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December 06, 1991 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-12-06

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The Michigan Daily- Friday, December 6, 1991 - Page 11

Black Rock Coalition
The History Of Our Future
The term "black rock" is not an
oxymoron. Up until Living Colour
exploded all over MTV a few years
back, it was inconceivable to think
that brothers and sisters could (or
would want to, for that matter)
kick out rock music. Never mind
that James Brown, Little Richard,
Jimi Hendrix, all the way up to
Fishbone and Bad Brains, pioneered
and redefined, the entire genre; rock
'n' roll has always been considered
an exclusive club for long-haired
white boys.
In 1985, Living Colour guitarist
Vernon Reid, Village Voice staff
writer Greg Tate and artist manager
Konda Mason formed the Black
Rock Coalition, an organization
dedicated to supporting black rock-
ers and creating a community for
them to flourish.
On The History Of Our Future, a
compilation album showcasing 10
black rock bands, the key word is di-
versity. Thankfully, this is much
more than just a bunch of Living
Colour wannabe's. The music on
this disc ranges from straight-ahead
metal to cool jazz.
Highlights on The History Of
Our Future are many. ".......
Check!," by the band Blue-Prin, is a
flowing, free-form jazz number
reminiscent of Gil-Scott Heron or
the Last Poets. Dissonant piano
chords crash over African
polyrhythms, while vocalist Yic-
tove drops some real science about
the media warped legacy of Dr.
King. "Many who tolerate him
now/ Abhorred him then ... Martin
* is dead/ So big boys say/ Celebrate
him now/ It's okay." There are even
big, chanted harmonies that you usu-
ally find only on George Clin-
ton/Parliament productions.
Blakasaurus Mex crunch out 24-
7 Spyz/Bad Brains inspired thrash-
metal on "Think Twice." This
slammin' quartet sounds like the
Ice-T prodigy Body Count should.
They utilize the same punk attitude
and hardcore rhythms, but combine
them with a musical virtuosity
missing in Body Count.
"Bluestime in America," by
Michael Hill's Bluesland, is a tradi-

tional jazz song that's nice and
smooth. This mellow track features
some beautiful sax playing by one
Roger Byan.
The band Royal Pain's
"H.O.P.E." is a folky, harmonica-
driven jam, awash in acoustic guitars
and soulful vocals by Radames
Vega. Vega sounds a little like the
guy from that other B.R.C band that
was on the Lollapalooza tour,
which is not necessarily a bad thing.
Sort of like how the Heartbreakers
might sound if they had a touch of
funk in them.
Surprisingly (thankfully?),
"funk" is not a word that can be as-
sociated with most of the songs on
this disc. Other than J.J. Jumper's R
& B flavored "It Will All
(Workout), and the Good Guys' big-
horn-powered boneyard blast "My
World," The History Of Our Future
steers clear of the much-maligned
genre of funk-metal.
"Rock and Roll is Black music
and we are its heirs." This is the ba-
sis of the Black Rock Coalition's
manifesto, and on this disc, these ten
bands do more than enough to up-
hold its premise.
-Scott Sterling
The Black Rock Coalition plays
tonight at the Majestic Theater.
Tickets are $6 in advance at Tick-
etMaster (p.e.s.c.) and $8 at the
ABC: yet another example of a
band that has been in the business
too long to consistently provide its
fans with fresh and innovative ideas.
The group's latest release, Abra-
cadabra, differs little from its last
(Absolutely), and will probably en-
joy about the same amount of suc-
cess, or lack thereof.
Most of the album's tunes are
cast from the same mold as many of
the disco hits of the late 1970s, but
add the technology of the 1990s to
give the songs a modern feel. The
rhythms are slightly danceable, yet
simple. The lyrics are of little
meaning, and there is always the an-
noyance of the omnipresent string
line that holds out one chord
throughout most of the tune and
adds simple descending or ascending

lines to the remainder of the song.
Even the most rhythmic of tunes
like "Unlock the Secrets of Your
Heart" and "Say It" still lack the
energy and musicianship that was
present in ABC's recordings of the
'80s. There is no emotion and no fun,
two elements that were once trade-
marks of ABC's music. Granted,
fruity pop songs like "When
Smokey Sings" are not the most
artistic of achievements, and Abra-
cadabra could never be labelled
fruity or pop. But the album seems
to be trying too hard to adhere to a
style that is clearly not "poppy i 1
rather than trying to innovate or en-
There is little deviance from a.x
song to song in terms of rhythm..
vocal melody and instrumental arr .
rangement, often forcing the lis
See RECORDS, Page 12 The Black Rock Coalition proves that "black rock" is more than Lollapa-Livin' Colour.
- gO U R

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"Expresso" Jazz Band Ko Ko the Clown
6:00 to 9:00 p.m. 6:00to 9:00 p.m.
Santa CIus Walter Griggs Charicature Artist
6:00 to 9:00 p.m. 6:00 to .9:00 p.m.


The University of Michigan

Sun. Dec. 8
Mon. Dec. 9
Tue. Dec. 10
Wed. Dec. 11

University of Michigan
Percussion Ensemble
Michael Udow, director
Stephen Shipps, guest violin soloist
Salvatore Rabbio, guest timpani soloist
Harrison: Concerto for Violin and
Percussion Orchestra
Udow: Dinasour Dance
School of Music McIntosh Theatre, 4 p.m.
University Symphony Orchestra
with Chamber Choir
University Philharmonia
Theodore Morrison and Donald Schleicher,
Handel: Coronation Anthem no.1, "Zadok
the Priest"
Britten: Cantata Misericordium
Dvor k: Symphony no. 9, "From the New
Hill Auditorium.8 p.m.
Guest Artist Recital
Roger Oyster, Trombone and Euphonium
Principal Trombonist, St. Louis Symphony
Music of Weber, Castdrede, Hindemith,
Pergolesi, and Handel
School of Music McIntosh Theatre, 8 p.m.
Roger Oyster, Principal Trombonist,
St. Louis Symphony
School of Music,hRoom 2038, 11:30 a.m.
Dance Composition Class
Dance Building Studio A, 2:30-5:00 p.m.
Early Music Ensemble
Edward Parmentier, director
Choral works of 16th century England and
Baroque chamber music
Blanche Anderson Moore Hall, 8 p.m.
Orpheus Singers
School of Music Recital Hall, 6 p.m.
Campus Band
Myron Moss and Jeff Grogen, conductors
Vaughan Williams: "Rhosymedre"
Shostakovich: Folk Dances


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