Revive Da Live: Music Forward in a Maze of Music Madness

The Revive Da Live Big Band kicked off their New York City debut last week as part of this year’s 2010 Care Fusion Jazz Festival scheduled events. Founded by Meghan Stabile while attending Berklee College of Music, Revive Music Group’s mission is to create and produce music based programs where both musicians can fuse and unite both Hip-Hop and Jazz genres to appeal to all ages. Also, provide an educational and legacy series like the Revive Da Live Big Band to keep major elements of jazz alive by keeping the younger generation in tune to the music and it’s importance in modern music.

This year’s show featured the legendary Grammy-Award Winning trumpeter and band leader Nicholas Payton. The show was divided into two parts. The Nicholas Payton Sexxxtet featuring Lawrence Fields on piano, Vicente Archer on bass, Marcus Gilmore on drums, and Daniel Sadownick on percussion opened the set. This unit cooks from beginning to end. Lawrence did a job on the Fender Rhodes and added to the mellow element which allowed him to relax and set the mood for the rest of the evening.

The big band also backed the tap dancing troupe The Tap Messengers to a rousing standing ovation. Trumpeter Nicholas Payton and vocalist Somi sang a duet together accompanied by the Sexxxtet and members of the big band.

Musician Igmar Thomas deserves a lot of credit for playing and directing the Revive Da Live Big Band. Payton’s band backed the big band and he also played some stirring solos. At the end of the evening the audience was treated to the lyrical stylings of MC Talib Kweli. Both he and Nicholas with the big band created magic that could only be hailed as organic and entertaining.

Megan Stabile and her vision of creating innovative Hip-Hop and Jazz shows is needed at a time when real music as taken a turn for the worse. Programs like this prove that both genres don’t have to performed in the grunge “rap” venues or the “stuffy” concert halls to appeal to the masses. Plus, most of Revive Music Groups shows won’t break your wallet book.

It’s events like these that will help jazz music reach to the younger audiences. It’s too bad that the jazz police can’t realize that good music shouldn’t and mustn’t be confined to the traditional trio, quartet, and sextets. Revive Da Live and Revive Music Groups’s vision is changing that. And for artists like Nicholas Payton, Talib Kweli, and Somi; to Patience Higgins and Frank Lacy to reach out to a set like this, speaks volumes of where this music is going.

The Revolution Will Be Televised,

Brian Pace

The Pace Report


Larry Graham on Larry Graham

Larry Graham is truly a major icon in the world of music. He’s the innovator of the “Thumpin’ and Pluckin” style, which is what musicians call the slapping technique. Graham’s innovative style has influenced three generations of musicians ranging from Prince, Stanley Clarke, Bootsie Collins, Flea, Victor Wooten and Marcus Miller. He’s a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member with the group Sly and the Family Stone. Both he and drummer Greg Errico created the unique and authentic group sound that changed both rock and soul to the masses.

Born on August 14th, 1946 in Beaumont, Texas, his mother was a musician and played and traveled all over the country. Raised by his grandmother, he move to Oakland where he used to sing Doo-Wop in groups he created as a teenager. He also developed into to a musician by playing in Mom’s trio where Graham dabbled in playing guitar. Due to circumstances beyond his control, one night he was without a organ because of technical difficulties; he ended up renting a bass because he depended on the bottom of the organ sound. From that moment on, Larry developed his unique bass style.

On a suggestion from a listener of Sly Stone’s radio show, someone recommended he check out Larry’s bass playing. This the same time during the last 1960’s when Top 40, Rock, Folk, and Soul music dominated the radio and popular culture. Sly was looking to put together a band of many firsts. One, hire musicians that transcended both race and gender bounds. Finally, bring the masses to it’s knees with feel good music with tones of social messages similar to Bob Dylan, Odetta, and Curtis Mayfield. Sly and the Family Stone would dominate the radio, stadiums, and change how music was played and produced.

Graham and drummer Greg Ericco brought a funk and rhythm that was unparalleled in music. He played on the monumental records “Stand,” “Hot Fun In The Summertime,” “Life,” and “Everyday People.”

I had the wonderful opportunity to break bread with Larry this week before his performance at B.B. King this week. Both he and his wife Tina are the most genuine and humble people you ever want to meet. In my 30 minutes with him, I can see that his strong faith in Christ and his focus has been the gist of Larry’s success. Musically, he developed the gift that he received, which was music, and transformed the whole vernacular of how musicians play and produce their music.

Over the years he’s been blessed to record and perform with the likes of Hot Chocolate, Chaka Khan, and Betty Davis. He’s also formed both a personal and mentor relationship with artist Prince, who guest performed at the end of his show.

One of the things I’ve always admired about him and his efforts while a member of Sly and the Family Stone; was how the group was a hodgepodge of races that brought people together during a time when the country was at unrest. The older music fans that attended Larry’s performance were quite animated when he played a medley of Sly’s classic hits. It seems those songs, whether your black or white, young or old, still resonate messages of both positivity and raising the awareness of the social injustices that still occur even today. Even when Larry formed Graham Central Station during the mid-1970’s, he still carried out the Funk as well as social issues in his music.

