Monday, July 20, 2009

Roads to Morocco.

Archie Shepp got the Gnaoua ball rolling again back around 2006 as I was preparing to leave Seattle. I got to listen to it over at his son Pavel's house along with a duet disc Archie did with Siegfried Kessler. He has his own label Archieball. He last worked with them in 1969.

He finally recovered from a nagging benign lip tumor a few years ago and is back in fine form as if he were in his 30s again.

Ornette got in the act more recently in London having his reunion of a collaboration he did in 1973.

And then there was an exhilarating if hazardous festival back in May in Rabat to show America how it's done. No Cut and Paste, Meat and Potatoes, all Joe Lovano all the time on the other side of the pond but then, they don't have to pander to middle brow boomer geezes.

All this Mahgreb excitement got me thinking about the Rwais, what ever became of them?

Phillip Schuyler did a definitive paper on them and all you recycled english majors and market copy writers who overwhelm jazz writing with fatuousness should read the thing as you'll improve your game a hundredfold if you learn how to write like him. This little gem about the imposition of professionalism as espoused by the IAJE is even better.

The Rwais are like the blues and come from some lineage that includes griots, Turkish asiks and troubadours. Robert Johnson and Skip James were American versions as was Bahamian Joseph Spence.

They liked to make up songs on the spot, sing the news and even sing the praises of Citroens or Renaults. I found a modern Morocco pop version of what they have become and have a query to Nick Fritsch at Lyrichord to see if I can get the story of the lost release.

The moral of the story for all the younger people befogged by Pudgy Dunce kingmaking and music knowledge parsing is just go do a pattern search like 'Berber Rwais Music' or any other thing that you want to find and just bypass anything that looks like it is from a 'Jazz Magazine' unless you have ones you already like and trust.

In no time at all you will be waaay better informed than those who presume to inform you for profit.

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