Friday, October 28, 2016

WHY I’M VOTING FOR JILL STEIN AND CONSIDER THE TRUMP THREAT A MYTH (FULL ARTICLE)

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

WHY I’M VOTING FOR JILL STEIN AND CONSIDER THE TRUMP THREAT A MYTH
.
BILL CLINTON SIGNING HIS URBAN HOUSING PROGRAM -
THE PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, WHICH BECAME ONE
OF HILLARY'S  BIGGEST POLITICAL CONTRIBUTORS
I'm going to be voting third party for the first time in my life, but I consider it the most important vote that I've ever cast. Even though I know that Jill Stein is not going to win, I consider my vote for her a vote for democracy, and against corruption. It's going to send a clear and unequivocal message to the Democratic Party to never, EVER try to play with my right to choose again. And if Donald Trump wins, oh, well.  Maybe that'll have the unintended consequence of waking people up - and besides, Hillary is no better, and could very likely be much worse.  We can only speculate about what Trump might do, but we've already experienced the kind of destruction the Clintons are capable of bringing upon us.  We're still suffering from their last stint in the White House.
.
If Trump wins, he won't be able to bust a grape. If you think Barack Obama hit a brick wall when he became president, just imagine what Trump will face. He’s a buffoon and one of the most hated politicians in the history of American politics, so he has absolutely NO support worth mentioning. Where Obama only faced a hostile Republican congress, Trump would be facing both a hostile Republican and Democratic congress, and a hostile American public as well. So all he’d be able to de is sit up in the Oval Office and play with himself. As a result, the worse thing that he would bring to the country is continued gridlock, and make us the laughingstock of the world, which we deserve.
.
Yes, most Republicans secretly believe in everything Trump is spewing.  The only thing they don't like about him is he's a loose cannon and he's saying what they believe out loud. That's why I think he could very possibly win this election. Although many claim to be against him, once they get into the secrecy of the polling booth they may very well vote for him, but the Republican Party can't afford to support him if he gets into office, because then they would take on his baggage, incur the hostility of the American people, render themselves a renegade party, and be voted out in droves in the following election.
.
On the other hand, Hillary has a political machine in place within the Democratic Party and the support of essentially ALL of Wall Street, so she'd be in a position to do serious damage.  It has been reported that the Clintons' net worth is well over $200 million. They also control the $2 billion Clinton Foundation, so they're comfortably entrenched in the very corporate culture that has the American people virtually enslaved. Their daughter, Chelsea, is married to Marc Mezvinsky, an American investment banker, co-founder of hedge fund, Eaglevale Partners, and was formerly an investment banker at Goldman Sachs. Thus, the Clintons and Wall Street are, literally, in-laws. So Hillary would continue the process that they began the last time they were in the White House - robbing the American people blind, and turning our democracy into a corporate plutocracy. So Hillary, her reckless greed, and corporate allies are the greater threat to America.
.
IN SIX YEARS ON WAL-MART'S BOARD OF DIRECTORS
HILLARY CLINTON NEVER LIFTED A FINGER TO HELP
EITHER WOMEN OR THE WORKERS
The Clintons walk like liberals and talk like liberals but they always seem to leave conservative policies in their wake. They've been more successful in promoting the conservative agenda and destroying the American middle class way of life than any other administration since the Civil War, including Ronald Reagan's.  They're responsible for NAFTA, which allowed $20 an hour jobs to be sent out of the country to be performed by people who make less per week than many upper-middle class Americans spent on lunch per day, and they gutted Glass-Steagall (which President Roosevelt put into place to prevent Wall Street greed from plunging the nation into a second Great Depression),  which led directly to the 2008 Wall Street crash. Clinton also abolished the Fairness Doctrine (no, it wasn't Reagan as many people think. Reagan simply prevented it from being elevated from a regulation to a law, but Clinton abolished it outright). That led to the creation of the corporate media culture and propaganda machines like Fox News that were then allowed to spew conservative propaganda and disinformation with impunity.
.
Clinton's "Welfare Reform" led to the undue suffering of millions of poor Americans. And then, after colluding with Ronald Reagan to flood the Black community with crack cocaine while governor of Arkansas, after becoming president, even as Black people were running around calling him our “first Black president,” Clinton signed the most draconian crime bill in United States history to incarcerate on a massive scale the very victims of the crime that HE committed, just to prove to Republicans that he wasn’t “soft on coons”  - and he actually paid states EXTRA to give those victims longer sentences. As result, today there are more Black people under the control of the prison industrial complex than were enslaved in all of America in 1850, a decade prior to the Civil War, and that very same prison industrial complex became one of Hillary Clinton's largest and most prolific political contributors.
BILL CLINTON CASUALLY VIOLATING THE
VOTERS RIGHTS ACT AND THUMBING HIS
NOSE AT THE LEGACY
OF MARTIN LUTHER KING IN A BLACK POLLING
PLACE IN MASSACHUSETTS
.
Thus, as a direct result of Clinton’s unconscionable actions the lives of hundreds of thousands of Black people have been completely destroyed - and it’s still having a negative impact on Black people today. There's currently a huge part of an entire generation of young Black people who don't know anything about their culture, and don't really know what it means to be Black, because the people who were responsible for teaching them were either dead, in prison, or mentally disabled by the affects of crack cocaine. As a direct result, instead of developing their potential and preparing for the future, many of these young people, who were literally raised by the corporate media, has been conditioned to believe that their role in life is to be criminals, drug addicts, and at the very bottom of society. In addition, they're being mesmerized by the media by being fed a constant diet of music that celebrates drug use, killing one another, and referring to the very womb of their culture as "bitches and hoes." So their fate is all but sealed. And worse, they're unfit parents for the generation that's coming up.
.
So when anyone even suggests that I should vote for Hillary Clinton, I'm absolutely insulted, because it clearly demonstrates that they are, at the very least, completely indifferent to the atrocities that the Clintons committed against the Black community - and unbelievably, this includes many Black people!!!  These people will say, "Okay, okay, so they destroyed a generation of Black people and herded others into concentration camps, but what else have they done wrong?" Give me a break!!!
.

