Why The Grammy Awards Couldn’t Resist Jon Batiste

Some of the music in “We Are” takes its acoustic-funk aesthetic from the 1960s, but other parts are reminiscent of the 1990s, the pre-9/11 moment when Keb Mo became a Grammy favourite, and albums that sum up entire Starbucks curated albums. . The genres have infiltrated parent CD players everywhere. Batiste’s single “Cry” from his album, which won the best American root performance and best American root song awards, reminds us of that era.

He’s dealing with it now too. Collaborating with Trombone Shorty and PJ Morton, the first half of “Boy Hood” reinforces the trap aesthetic for a meditation on the simple joys of childhood in New Orleans.

In conclusion, Batiste’s music is about feeling good as a collective act. This usually means stealing familiar things and keeping it carefree. In the horn-operated funk strut “Freedom,” which won a Grammy for best music video and was nominated for record of the year, Batiste looks like he’d just joined the cast of an old protest song and performed a party anthem instead.

But before you understand Batiste, there is something else you need to understand: He comes from a city where time and space has somehow collapsed and where a Black instrumental tradition is actually continuing, which died out 50 years ago in many other parts of the country. This tradition is based on meeting and dancing, and as a result has perhaps the least complex relationship to musical taste of any lifestyle in this country. increasingly desperate conditions facing the people living there.

Batiste’s vibe may seem like candy to someone outside of New Orleans, especially if you haven’t walked around French Street with a plastic cup or been to a marching band performance. Celebration Hall or get infected by the Neville Brothers’ Caribbean-inspired funk on a spring afternoon at JazzFest. Listen to recordings released by Batiste’s New Orleans colleagues these days — Trombone Shorty, P.J. Morton and Tanks and Bangasfor a few, Nevilles, Dr. Following in the footsteps of John and Professor Longhair – and you’ll find a similar strain of funk that makes you happy, happy. Challenge your digital brain with added irony to love it. Let’s see if you can handle it?

Batiste’s 11 nominations on Sunday — most by any artist — touched on categories under R&B, jazz, root music, film scores. his job Pixar movie “Soul”) and classical music. What that tells you is that supporting a young jazz musician these days means getting behind something broader than any genre, even if he’s a relative traditionalist and proud to stand in Satchmo’s shadow.

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