proves to be a tough year for them. According to a USA Today poll conducted recently, “sixty-nine percent of the American people are dissatisfied with the way their congressional leaders are handling business in Washington.” A CNN Poll stated that “sixty-two percent of the representatives would probably not get re-elected.”  It doesn’t stop there. Arizona Senator John McCain on Thursday brought his former 2008 Vice-President nominee Sarah Palin to a campaign rally in Tucson. The two have been at odds since the election and proves that McCain needed the former governor, who’s star power for the G.O.P is also diminishing, to boost his struggling numbers.

What the media hasn’t focused on since the bill has passed is this country is still sitting at 9.7% unemployment rate that continues to remain steady. Home mortgages are continuing to default a skyrocketing rate leaving the actual home rates to plummet. And we have a war still out of control in Iraq that’s seen a jump in fatalities in the last five months. A lot of the US’s business remains left undone and both sides are acting like kindergartners. This past week we’ve seen the real G.O.P and Tea Baggers show their colors. Their actions take this country back to the 1950’s and 60’s when blacks were fighting for basic civil rights. When African-Americans were beat and spit on for peaceful sit-ins and civil rights marches. When Congressman Frank and Lewis chose to vote based on their convictions, they were treated like those tens of thousands of people that helped fight for our human rights over 50 years ago. Last week was just the beginning of what the media and American is about to endure over the next seven months.

My biggest gripe is that I don’t see my generation stepping up to the plate in bringing change in Washington. I live in Harlem and feel Representative Charlie Rangle’s time is up. He’s been in office to long and hasn’t really connected to the “new Harlem” that exists. Plus, his ethics and character stemming from his tax problems have tainted his reputation as a defender of the people. The same with the old political machine that’s held this country back for so many years. The days of the old Kennedy, Lott, Rangle, McCain, Dodd machine and so many others have lost touch with those working class people who are about to lose their homes. The college graduate who’s working security because he or she can’t find a job in their area of study due to the shortage of jobs in the marketplace. In 2010 when jobs are scarce and the middle-class is dwindling, why wouldn’t you want to fix or attempt to fix America’s biggest nightmare? Medical coverage is a major necessity and this current administration took “the bulls by the horn” in trying to move this country forward on this issue. Something the past administrations kept patching up. For once laws will restrict the insurance companies for dumping coverage for those who’ve paid into a program that their entitled to. This new medical plan will open the floodgates on fair competition for all HMO’s and PPO’s and allow people to choose the kinds of medical plans at their expense.

Last week the signs were clear; America’s on the cusp of a drastic way we deal with medical care. But biggest picture is this country still has a race problem. A war of class and politics was let out of the bag by the Tea Baggers and the G.O.P.  This is an issue that we as a people need to address before things get way out. Sending faxes of nooses and splitting propane lines to our elected officials is frightening and seems the country has resorted to the racist and terrorist ways used during the days of Reconstruction, Jim Crow and the civil rights movement. Unlike the change of desegregation and imposed civil rights laws passed by both the House and Senate, this change of health care is something everyone must get used to and deal with. Again, this ignorant phase in America too shall pass.

The Revolution Will Be Televised,

Brian Pace

The Pace Report

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Roy Haynes: “Keeper of the Flame”

Last week NEA Jazz Master and jazz music icon Roy Hayes turned 85 years old. Roy celebrated with friends and family to a week of sold-out performances at the famed Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City. Opening night proved to be a real hoot with comedian and activist Bill Cosby as the emcee of the evening. Cosby not only made the fans laugh, but shed some light on the genius of Hayes’s artistry and impact on jazz music. Not only is he a dear friend of Hayes, Cosby added his deep appreciation for the music which added to the night’s performance and celebration. He referred to his playing style as “snap crackle!” Meaning, he used the cymbals for effect, changing the unique rhythmic approach.

To really understand and appreciate the legacy of Roy Haynes; you must realize that he’s one of the last of a few great drummers in jazz music. The late Thelonious Monk once described Haynes playing like “an eight ball right in the side pocket.” In his 60 years of playing jazz, he was one of the most requested sidemen and contributed to some of the greatest recordings in the business.