.
Racism is not just the aggressive hatred of Black people, it's also the complacent acceptance of atrocities committed against them. If the Clintons had committed a fraction of the atrocities against Jews as they have Black people, Hillary wouldn't have even been able to run for office. But American's casual indifference toward the suffering of Black people is about to come back to bite 'em, because the new paradigm in this country is not just about racism.  We're currently knee-deep in a class war against people who don't care any more about poor and middle class White people than they do Blacks or other minorities - and Hillary's one of them.    The New York Times reported the following:
.
“In lucrative paid speeches that Hillary Clinton delivered to elite financial firms but refused to disclose to the public, she displayed an easy comfort with titans of business, embraced unfettered international trade and praised a budget-balancing plan that would have required cuts to Social Security, according to documents posted online Friday by WikiLeaks . . .
.
“In the excerpts from her paid speeches to financial institutions and corporate audiences, Mrs. Clinton said she dreamed of ‘open trade and open borders’ throughout the Western Hemisphere [NAFTA on steroids]. Citing the back-room deal-making and arm-twisting used by Abraham Lincoln, she mused on the necessity of having ‘both a public and a private position’ on politically contentious issues [in other words, sometimes it's necessary to lie to the people]. Reflecting in 2014 on the rage against political and economic elites that swept the country after the 2008 financial crash, Mrs. Clinton acknowledged that her family’s rising wealth had made her ‘kind of far removed’ from the struggles of the middle class [or in other words, I’m one of you].”
.
New Democrats, also called Centrist Democrats, Clinton Democrats or Moderate Democrats, are a relatively conservative ideological faction within the Democratic Party that emerged after the victory of Republican George H. W. Bush in the 1988 presidential election. Describing themselves as "centrist", they are an economically conservative and "Third Way" faction which dominated the party for around 20 years, starting in the late 1980s after the US populace turned much further to the political right. They are represented by organizations such as the New Democrat Network and the New Democrat Coalition.
.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Democrats

.
RECKLESS AND IRRESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOR

How Clinton Donor Got on Sensitive Intelligence Board

.

