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Sunday Jazz Corner with Lalah Hathaway

Lalah Hathaway at Variety Playhouse

The apple does not fall far from the tree.  A few weeks ago we featured the legendary Donny Hathaway on our Sunday Jazz Corner and in it we briefly mentioned his daughter Lalah.  This week it is all about Lalah Hathaway, daughter of the jazz and R&B great Donny Hathaway.  Though she may be under the radar to some, if you do not already know about Lalah, you will know about her soon as she continues to rise at a rapid pace amongst her peers.

Born as Eulaulah Donyll Hathaway, Lalah Hathaway is referred to as the First Daughter of Soul.  She is considered a contemporary R&B and jazz singer.  In a sea of high pitched soprano female pop culture singers, it is so refreshing to hear Lalah Hathaway in the mix.  There is something about her texture and tone in the same context as Sade or Sarah Vaughan and other infectious swooners that just makes you feel good inside.  When you think of pop culture singers these days, you emmediatialy think Beyonce, Rihanna, pop, Hip Hop, soul etc.  But with the Esmaralda Spalding’s and Janelle Monae’s and other newbies quietly making themselves heard, please take note of Lalah Hathaway and check out her music on iTunes.

The first video you will listen to below is  ”Something” by Snarky Puppy featuring Lalah Hathaway.  I was referred to it by a friend and watched blindly, and unprepared.  I started off listening, watching calmly, inquisitively, maybe slightly judgmental, sitting in my chair… watching, waiting… and as it continued I started getting this feeling, this emotion inside of me.  I sat up straight in my chair and tuned everything else out around me.  Now, in one hundred percent concentration mode listening and watching this video in front of me, completely committed with Lalah and her performance I begin talking to my computer screen… next, I am standing, now I’m yelling at my computer, clapping, cheering!!  Alone in my apartment, goose bumps running all through my body up and down my spine I sit back down.  Of course because I’m a man, I did not cry.  Maybe just one tiny tear but I fixed that real quick and like I said, I was alone and nobody was there to see a thing.

I think jazz, gospel, good soul, rock whatever, is supposed to make you, make us feel this way, right?  Sometimes rarely, music can take you there to this place and so when you do feel it and are a part of the art and why music exists in the first place, it is such a great experience.  So ya, that’s kind of what my experience with Lalah was like.  And just remember, nobody cried here!

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People, fellow bloggers, friends, advisors keep telling me to keep these Sunday Jazz Corner Series short and sweet and to the point.  I promise that I will do that next week but I still have more to say today.  What strikes me so internally with Lalah is in her texture and tone and purity similar to the richness of her fathers voice, that just pulls you in.  The first video below (that I was referring to earlier) if you watch you will notice everyone in the studio (the video) reacting in a genuine response of surprise, wonderment, like they are really part of something.  This is Jazz.   This is raw talent.   To be in the presence of god given talent such as this I think is a moment that is rare to capture, for all of us to see and enjoy and experience together is a blessing.  So, the daughter of Donny Hathaway.  I think it is a safe consumption to confirm she may be a little talented.  What did we expect?

Here are two videos below one Live in Harlem with Robert Glasper at Marcus Garvey Park, and  the first one is by Snarky Puppy “Something” featuring a live recording of Lalah Hathaway.  I could have posted 20 more like this but I kept it down to two.  While writing this piece and listening to this music all I could think of was all of the music that we still can look forward to with future recordings of Lalah Hathaway.

P.S. At the 6:12 minute mark of this song does she sing a chord?  I think she sang a chord!!  And I love the drummers reaction, he literally got out of his seat as if to say, what just happened.

Singing with Robert Glasper in Harlem, Live at Marcus Garvey Park in August 2012, a classic Nirvana rock song “Smells Like Teen Spirit ” with a jazz twist. Brilliant.

To see more Sunday Jazz Corner Archives (Billie Holiday, Chet Baker, Sarah Vayghan, Cag Calloway and more…)

Sunday Jazz Corner With Cab Calloway

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Let’s go back in time to a different era and take a look at old Harlem with the sounds of Jazz vocalist Cab Calloway.  Born on December 25, 1907, in Rochester, New York, after a short period in Chicago he moved back to New York and landed a gig performing regularly at Harlem’s famous Cotton Club during the swing era.  In 1931 his song “Minnie the Moocher” became a hit and was considered to be one of the first recordings to ever feature scat singing.

Besides Calloway’s musical act, he also appeared on stage and in films.  During the 1930s and 1940s, he worked in such films as The Big Broadcast (1932), The Singing Kid (1936), and Stormy Weather(1943).  Calloway spent two years in the cast of a revival of the musical Porgy and Bess, beginning in 1952.  He also performed in other stage productions over the years and made more film appearances, most notably in the 1979 movie The Blues Brothers.  During the film, Calloway put on his trademark white tie and tails and performed “Minnie the Moocher”.  Cab Calloway died on November 18, 1994.

He took pride in his part of the Harlem Renaissance and also mentions Sriver’s Row in his songs ”Hard Times (Topsy Turvy)” and “The Ghost of Smokey Joe.”
Click on the photo below for a link to iTunes to hear all of his music.

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Below is a video of Cab Calloway performing his hit “Minnie the Moocher” Live at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.
Also, a video clip from the movie “Stormy Weather” (1943) featuring Cab Calloway and his orchestra performing “Jumpin Jive” which ends with the Nicholas Brothers dancing and struttin’ their stuff.

Sunday Jazz Corner with Nina Simone

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This version of  ”Strange Fruit” by Nina Simone channels what many feel during racial times from years gone by to current controversial issues such as the Trayvon Martin shooting.  See the link below for the lyrics (controversial to many) and songwriters credits.  Billie Holiday’s original version was the popular version of this jazz classic.  It is equally if not better than Nina’s version but this rendition adds such a darkness and extra edgy realness that haunts your awareness.

If you do not already have a collection of Nina Simone’s music, treat yourself and go to iTunes and listen through her incredible career and legacy.  I thought I had almost everything by her, but just downloaded two albums I’d never heard before.

Nina Simone Wikipedia

Strange Fruit Lyrics

This Is How You STOP The Harlem Shake

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This is how you stop the Harlem Shake… LOL.  This is the best one yet by far.  I keep saying I will stop posting, but couldn’t resist.  Thanks jl3sport for sending it to Harlem Condo Life.

Enjoy Harlem!

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See our previous Harlem Shake posts -

How To Do The Harlem Shake – A Brief Tutorial                                                      Harlem re-claims the Harlem Shake
The Harlem Shake from a Business Perspective
John O’s Harlem Shake Down – Rapper responds to the Harlem Shake