Monthly Archives: February 2010

Lunch With Lady O : Episode 3 “Fax Reaction”

Watch Nadia talk about faxing her official request as well as respond to some of the haters.


Lost In The Shuffle : Kurt Elling

Anyone one who knows me a little knows I love music and anyone who knows me a lot knows that I breathe Jazz. About 3 years ago working in Barnes & Noble’s music department, I was listening to yet another of their mediocre “smooth jazz” compilations – which were required to play – when a voice came over the speakers that literally stopped me in my tracks. Hold up, I thought, all right Barnes & Noble you did well… with 1 track on a CD, at least. Shooing and ignoring customers, I stood still and let the groove wash over me, my eyes closed and my head bobbing.

After regaining motion, I ran to check the compilation to see whose voice it was that to me sounded like a blend of Stevie Wonder and Bobby Caldwell. That voice was, Kurt Elling. This brother is so smooth and mellow, I thought. Later that night after doing further research, you can imagine my surprise to find out this brother was a white man. He’s soulful and mellow none the less. And that’s not all, he’s also one of the most gifted lyricists and scat-singers I’ve ever heard and a true “hip cat” in the traditional sense (jazz heads stand up).

Elling hales from the Midwest and is one of the few relatively well-known current male jazz singers on the scene. Currently based out of Chicago, where he reportedly packs local night spots. Why this man isn’t more popular with the masses is a complete mystery to me. Another great artist lost in the shuffle…

Tidbits: January 31, 2010, Elling won his first Grammy Award in the category of Best Jazz Vocal Album for the album Dedicated to You: Kurt Elling Sings the Music of Coltrane and Hartman

Kurt Elling is a writer and performer of vocalese, the art of writing and performing words over the recorded improvised solos of jazz artists.

Influences: Mark Murphy, Jon Hendricks, Frank Sinatra

Contemporaries: Cassandra Wilson, Diana Krall

Tracks You Should Hear: Winelight

Performing the classic, Take 5 with Living Legend, Al Jarreau

April in Paris

By Terrence Lathan aka. IBelieveInMuzik

Lunch With Lady O : Episode 2

We know you’ve been waiting in eager anticipation, but here it is EPISODE 2!
Watch as Nadia makes her first call into Harpo Studios.

Stay tuned for Episode 3 hitting you later this week.

Keep watching.

A Letter to Inspiration.

Where are you?
I’m where I always am.
The same place you found me before.
I’m fighting sleep.
I’m out in the open.
Come find me.
Hit me.
Turn all these jumbled thoughts into sweet lines of poetry.
You’ve done it before.
Don’t just pass me by.
You’re getting close now.
Come find me.
I can feel it.
That spark.
That tingle.
Oh so new, yet oh so familiar.
Oh, Come find me.
The haze is lifting.
The fog is not so dense.
Come find me.
Why do you always leave
as soon as the job is done?
I know I can be needy.
But these tools are useless
Without your blueprint.
I’ve tried it without you.
Those are the scattered pieces
along the floor.
So please, Oh please
Come find me.

Lost In The Shuffle : Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown
“Little Miss Rhythm”

“This is the lady, take my word for it, who started it all. Wasn’t for Ruth Brown, there wouldn’t be no Aretha, wouldn’t be nobody. I’m here to tell you this lady is a true legend.” – Stevie Wonder

The Original Queen of R&B?

Little Richard, Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder have all cited her as an influence, but have YOU ever heard of Ruth Brown? Unfortunately, I’d be surprised if you say you have! Before Beyonce, before Mary J. Blige and even before Etta James, the lovely and sassy, Ruth Brown (aka. Miss Rhythm) ruled America’s R&B and pop charts in the 50s. She was one of the first artists signed to Atlantic records and because of her multiple million-selling singles, such as “Teardrops from My Eyes”, “(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean” and “Lucky Lips”, the company was often referred to as, “the house that Ruth built!”

