Open Thread: Miles, Monk – and Martin Edition

Black History month wraps up today.

I’m a white guy, and I don’t have much to share or teach about the black experience in America. I know my life has been immeasurably enriched by black culture, and I hope it will be further enriched as I learn more. (That’s the Miles Davis and Thelonius Monk part.) I know that my thinking and conscience have been challenged and enriched by the black political leaders who spoke to us in recent decades – not only Martin, but Rosa and Malcolm and Nelson Mandela.

I know that in all this I have been a child of privileges that many blacks in America still do not enjoy.

This is a diary of debt and appreciation. And this is an open thread.


10 Responses to Open Thread: Miles, Monk – and Martin Edition

  1. susanthe March 1, 2012 at 7:53 am #

    Let America Be America Again by Langston Hughes

    A relevant snippet:

    O, let my land be a land where Liberty
    Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
    But opportunity is real, and life is free,
    Equality is in the air we breathe.

    (There’s never been equality for me,
    Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

    Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
    And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

    I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
    I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
    I am the red man driven from the land,
    I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek–
    And finding only the same old stupid plan
    Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

  2. GreyMike March 1, 2012 at 10:57 am #

    For putting the names of Miles and Monk onto these pages. They were and still are my musical fathers, along with Duke and a very long list of others I saw, heard and loved while they were all still here with us, and they live on every day in my head. The gifts they brought us were beyond measure.

    Once when I was a teenager, Louis Armstrong’s first wife Lil Hardin Armstrong tried to warn me against being a musician.

    It was already too late.

    • xteeth March 1, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

      You have gotten the 1957 Carnegie Hall concert of Monk and Coltrane recording that they found in the Smithsonian when they were trying to save old recordings of stuff like the sound of the first atomic bomb etc. I only saw Monk once at Lennie’s on the Pike. Probably just my white background and has nothing to do with his personality (of which I had and have no knowledge) but with that little beany on he looked like the most evil person I had ever seen. The music is way too complicated for me but then I don’t really understand the theory of relativity either.

      • elwood March 2, 2012 at 4:22 am #

        on the way home, and it helped prompt the diary.

    • susanthe March 1, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

      was a big fan of Duke Ellington and Count Basie. That’s the kind of music I grew up listening to. I was recently surprised (in a good way) to find a Duke Ellington CD in my daughter’s collection.

  3. Chaz Proulx March 1, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

    There are so many more, but I thought as a Charles myself I  better speak up.

    A lot of people think that great black music in America was just emotional and soulfull. But people like those mentioned ( Coltrane anyone) were technically way ahead of the curve too.  They had it all. Intellect, fire and raw talent. I can’t imagine life without these recording.

    • GreyMike March 1, 2012 at 7:49 pm #
  4. Jennifer Daler March 1, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

  5. susaninrindge March 1, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    Is a good jazz radio station. When I lived in Boston in the ’60s and ’70s, we had a wonderful jazz show to wake up to on WBUR (Tony Chianamo (sp?), who played a lot of progressive jazz. WGBH had an afternoon jazz show as well with Ron DeLaquiza (sp?)who played more standard and classical jazz. Then, of course, there was, and still is, Eric in the Evening. Between the 2 public radio stations in Boston, you could hear jazz all day long!

    • GreyMike March 1, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

      by listening to streaming jazz radio online; in our region the best one is WICN in Worcester, where many current New England-based artists can be also be heard among the classic cuts, including some live studio performances and the great Brown Bag series broadcast live from Mechanic’s Hall in Worcester.

      My other favorite is KCSM in San Mateo, CA. Both of these are public radio stations broadcasting 24/7 and as such I contribute a modest annual amount, it’s music worth supporting. You don’t need to have a super-fast Internet connection to listen on your computer, and there are also free/cheap apps for listening via your smartphone or tablet. A great mix of using new technology for enjoying traditional sounds.

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