Roy Owen Haynes was born on March 13th, 1925 in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He taught himself to play the drums at an early age. His idols at the “kit’ were Jo Jones, Sid Catlett and Chick Webb. His older brother Doug played the trumpet. While Doug studied at the New England Conservatory, he introduced Roy to his hero Jo Jones. “My brother was the one who kept inspiring me to pursue music and to play the drums. Meeting Jo was like a dream come true! Watching him play was the real reason I had to play the drums.” Although he played in school, he ventured off to the clubs in Boston and began playing professionally at 17 with guitarist Tom Brown. This was around the early to mid-1940’s when the big bands ruled the dance halls and radio. In 1945 he joined bandleader’s Luis Russell band. It was also the time he moved to Harlem, New York and endured the heavy music mecca that it had become. At the end of 1947 Haynes left Russell and joined saxophonist Lester Young’s band.

His first major breakout was when he joined and played with the legendary Charlie Parker. In fact, he played on opening night of Birdland with Parker in which Hayes was the master of ceremonies of the 60th Anniversary last December. From Parker, he later became a well seasoned and in-demand drummer backing Miles Davis, Bud Powell, John Coltrane, Lennie Tristano, Kenny Burrell, Stan Getz, and Sarah Vaughan.

Most drummers were and are considered “time-keepers,” but Haynes was in a different league. His style was also ideal and most comfortable backing vocalists like Sarah Vaughan and Lambert, Hendricks & Ross.

Throughout his career he’s been honored and received many awards like the Living National Treasures of Jazz from the Museum of American History; an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Berklee College of Music; induction into the International Academy of Jazz Hall of Fame (University of Pittsburgh); the French Chevalier des l’Ordres Artes et des Lettres; endless Down Beat polls; and his 1995 induction to the National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Masters class.

At 85, Haynes and his Fountain of Youth Band are one of most requested and booked units at jazz festivals all over the world. Members like saxophonist Jaleel Shaw, bassist David Wong and pianist Martin Bejerano have enhanced his playing and continue to keep the legend in tact. His performance on Wednesday night featured Grammy-Award winning trumpeter Roy Hargrove. Both Shaw and Hargrove were on point. Their solos and musicianship blended perfectly and was the icing of the entire birthday celebration.

Drummer Ben Riley, who replaced Haynes after he left Thelonious Monk, was present and gave Roy a big hug after his first set. Riley recalls first meeting Haynes. “Man…he was so serious! Roy brought another sound to the drums and jazz that can’t be duplicated. I was going to be a hard act to follow after replacing Haynes.”

It was really nice to see Roy after his set. He hugged and shook all of his fans hands and signed autographs. For a guy who hadn’t played the drums in three months, you’d never suspect it on opening night. He played as if his life depended on it and didn’t miss a beat.

Congratulations Roy on your many accomplishments and giving the world your talents and presence. Roy, continue to live life to the fullest and keep that undying loving spirit that many have continued to respect and admire about you throughout the years.

The Revolution Will Be Televised,

Brian Pace

The Pace Report

http://www.thepacereport.com

thepacereport@yahoo.com

"Fountain of Youth"

Community Sing with Take 6

The Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall hosts a series of free concerts held in all five boroughs as part of their “Community Sing” program. These events are part of Carnegie Hall’s lifetime commitment in bringing music education and exposing diverse music styles and artists to the community. Some of the events take place at Carnegie Hall as well as schools and other venues in New York City. The Weill Music Institute has been instrumental in creating music education and community programs like “Community Sing” making music more accessible so it continues to thrive where schools are diminishing their arts and music programs. The institute fuses all music genres which includes jazz, soul, gospel, classical, and world music. All of the events are free or inexpensive and also takes live music to prisons, shelters, hospitals, and senior citizens homes and facilities.

Take 6, the a cappella vocal group, entertained music fans at The Apollo Theater in historic Harlem, New York, with their authentic blend of spirituals and gospel music to a packed house. This “Community Sing” event was free and sponsored by Target. This sextet features vocalists Mark Kibble, Claude McKnight, Dr. Cedric Dent, David Thomas, Alvin Chea, and Joey Kibble. The group has made an impact on the music scene for 23 years and has used music as a ministry to reaching the word of God to music fans all over the world.

At a time where most gospel singers have made their “cross-over” to R & B and the Pop charts to expand their fan base, the men of Take 6 have chosen to keep their ministry and focus on bringing God’s music to fans first and foremost. Alvin Chea, bass vocalist and co-founder of Take 6, explains “the J-word is all but missing in Hollywood. If you look at the Academy Awards last week, not one person acknowledged Jesus as their Lord and personal savior.” The group has and is still blessed to sing and work with some of the greats in the record industry. Artists ranging from Quincy Jones to Jon Hendricks to Brian McKnight. Take 6 could’ve made millions singing secular music, but their love for Christ has kept them current in a time where the industry continues to perpetuate negativity where gospel music is becoming like BET or “mainstream.”