Brown’s career went into decline in the late 1960s, during which she left the industry to start a family and work as a domestic. Yes, you heard right, I said a domestic! She wasn’t receiving any royalties from the company she had helped to build and this lead to a battle between her and Atlantic for many years. Her career resurfaced in the 80s and she is probably best remembered by our generation for her role as “Motormouth Maybelle” in the original version of the John Waters directed cult classic, “Hairspray”. In 1993 she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In researching some of my favorite artists such as Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Janis Joplin, there was one name that repeatedly came up, Ruth Brown. So I wanted to know more and I was left wondering how someone so influential could be so Unsung. Though her records still sell well globally, her name goes virtually unmentioned. Could it be because she chose to fight the company that abused her? Whatever the case, her story unfortunately isn’t unique in the industry. Another great artist lost in the shuffle…

Some follow up research so you’re sure to impress at your local indie music shop:
Tidbit: Ruth Brown is the aunt of Hip Hop Legend, Rakim.
Tracks you should hear: “I Don’t Know,” “5-10-15 hours” and
“Teardrops from My Eyes”
Contemporaries: Sam Cooke, Little Richard, Lavern Baker & Big Maybelle.

By Terrence Lathan aka IBelieveInMuzik

Lunch with Lady O, Part 1

Introducing a brand new segment here on Subjunctif : Lunch with Lady O.

Follow Nadia as she sets out to schedule a lunch date with Oprah.

In “Part 1” she fills you in on the why behind her pursuit.
Each week we’ll follow her trials and her triumphs.

Keep watching.

“Everything Can Happen.”

Sunday night, HBO premiered a new show, “How to Make It in America.”

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the show yet, too busy hustlin’ or your homie with HBO was out of town, it’s available on YouTube until the 20th.
Peep it here.

It features Bryan Greenberg (of “One Tree Hill” fame), relative new comer Victor Rasuk (Lords of Dogtown) and in a supporting role (and what I hope was not just a marketing push), Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi. Say what you want about Cudi, but his team is on point! (Plain Pat, What up!?)
The premise: Follow two young opportunistic New Yorkers & their friends, as they try to make a name for themselves in the NY fashion scene.

Although given fairly positive reviews thus far (lots of B’s and B+’s), the show, theoretically & formulaicly would be hard pressed to fall flat. In terms of public perception, HBO+Entourage Producers = a win. HBO has been killing it lately. Have you been watching?

One of the things that sets this show apart from the others though is its marketing campaign. Big ups to the team
behind this one. It is meticulously designed to reach its target audience.
Yes hipster, you.

Besides being well placed on all the appropriate blogs and web portals, this is the first time I’ve seen a television show marketed with a mixtape. Hosted by DJ Green Lantern and curated by the boy Cudi (of course), it features the show’s theme song, “I Need A Dollar” by Aloe Blacc (It’ll be on your iPod shortly after you finish this post.), which perfectly scores all of your coffee shop business meetings and cross-town paper chases. From Styles P to Duck Sauce, the line-up is sure to appease if not completely whet your highly eclectic aural palette (sorry no obscure 1940s Appalachian folk-rock this go-round).

But this is not, just, a “You should watch this!” post. For me this show represents our reshaped view of The American Dream. It’s “Anything’s possible.” vs. “Everything can happen.” (the show’s tagline). An Obama-era Horatio Alger tale, a “recession-era, empire in decline morality-tale” (NYTimes).

It’s a show about us: every entrepreneur, artist, musician, hustler & “grind-a-holic” (shouts to my girl @E_dub_a_licious) out there. I’ll refrain from launching into my “Habits of Highly Effective Hustlers” essay, for now. But this show definitely is being filed under visual samples and research for the dissertation.

The two main characters, Ben (Greenberg) and Cam (Rasuk), collectively embody what anyone who follows in their footsteps should be: passionate yet pragmatic. I believe this is why I connect with this show. It represents so much of my own personal philosophy and just that spirit of chasing your dreams.

And no we’re not getting paid for the endorsement. If we were, you’d be reading this on our website and not WordPress.

Really I just wanted to share a visual, concrete example of what our manifesto is here. Feels good to know that we’re not the only ones trying to put this message out there. Grind Hard & Prosper.

And for all you visual learners:

Thanks for watching.