.
HOW DID THEY KNOW THIS GUY WASN'T A RUSSIAN SPY?
.
So, what do I like most about Jill Stein?  That's easy - she's not Hillary Clinton. And finally, I’d like to respectfully suggest to the American people that they're being played by the Clintons . . . again.
.
. . . Oh, and for those of you who are prone to give your genitals priority over your intellect, in the video below, notice the condescension and distain in which Hillary Clinton treats NPR correspondent Terry Gross as opposed to the respect she gives Terry's male colleagues like Anderson Cooper and others, in spite of the fact that they were asking much more biting questions. Hillary is not a woman, she's a political robot who's only dedicated, or loyal, to one thing - Hillary Clinton.
.

.
Eric L. Wattree
http://wattree.blogspot.com/
Ewattree@Gmail.com
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)
.
Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

THE PICK-A- BIGOT GAME

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

THE PICK-A-BIGOT GAME

It's hard to believe that in 2016 Black people are still engaged in hot debate over which bigot we should support. Because the fact is, regardless to whether either Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump, wins this election, Black people are going to be up Shit Creek.
.
Even as we were running around calling him our “First Black President” Bill Clinton was paying states EXTRA to give the victims of mass incarceration, due to the crack cocaine that HE was hugely responsible for flooding into the Black community, longer sentences. So the fact is, we can only speculate about what Trump might do, but we've already SEEN the atrocities that the Clintons are capable of.
.
While admittedly, Trump looms as an ominous figure over this election, the Black community is still suffering from the atrocities that the Clintons have ALREADY committed against us the last time they were in the White House. So even a blind man should be able to see that since we’ve already experienced the Clintons' deceit and malevolent disregard for the Black community up-close and personal, we don’t really know WHAT they might do once in office for a second time.
.
The Clintons are renown for three things - political manipulation, lying, and circumventing the law.  They think of average Americans as the “little people,” and that the laws designed for the rest of us to follow don’t apply to them. Yes, the Republicans have had them under constant investigation and they keep slipping through the cracks, but that doesn’t mean that the allegations aren’t true. If you were robbed, even though the robber escapes conviction, he’s a criminal nevertheless, because a criminal is one who commits crimes, whether he’s been convicted or not.  We’ve seen that scenario at work in the recent FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton. If you or I worked for the State Department and put Top Secret information on our home computer we’d be thrown UNDER the jail, but the Clintons have connections, and having connections powerful enough to place a person above the law is a threat to our democracy. 
.
In that regard, even as I write, an indictment against arms dealer, Marc Turi, is being dropped in order to protect Hillary Clinton. According to a report by Politico, “A Turi associate asserted that the government dropped the case because the proceedings could have embarrassed Clinton and President Barack Obama by calling attention to the reported role of their administration in supplying weapons that fell into the hands of Islamic extremist militants [ISIS].” So again, we don’t know what the Clintons might do if returned to the White House. Clinton supporters try to justify their support by claiming, they'll save us from Trump.  Okay, but who's going to save us from them?
.
So it's really amazing to see so many Black people (including the Congressional Black Caucus) jumping up and down and rallying behind people who's already cut our throats. This situation clearly demonstrates that the number of Black people who have a tendency to be self-serving, distracted, and/or uninformed is a serious threat to our culture. It's enough to make one more than just a little concerned over the ultimate fate of the Black community as a whole.  Because if we don’t wake up - and in a hurry! - we’re lost. We’re already being dismissed as a people; that’s why society is completely ignoring our children being poisoned with lead contaminated water, the inner city being poisoned with crack cocaine just so the powers that be could raise a little extra cash, and Black people are being shot down in the street with complete impunity. We’re allowing ourselves to become totally meaningless.
.