The group was started in the fall of 1980 by vocalist Claude McKnight while attending Oakwood College, a private Seventh-Day Adventist university located in Huntsville, Alabama. McKnight’s Gentleman’s Estate Quartet was one of many a cappella groups on campus. Before one of the groups performance, vocalist Mark Kibble heard them and joined adding a fifth part that evening. Both Mark and future member Mervyn Warren were in a vocal group named “Alliance” and eventually joined what would become Take 6. The sextet  performed at local churches and colleges over the next few years generating a buzz across the country.  Due to certain members leaving the group due to graduation and other commitments, members Alvin Chea, Cedric Dent, and David Thomas became the final fixture of the group. Take 6 has won 10 Grammy Awards, 10 Dove Awards, 1 Soul Train Award and 2 NAACP Image Award nominations.

The Community Sing with Take 6 was a success and audience participation was a major component of the program. The sextet taught members of the audience the basic essentials of harmony, arranging, and working together as a group. One of the events was having people from the audience sing each octave and vocal range of each member of Take 6. The guys taught them their parts in under 10 minutes and had to sing a new song created by someone from the audience. To the group’s surprise, they did well and came away with the experience of singing in six part harmony. Fans also had the opportunity to ask members of Take 6 questions about their lives and on singing. Throughout the evening Take 6 also sang standards and old Negro spirituals like “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” “Windmills of Your Mind,” “Wade in the Water,” “Mary,” and “If We Ever Needed the Lord Before.”

The Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall did a fantastic job in bringing important music programs like this for free to New Yorkers. Partnering with the historic Apollo Theater was right on point in bringing a group like Take 6 back to the black community. Not only did music fans walk away being entertained, they learned about vocalese and the work that goes into a vocal group.

Make sure you continue to support these fine music programs. To find out about the Institute’s upcoming shows, visit them on the world wide web at http://www.carnegiehall.org/exploreandlearn. Or, for more info on The Apollo Theater, visit them on the web at http://www.theapollotheater.org.

The Revolution Will Be Televised,
Brian Pace
The Pace Report
thepacereport@yahoo.com

Education: Can Obama’s New Program Fix The Dropout Rate?

“Dropping out of high school is no longer an option………it’s not just quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country — and this country needs and values the talents of every American.”

– President Barack Obama March 1st, 2010

Last week the President mapped out his plan to tackle the dropout epidemic that’s becoming a major concern. According to a recent White House report “around 1.2 million students drop out of school each year, and only about 70% of entering high-school freshmen go on to graduate.” The report later states “about 2,000 high schools turn out half of all dropouts, and the White House and the Department of Education plans to assist states to identify those schools with graduation rates below 60%.” Apparently some of George W. Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” program has left a bad taste in the education system and many school districts. According to FairTest, the National Center for Fair and Equal Testing states, “thirty percent of the nation’s schools failed to make “adequate yearly progress” in 2005-06. Diverse schools are more likely to ‘fail’ simply because they serve children from more demographic groups, all of which must meet NCLB’s mandates simultaneously.” And this is just the beginning.

The No Child Left Behind Act mandates all schools bring students to perform academically on a proficient level in reading, math and science by 2014. All school districts in every state must provide a detailed account and numbers to the public on obtaining this goal. According to the Department of Education, the numbers haven’t fared to well. The DOE states:

32 percent of 4th graders can read at grade level.

17 percent of 12th graders are proficient in math.

18 percent of 12th graders are proficient in science.

(Taken from http://www.nclb.gov/start/facts/index.html No Child Left Behind and

http://www.nclb.gov/next/stats/index.html from the Department of Education)

On February 23rd, 2010, Central Falls High School in Providence, Rhode Island, laid off all of their staff by state education commissioner Deborah Gist. In a 5 to 2 vote approved by the school board,  Gist ordered the high school to make drastic changes to improve test scores and academic moral. In Providence, children live in poverty higher than anywhere else in the state. The eleventh grade class only passed 7 percent of the math portion and less than half of the school’s students graduate in four years.

