Welcome to the February 2015 Black History Month edition of Black Grooves, sponsored by the Indiana University Archives of African American Music and Culture.
This month our primary theme is Black radio to promote the AAAMC’s new four-part virtual exhibition celebrating “The Golden Age of Black Radio” on the Google Cultural Institute website. As a tie-in, there are reviews of two new books related to the exhibit: Walker Smith’s Mello Yellow: The Incredible Life Story of Jack the Rapper about legendary deejay Jack Gibson, and Sonja D. Williams’ landmark biography Word Warrior: Richard Durham, Radio and Freedom. And because they are named after the famous deejay Eddie O’Jay, we’re also featuring the O’Jays’ 50th Anniversary Concert.
Tying into more Black history themes, we’re featuring poet-activist-musician Saul Williams’ MartyrLoserKing; Tomás Doncker’s socially-conscious album The Mess We Made; Adegoke Steve Colson’s solo jazz piano album Tones For, dedicated to Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and Frederick Douglass; Jaimeo Brown Transcendence’s sample based Work Songs, which resurrect stories of workers and prisoners worldwide; and the documentary Take Me to the River, which celebrates Memphis culture and Mississippi Delta musicians.
On the funk and rock side we’re featuring the reunion album A Simple Act of Faith from the 1980s band Cymande, Brooklyn Funk Essentials’ Funk Ain’t Ova, and a blending of rock and gospel on Sam Butler’s Raise Your Hands!
In celebration of Valentine’s Day and love in general, there’s Sweet Honey in the Rock’s #LoveinEvolution, Terri Lyne Carrington’s The Mosaic Project: Love and Soul, a reissue of Jay Dee’s Come on in Love, and Taj Weekes & Adowa’s Love Herb & Reggae.
For the Mardi Gras and Carnival season, we featuring Matthew Hartnett’s blending of New Orleans brass and gospel roots in Southern Comfort, and the Brazil meets New Orleans collaboration of Nation Beat and Cha Wa in Carnival Caravan.
Wrapping up this issue is the Senegalese band Dieuf-Dieul de Thies’ compilation of unreleased 1980s sessions Aw Sa Yone, Vol. 2, a reissue of Magic Sam Blues Band’s Black Magic, and our list of January releases of note.