Larry’s musical direction changed once again during the early 1980’s when he went from one of the world’s finest funk players to soul balladeer. In 1980, he recorded and produced a “A One and A Million You,” which became a million seller and was a staple on both the adult contemporary and R & B charts. I can even recall a lot of couples were married to his song. As a teenager, Larry was a avid fan of guitarists as well as the vocal stylings of Doo-Wop during the 1950’s. He credits Frankie Lymon as one of his musical influences. He also had to sing while performing with his mother’s trio. So, when Larry recorded “A One in A Million You” his career came full-circle from where he began as a vocalist and guitarist.

Larry’s about to release a live DVD and CD of his live performance and just released his new website Currently he’s on the road and will be coming to a city near you.

Revolution Will Be Televised,

Brian Pace

The Pace Report

The Hate Hate Relationship Between Obama, BP, and the Public at Large…

According to the New York Times, there has been a grave issue of the amount of oil that has, and is seeping into the Gulf of Mexico. “The new estimate is 25,000 to 30,000 barrels of oil a day. That range, still preliminary, is far above the previous estimate of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day.” (New Estimates Double Rate of Oil Flowing Into Gulf, June 10, 2010) As I see it, both the Obama administration and BP have been asleep at the wheel in this major environmental disaster. Yet, I’m amazed at the lack of fear, or fear President Obama has presented now that we’ve past the 50 day mark. Last Friday, Coast Guard Rear Admiral James Watson stated: “you indicate that some of the systems you have planned to deploy may take a month or more to bring online.” He later added, “every effort must be expended to speed up the process.” The Coast Guard demanded BP 48 hours to develop a plan to contain the runaway Deepwater Horizon well that has devastated the entire coast. Now that the gulf has an outbreak of endangered wildlife and oil tainted beaches and wetlands, BP has been extremely belligerent in paying people and efforts to restore what they’ve been negligently caused.

What really disturbs me about this disaster is that it took almost two months for both President Obama to meet with a representative from BP. What’s even more disgraceful about the meeting last week was BP didn’t send their CEO Tony Hayward, they sent BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg. Remember, Hayward told the world that “he’d wish he could get his life back” at a press conference he held early last month. This week the President will visit the Gulf Coast this week and address the American people on Tuesday evening. I believe this address will help begin the Obama administration’s public relations nightmare to help restore the residents and the American people that this matter must be resolved. Yes, the oval office is again under the spotlight due to the weak congressional hearings that took place over a month ago when BP, Transocean, and Halliburton pointed the fingers at one another while yet dodging the blame for the massive explosion. Obama, as of recently, just began getting tough, yet still no action has been made in restoring the lives of the residents down south. While there’s upwards of 30,000 barrels a day still pouring in the Gulf; nothing has been done to retrieve the old blowout preventer still sitting underneath the Gulf Coast. Without this, a proper investigation can’t begin so proper action and legal matters can be implemented. Also, no one is really liking the idea that even though the Coast Guard has given BP 48 hours to come up with a plan B, it looks like it’ll be the end of August before they can finally cap off the leak. By this time, not only will the ecosystem be completely damaged, but life for the fisherman, tourists, and residents will never be the same at BP’s expense.

This has been hailed as the worst environmental disaster in American history. About eight to nine times the size of the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster. The oil has effected the gulf states including Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and is expected to hit the eastern seaboard sometime in early July.

President Obama has had a “nonchalant” attitude about this disaster and has many talking about his management style and how his administration has and is handling this. On the other hand, BP seems to have been given a slap on the wrist and seems to have presented the public and the Obama administration a mirage of smoking mirrors. Whether its the misinformation and lies about the Deepwater Horizon, amounts of oil still being seeped into the gulf, or just how residents and city officials have had to go through hell to get them to organize and set-up clean-up efforts, both BP and the US have been “asleep at the wheel.”

I understand that this shouldn’t come out of our dollars, but the way all three companies dodged the bullet in Washington a month ago, we should’ve stepped in and had BP pay the taxpayers back our money similar to the bank and automotive bailouts. During the three week mark of this catastrophe, the EPA and the Obama administration should’ve held Transocean, Halliburton, and BP accountable and demanded that this be resolved or face stiff fines. I haven’t even addressed the financial compensation and the emotional distress of the family members that lost their love ones on the Deepwater Horizon. It’s about time for Obama and BP man up and seriously address this issue. The American people have given up on BP to the point where their stock has plummeted to almost 50 percent of their value and customers are boycotting their product. Even voters have started looking at Obama in the way he needs to force BP to resolve this matter. Has many see this, BP hasn’t done enough in a crisis that’s killing off our wildlife and bringing back a livelihood that won’t ever be replaced on the Gulf Coast. It’s time for both the Obama administration, Congress, and BP to hold up their ends of the deal and address the matter at hand, not sit back and continue to watch from afar.

Revolution Will Be Televised,

Brian Pace

The Pace Report