These numbers and stories are becoming the norm in the American psyche in our education system.

Teach For America, a non-profit organization that hopes to eliminate educational inequity by enlisting the nation’s most promising future leaders in the effort, held the Men of Color & Education Seminar at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center last week. The mission was to have constructive dialogue on the pursuit to providing quality education, yet maintaining and raising the bar of graduating students. This year’s panelists included Grammy-Award-winning artist/MC/Actor Common, Six-time Grammy Award winner singer John Legend, NBA Basketball player and author Eric Snow, New York State Bronx Representative Ruben Diaz, Jr, Professor and writer Dr. Marc Lamont Hill and NYU Professor of Education Dr. Pedro Noguera.

Wendy Kopp, Founder of Teach For America, in her opening comments stated “the need for quality teachers are still in high demand.” She later added, “without a organized and qualified teaching staff and underfunded budgets, the classroom becomes larger and the need for individual interaction with students become lost.”

Part of President Obama’s comments and vision is on point. Although, some of the issues of a child’s performance are way beyond the classroom. The single parent debacle plays a role in some cases. Sometimes a parent may not be present nor have the time to do homework required to pass or study adequately. Some students may have learning disabilities which require extra tutoring and nurturing of child’s growth in the area they lack. The problem is NCLB isn’t working and incidents like the school in Providence are taking root in other cities across the country.

The audience raised similar questions on how to get their children interested in reading. Reading test scores have me a bit worried. If 32 percent of 4th graders are reading at only grade level, then we already have a problem. I believe students should attend school year round like their other counterparts in other countries around the world. Anytime you allow students to have close to four months off during the summer, a week off during fall break, two weeks off during Christmas break, a week for winter break, and week for spring break; then that’s part of the problem. If a school system gives students standardized tests and teachers cram the material before the test, then that’s not teaching, it’s forcing a child to just get by and make the bare minimum to make the score. According to Dr. Pedro Noguera, Professor of Education at NYU,  “school systems are going to continue to fail if students don’t stay current with academic studies year round. The summer is when students need the most education because if you don’t read or write, then you’ll lose all of your cognitive and comprehension skills. That’s why the first three weeks of school are the hardest after summer vacation, because teachers have to retrain their students on developing a schedule and proper study skills.” With all the vacation time and increased classroom sizes, students are getting the bad end of the deal.

Dr. Marc Lamont Hill also pointed out “children need more than PSP’s and Play Stations” to ground this younger generation. “The obesity rate and lack of reading comprehension is due to the lack of parental involvement.” The First Lady, Michelle Obama, just started her “Let’s Move” program to combat the obesity problem hitting all racial and economic backgrounds. Dr. Hill defended Mrs. Obama’s program, but felt parents let the games control their lives, often seeing a downward spiral in academics and social skills.

“When kids drop out at 8th and 9th grade because they feel inadequate because they can’t read or feel they’ve not been prepared for the real world at 13 and 14 years old, then we have a serious problem. The Play Station has been a substitute for reading, writing, and social skills leaving the child addicted to poor study habits and lack of interest for academics.”

By the end of the evening, the panelists, along with the parents and educators, believe  parental involvement was key to establishing an interest in keeping kids motivated and increasing their success in school. Also, holding the teachers and the school system accountable for keeping on the rigors of maintaining the school’s standardized tests.

According to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, The Urban Prep Academy for Young Men’s Senior 2010 class will all attend college upon graduation. “Chicago’s only public all-male, all-African-American high school has been accepted to four-year colleges. At last count, the 107 seniors had earned spots at 72 schools across the nation. Mayor Richard Daley and Chicago Public Schools chief Ron Huberman surprised students at an all-school assembly at Urban Prep Academy for Young Men in Englewood this morning to congratulate them. It’s the first graduating class at Urban Prep since it opened its doors in 2006.” The academy is located on the city’s south side, known for it’s serious gang activity and black on black crime. The Urban Prep’s success rate is due to the strict dress code and heavy academic schedule students must achieve to graduate. “The school offers an extended day–170,000 more minutes over four years compared to its counterparts across the city–and more than double the number of English credits usually needed to graduate.” Again, under the current economic funding and lack of test results, schools like this can still perform and produce the next class of leaders. The question is, who’s gonna take the lead?