As I’ve pointed out several times in previous articles, when Bill Clinton was the governor of Arkansas, he colluded with the Reagan administration to flood the Black community with crack cocaine in order to fund Reagan’s illegal war in Nicaragua. Then when he became president he signed the most draconian crime bill in the history of the United States and created the prison industrial complex that led to the mass incarceration of the victims of HIS crime - Black people. There after, that very same prison industrial complex became one of Hillary Clinton’s biggest political contributors.
.
BILL CLINTON CASUALLY VIOLATING THE
VOTERS RIGHTS ACT IN A BLACK POLLING
PLACE IN MASSACHUSETTS
So many Black people either don’t understand, or don’t care, that as a direct result of Clinton’s unconscionable actions the lives of hundreds of thousands of Black people have been completely destroyed - and it’s still having a negative impact on Black people today. There's currently a huge part of an entire generation of young Black people who don't know anything about their culture, and don't really know what it means to be Black, because the people who were responsible for teaching them were either dead, in prison, or mentally disabled by the affects of crack cocaine. As a direct result, instead of developing their potential and preparing for the future, many of these young people, who were literally raised by the corporate media, has been conditioned to believe that their role in life is to be criminals, drug addicts, and at the very bottom of society. In addition, they're being mesmerized by the media by being fed a constant diet of music that celebrates drug use, killing one another, and referring to the very womb of their culture as "bitches and hoes." So their fate is all but sealed. And worse, they're unfit parents for the generation that's coming up. So due largely to Bill Clinton’s actions, much of the Black community has gone from Miles Davis and John Coltrane, to THIS . . .
.

.
Yet, in spite of the horrendous atrocities that Bill Clinton committed against the Black community, when he wanted to get Hillary and himself back into the White House, he had the audacity to go to the NAACP and try to apologize. But what’s even more amazing is that Black people were foolish enough to accept it!!! The Black Congressional Caucus couldn’t wait to endorse Hillary Clinton, and Black people were falling all over one another as they flocked to the polls to help her win the primaries. The absolute ignorance of the Black community in this matter is beyond sad, it's disgusting. Due to our own cluelessness - our failure to remain informed, and our tendency to vote name-recognition and/or genitals over intellect - we’ve now placed ourselves in a position of having to choose between cyanide or strychnine. So no, I'm not voting for either one of those demagogues. I’m simply not going to allow them to force me to play the pick-a-bigot game. If I did I would never be able to live with myself.
.
As I mentioned earlier, if we keep allowing them to play us by having to choose a "preferred bigot," that gives them carte blanche to cut our throats whenever, and however deep they choose, and then just trot out one of their Bogeyman cronies - who they might have just had lunch with 10 minutes earlier -  to scare us into re-electing them every election (“Yeah, I know I haven’t always treated well, but you don’t want him, do ya!!!?”). They've been playing Black people like that every since we've had the right to vote, and I'm shocked that today’s modern and so-called “sophisticated” Black people are naïve enough to go for that tired-ass bullshit game.
.
Black people need to take a page out of the Jewish handbook - once you show them you're their enemy, you're their enemy FOREVER, and under ANY and ALL circumstances. That's the only way to protect yourself in this highly manipulative political environment. All Jesse Jackson had to do was say “Hymietown” and the Jews ran him out of politics. In contrast, Bill Clinton is hugely responsible for more Black people being under the control of the prison industrial complex than there were slaves in America in 1850, so the Clintons have done a hundred times more harm to the Black community than the Klan. If the Clintons had committed a fraction of the atrocities against the Jews as they have to Black people, Hillary wouldn't have even been able to run for office, and the Jewish attitude is absolutely right in that regard. They learned that lesson from hard and bitter experience, but Black people seem to be kinda slow in seeing the light.
.
So while I'm not one who's very big on organized religion, in this case, I think I'll place my faith in God instead of the Democratic Party. Since my right to choose was stolen from me by the Clintons, Debbie Wasserman Shultz, and the DNC, I'm certainly not gonna reward them for that undemocratic treachery with my vote. I'm just gonna follow the advice of the old folks and "put it in the hand's of the Lord." So I'm gonna to vote for Jill Stein and the Green Party and then let God sort out the consequences. After all of the other atrocities the Clintons have committed against Black people, I am definitely not gonna allow them to rob me of my vote, come Hell or high water; it would set a horrible precedent, and far too many people have fought and died to give it to me.

