Welcome to the January 2014 issue of Black Grooves, sponsored by the Archives of African American Music and Culture. This month, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., we’re featuring UMKC jazz professor Bobby Watson’s Check Cashing Day— his tribute to the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Our blues feature of the month is Toronzo Cannon’s John the Conquer Root.
Also featured are four recent Afro-Caribbean projects: Jamaican bluesman Brushy One-String’s debut album Destiny, Trinidadian trumpeter Etienne Charles’s Creole Soul, and The Garifuna Collective’s Ayó and their collaboration with Canadian indie rocker Danny Michel, Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me.
Three of the top hip hop albums from the latter half of 2013 are reviewed: El-P and Killer Mike’s Run the Jewels, Pusha T’s My Name Is My Name, and A$AP Ferg’s Trap Lord. Under the rock, folk and country categories are Amos Lee’s Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song, Garland Jeffreys’ Truth Serum, Lonnie Holley’s Keeping a Record of It, and the French deathcore band As They Burn’s Will Love Life.
Compilations and reissues include The Spiritual Side of Wynton Marsalis, Soul City Detroit: Motor City Labels and the Dawn of Soul Music, Verdelle Smith’s Tar & Cement: The Complete Recordings 1965-1967, and Billy Preston’s debut album 16-Yr. Old Soul. Wrapping up this issue is Allen Toussaint’s Songbook, RJ & The Assignment’s jazz influenced The Stroke of Midnight, gospel artist Lamar Campbell’s Open the Sky, and our list of December 2013 releases of note.