The Revolution Will Be Televised,

Brian Pace

The Pace Report

http://www.thepacereport.com

thepacereport@yahoo.com

Joe Cuba: Father of Latin Boogaloo”

Remembering the Father of the Latin Boogaloo

Last week Fania Records had a record release party for the new Joe Cuba compilation “El Alcade Del Barrio,” featuring all of Cuba’s classics over the last 30 years. Joe’s legacy is important because the music scene changed once again during the 1960’s. Folk, Jazz, Soul, Country and Latin and Salsa music reigned supreme on AM radio. The Top 40 format was popular and you’d likely hear a Leslie Gore record right after a Temptations record. This format allowed disc jockey’s to play music that was popular by the people, not consultants programming the music like we have to today.

During the 1960’s East Harlem was undergoing a major change in Latin music. At the time, Latin music was inundated with the traditional orchestras with lush arrangements. A younger generation of Latino and Puerto Rican musicians and music fans were listening to music of the streets. The Temps, Cannonball Adderley, James Brown; yet listening to the older generation of Latin music. Joe Cuba changed how the music sounded and gave the world a style that’s still part of contemporary Latin music. With him blending the bilingual elements of his culture and the sounds of popular American music, the birth of the Boogaloo was born. Both black and white records buyers took to the new music trend and was explosive on New York radio, as well as the dance floors. Cuba is hailed as the “Father of Latin Boogaloo” and was responsible for making Latin music contemporary during the times.

Joe Cuba was born Gilberto Calderon on April 22, 1931, in Spanish Harlem, New York City. His parents migrated from Puerto Rico in the early 1920’s. Both he and his brother were separated from their mother and went to live with foster parents in Staten Island after their natural father moved. After a couple of years, his mother remarried and eventually took her sons back. Their stepfather ran a store in East Harlem where both he and his brother would often work. After a leg injury after playing stick ball, he set his eyes on playing music and was taken aback by congo player Sabu Martinez. Calderon learned the congas well and took to playing with musicians like Joe Panama, Sabu, Tommy Berrios, and a young timbales player named Jimmy Sabater. After a falling out with Joe Panama, both he and Berrios formed the Cha Cha Boys. His promoter also changed his name to “Joe Cuba” because he thought the name would have a heavy stage presence. In deed it did. The Joe Cuba Sextet was a major force to be reckoned with. The new sextet consisted of Tommy Berrios on vibes, Nick Jimenez as arranger and pianist, Jules Cordero on bass, and Jimmy Sabater on timbalero and vocals and Willie Torres on vocals.

The Joe Cuba Sextet was to Latin music as Louis Jordan and the Tymphany Five were to Rhythm and Blues. Cuba, like Jordan, took the elements of the big band and lush arrangements, but funked it out with a smaller unit. The sextet played Cha-Cha with an intense backbeat. Records like “Bang Bang” and “El Pito (I’ll Never Go Back to Georgia), ” are not only staples and standards in Latin music, but were the origins of the classic Joe Cuba “Boogaloo” sound. Bobby Marin, Latin music veteran and prominent producer who put the compilation “El Alcade Del Barrio” together states, “Cuba’s mission was to always reach out to his Latino and American music base by adding English lyrics to be appreciated by the Anglo market.” Throughout his career, Cuba performed to sold-out performances at The Apollo Theater, The Hollywood Palladium, Carnegie Hall, and the World’s Fair.

Vocalist Jimmy Sabater was the backbone of Cuba’s sound and band. His vocals, along with his percussion skills and composing, added depth to the sextet. This large sound coming from six guys was just unheard of. Sabater mastered the art of sonero while blending it with salsa. He eventually left and formed his own group, but Cuba would back and produce music for his friend throughout the years.

Producer Bobby Marin explained, “putting this project together took two years and he worked extensively with Cuba up until his untimely death.” Marin later added, “Cuba was so hands-on in re-mastering his music from Fania, Tico, and Secco Records. He was so excited about this project because he was glad to see a whole new generation get exposed to his music.”

Ironically, the project was released last week, a little over a year after he died of a persistent bacterial infection. This latest Fania Records release is one of best compilation recordings of the “Father of Latin Boogaloo.” Cuba’s legacy is thoroughly documented in this two-CD set re-mastered set. His musical vision was what made “Boogaloo” a staple of his art and Latin music today.

To order or to find out more on Fania Records and Joe Cuba, visit them on the web at http://www.fania.com.

The Revolution Will Be Televised
Brian Pace
The Pace Report
thepacereport@yahoo.com