.
Eric L. Wattree
http://wattree.blogspot.com/
Ewattree@Gmail.com
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)
.
Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, August 27, 2016

THE HUSTLERS AND THEIR LEGACY

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

THE HUSTLERS
______________________________
It is not my intent to promote living outside the law.   I’m against that - period.   But knowledge is power, and the fact is, the hustlers of my youth had a tremendous impact on my life, just as the current wannabes have on the lives of many Black youth today.  So I want to do two things in this piece - first, I want to make it clear to the Black youth of today that most of what they think of as "hustlers" were not anything like they're being portrayed in the media; and secondly, I want to give the wider audience a perspective on how these Black "renegades" are perceived by Black youth by allowing them to view these hustlers through the eyes of my youth.
________________________________


Many young people in "the hood" are fascinated by the mystique of the hustler. While I see education as the preferred mode of upward mobility, I can understand how the renegade persona of the hustler mystique has captured their imagination. But their idea of a hustler has been forged by the media, where they're portrayed as murderous sociopaths who specialized in victimizing the community. As a result, many young wannabes seem to feel that they have to run around ravaging the community to build their "street creds" as a bonafide hustler.
.
VALDIE WATTREE
But that's not how old-school hustlers were at all. I know, because both me and my late wife, Val, were children of this culture. She was the niece of Big Joe Langford, a well known hustler in Los Angeles, and I was the son of Mac McClain (My maternal grandfather insisted that I wear his sir name so I wouldn't grow up with unnecessary baggage), and they brought Val and I together as teenagers (My mother, and Val's aunt).
.
When Val and I were about to go on our first date, a gigolo by the name of Shelton called me earlier that day from out of the blue and said, "Hey Eric, I hear you and Valdie are hooking up.  I was just thinking, man. You know, that's Big Joe's niece, so you're gonna' have to come strong. So check this out. Why don't I scrape me up a chauffeur's cap and swing by your pad tonight and we can pick her up in my Bentley? We can give her a night she'll never forget. Just leave it to me" - and that's exactly what happened. We were in good hands with Shelton, because as a male escort, that was what Shelton specialized in, showing women a good time. He did it for the Hollywood studios.  My father had given me forty dollars to take Val out, but I didn't have to spend a penny of it. Everything was taken care of.
.
The night started with Shelton pulling up to Val's house with me sitting in the backseat, and then he went to Val's door and retrieved her.  Thereafter, he escorted her to the Bentley, and as he opened the backdoor to helped her in, he touched the front of his cap - and from that moment on, she got the Cinderella treatment all night long.  Essentially, this was Shelton's date; I was just along for the ride, and Val talked about that night until the day she died. She used to say, "That Shelton was the prettiest man I've ever seen in my life!" But that night, Big Joe made absolutely sure that what I smelled what'n cookin'. What I didn't realize until I was grown was that Shelton was actually our chaperone. Big Joe wasn't about to let my crazy young horny ass slip off into the night with his 15 year-old love-struck niece, family ties or not. I had been what they called "finessed" by the best. But when I looked in Val's eyes, I knew it was just a matter of time - a very short time - because even now, long after her death, I'm still trying to live up to the man I saw reflected in her eyes.
.
When Val and I got married at 19 and 21 years old, our wedding reception looked like a peacock's parade. And then when Kai and Eric was born, in spite of our young age - and the fact that I was penniless - we always lived under palm trees and at the edge of swing pools. We never wanted for anything. Every time money got tight, something seemed to fall out of the sky. The guy at the liquor would say, "Hey Eric, I need some help around here. How'd you like to come help me out in the evenings after you get off from work?"  And I mean, from out of the blue!  I had just come to get a drink., not a job, but I sure could use it, because while the price of rent in the "Jungle" was only $165 a month, that was twice what most were paying at the time - and it was considered outrageous for a 22 year-old.
.
Then after I started working at the liquor store the local gangsters started coming in and selling me top-of-the-line ten-speed bikes for $15 a piece, which I would turn around and sell for a $100 dollars or more. I never bothered to inquire where they got them, but I knew they weren't being taken from kids, because they were brand spankin' new. Before long everybody in Baldwin Hills knew that if they wanted ten-speeds that I was the go-to guy. And again, this just started happening from out of the blue - and I was making a killin'!
.
Then we were encouraged by Big Joe to enroll Kai and Eric in Windsor Hills Elementary School. As a result, they went to school with the children of doctors, lawyers, and politicians. And once they got there, they were assigned a teacher, Ms. Faye Armstrong, who became their PERMANENT teacher.  They didn't change teachers every year like most kids.  We got so close with Faye that we used to go to dinner together, and Kai became so close to her that she began to take on Faye's Texas drawl. By the time Kai graduated, Faye had her so sharp that she was doing her class' valedictorian speech.
.
So I strongly suspect that something was at work here, because when I look back on it, Kai and Eric grew up like royalty. It seemed like even when I did something wrong, it somehow, miraculously, turned out right.  As a young man, I always wanted to think it was about what Val and I were doing right, but was it? Today I'm almost certain invisible hands were at work in the background, because the chances of two kids getting married at 19 and 21 years old and managing to raise two children into adulthood without hitting even ONE bump in the road severely challenges the odds of statistical probability. When we were raising Kai and Eric, we literally, never struggled. Life was one big party. Our home was a house with four kids in it, running itself . . . or so it seemed.


