Spy Jazz

Following the end of World War Two, the US moved into an era of prosperity. Dad went to work each day. Mom stayed home and raised the kids. The kids went to school and in the afternoon they studied and played outside. There were new cars, yearly vacations, weekends away, perhaps some extra money to purchase things such as a lakeside house. A lifestyle that appeared picture perfect.

Yet viewed from the inside there were cracks in the facade. Underneath the smiles and waves, there was a growing deep psychological fear of atomic war. The US and Russia were engaged in a nuclear arms race, each country doing their best to have more armed missiles on hand, targeted at their enemy’s most populated cities, should the other side decide to fire their missiles.

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Joe Strummer’s boots

I fell down a Clash rabbit hole in the Oxfam used book store on Byres road in Glasgow last fall. I came across Pat Gilbert’s Passion is a Fashion, which details “The Real Story of the Clash” over almost 400 pages. A sucker for almost any music documentary or biography, I was eager to dig into the history of the icons of my youth. I’ve been stuck in Clash heavy rotation ever since.

Like many in the genre, Gilbert’s mining through the minutiae of recording contracts and studio sessions may only be for the true aficionado — but his telling of the story of the Clash is eminently readable. Perhaps the most lasting impression is just how young the band was at the time they recorded their greatest work — and how naive they were about the commercial industry that tried to shape them, ultimately contributing to their dissolution and demise.

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Bappi Lahiri the Disco King of India

Bappi Lahiri, also known in India as “The Disco King,” was born in Calcutta, West Bengal in 1952, to Bengali classical singers Aparesh Lahiri and Bansari Lahari. An only child, his parents trained him at the age of 3 to play tabla, later in classical music and Shyama Sangeet, which is a genre of devotional songs dedicated to Hindu goddess Shyama, or Kali. Lahiri is related on his mother’s side to Kishore Kumar, who who was a prominent multifaceted Indian film artist, and S. Mukheerjee, who was a producer of Indian films. Lahiri’s educational musical upbringing enabled him to begin his Bollywood career at the age of 19, directing music for Bengali film Daadu (1972) and composing music for his first Hindi film Nanha Shikari (1973). He became established in Bollywood for music composition and also playback singing for Tahir Husain’s Hindi film Zakhmee (1975). Lahiri went on to work on music for popular films, Chalte Chalte (1976) and Surakksha (1979) propelling him to stardom as the youngest musical director in the shortest duration of time (bappilahiri.com).

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Zines In Stereo Spotlight: Melanie Fey

I first met Melanie many years ago in my hometown of Flagstaff, AZ. She was one of many fellow Navajo teens who were into punk and metal. At the time, there was a huge scene of Native kids in the Southwest who were heavily into these sub-genres of music. Though never explicitly stated, I think we gravitated towards these genres of music because they were very nonconformist, challenged the status quo, and spoke to our similar feelings of being ignored in the United States.

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The Descending Tetrachord Of Doom. It’s Everywhere…

The story of humanity’s international melody of lamentation, which can still be heard in popular music everywhere, starts, as many things do, in ancient Greece.
Greek tragedy didn’t fuck with just major or minor chord progressions like most Western music; this would have been too easy. Pythagorus had his own tuning system for christ’s sake. No — ancient Greeks had their own music theory. Various arrangements of notes, sometimes atonal, could be used by a Greek chorus to gut-wrenching emotional effect. The crowd favorite for a heartfelt lament was dubbed the ‘Dorian’ mode, after the Dorians of classical Greece.

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When Music Decides to Be Funny…

Where do comedy and music meet? It has to be more than just Weird Al Yankovic and Adam Sandler, right? Thankfully, the answer is a giant and resounding YES! Put away your lyrics about lunch ladies and forget that song where white boy tries to rap about being white and nerdy. We’re onto BIGGER and BETTER things in this article. Let’s take a closer look at comedy and music—why they work so well together and way funnier examples of tunes and jokes colliding.

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Janet Reno – Miami Bass and African American Advocate

Janet Reno (July 21, 1938-Nov 7, 2016) was the first woman to serve as US Attorney General (AG) under the Clinton administration. Some key events that occurred under her tenure as AG were: 1) authorizing immigration officers to remove 5-year-old Cuban boy Elian Gonzalez, by gunpoint, from his Cuban-American family to return him to his biological father in Cuba; 2) the FBI seige and subsequent assault on David Koresh’s Branch Davidian compound, resulting in 76 deaths, 25 of which were children; and 3) the capture and convictions of “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, and Oklahoma City terrorists Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols.

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