Kai Doing The Valedictorian Speech
So what these hustlers actually were, were flamboyant and bigger-than-life businessmen who didn't pay taxes - and that was during a time when Black people didn't have the opportunities that we have today. But, in spite of the fact they lived slightly outside the law, most were very responsible and caring people in many ways.
.
Many of these people had a lot of class, wisdom, and knowledge. When my father was arrested and sent away, they came together and got my mother a job as a greeter at the world renowned Dynamite Jackson’s jazz club, and then, helped send her through nursing school. She later not only became a nurse, but a PA (Physician’s Assistant) - the closest you can come to a doctor, without actually becoming one - thanks to her close friend and mentor, Dr. Morris P. Atkins. They opened the 55th St Medical Group together. That's where I met Val. My mother hired her when Val was only 14 years old to send Christmas cards to the patients.
.
In return for the assistance that my mother had been given by people in the community, when people in the neighborhood needed medical attention but couldn't afford to pay, my mother would treat them right there in our home - for free. And the community was good to her as well. A multi-faceted  hustler by the name of Big Eddie Carr pulled up one day with a huge box (I'll never forget Big Eddie; he was a very suave and elegant brother who used to always wear cummerbunds. He was also a singer - "It's Hard But It's Fair").  He told my mother, "Hey, Ver, I ran across this the other day and it had Verlee written all over it, so I thought I'd pick it up for you" - a FUR throw rug.  It became one of my mother's prize possessions - not only because it was so beautiful, but because Big Eddie was thoughtful enough to get it for her. And Buddy Cox, who dealt in clothing, kept me as clean as a young man could be in top-of-line slack suits.
.
As early as junior high school I used to go to school dressed like a grown man.  I had acquired the hustlers' taste and style, so I used to go to school wearing expensive slack suits, Floresheim's, and jewelry - not gaudy and ostentatious stuff like you see today (quiet style was what it was about back then), but I dressed much too old for my years, and that caused me a few problems. It brought suspicion upon me, and I was looked upon by many of the staff as a bad influence on the "kids." Every time something went wrong at school they would come and pluck me out of class, even though I wouldn't know a thing about what was going on. And the irony was, I was probably one of the few students there that was there for the right reasons. The hustlers taught me to respect knowledge, so I was there trying to soak up everything I could get. But I was profiled, much like the hustlers themselves. None of the administrators liked my image, and that haunted me, and caused me a lot of trouble until I was 19 years old - but it also led to the event that changed my life.  
.
So while old-school hustlers weren't all angels, and they were capable of emphasizing a point quite brutally when necessary - that was simply a matter of survival - that wasn't their preferred method of operation.  For the most part, they weren't vultures going around victimizing the community like they're often portrayed in the media. Many contributed to the community in many ways, including participating in assemblies and "May Day" parades that was put on by Holmes Ave. Elementary School. And I personally benefitted greatly from my exposure to them. They taught me a lot, which I try to pass on in my writings. So I look back upon them with much fondness.
 *
THIS IS WHAT IT WAS REALLY LIKE

.
So as I was strollin’ down memory lane, thinking about the old-school hustlers of my youth, I couldn't help but think about how different they were than many of the wannabes that we see around today. First, they weren't in it for show. They were hustling to maintain a lifestyle that society was doing it's very best to deny them.  No joggin’ suits, baseball caps and tennis shoes for these brothers, it was Florsheims  and very expensive Brooks Bros. suits all the way - and you’d never see ‘em in the same one for weeks. And they weren't loud and crude cutthroats. While they undoubtedly lived outside the law, they reflected a style that was all their own - elegant and laid back, although, with an edge that said to anyone with anything less than the purest of motives, "I not the one." 
.
Billy Dee Williams would have fit right in with these brothers, because he has their persona down to the last digit. Their most pronounced characteristic was class and style, not brutish swagger as they're often portrayed. They were the product of an era where class was everything.  These were gentlemen . . . illegitimate businessmen. And again, unlike the young brothers you see today, they weren't in it for show. They were dead serious about what they did.
.
My father explained it simply - it was all about surviving in a White man's world without having to carry a tin cup. It was about living with dignity. He told me that what he and his friends engaged in was no more criminal than what White business men do every day, within the law. He said, crime is robbery, theft, mayhem, and taking from others what doesn't belong to you. They didn't engage in that kind of activity. What he and his friends did was provide "services" for consenting adults, just like the White man does routinely, and legally, on a daily basis. According to my father, the only difference between what they did, and what the White man does is they don't have politicians in their pockets to sign off on it. So the crime wasn't what they did - the crime was not giving the White man his cut.
.
My Father, Mac McClain, and Brother, Virgil, in 1966.
Mac was a good neighbor and loving father,

but he wasn't one to toy with. He had one mindset
for dealing with his neighbors, and another for dealing with
people on the street.
I remember how Ronnie, who was something of a hustler himself, would open up his barbershop just for them every Monday so they could get their domes laid. Monday was Hustler's Day at Ronnie's barbershop. The shop was closed for everybody else. What was funny about that, and the hustlers used to joke about it inside, was how the up-and-coming wannabes would try to get in there on Monday through hook-or-crook, because just managing to get their hair laid at Ronnie's on a Monday could make their reputation on the street. It would also allow them to rub shoulders with the movers and shakers, and maybe gain the attention of one of them, which meant a tremendous boost in both prestige, and pay grade.
.
I recall how one Monday even a preacher tried to get in there. After Ronnie politely turned him away, they waited long enough for him to get out of earshot, then everybody fell-out laughing. Wakeen, who used to run "the book," said, in his slow and draggin' voice, "You should have let 'em in, Ron. He got more game than anybody in buildin' - and his game is Betty Crocker approved." Everybody started laughing. Then the ladies started telling stories about the good reverend. That taught me very early in life that no matter where you go, you just cannot escape politics.
.
So every Monday around noon, the whole block would be lined with a row of shiny new hogs, and the beauticians who worked for Ronnie (only on Mondays) were the cream of the crop. They were the most fabulous sisters in the hood, and everyone of them smelled like a freshly picked rose after a Spring rain. I can still smell their aroma to this today. They were absolutely, the cream of the crop - they had to be - because they were servicing the royalty of the Black community.
.
Robert Beck (Iceberg Slim) after he moved
to Los Angeles in the 60s.
 He was a little different - he had an East Coast
edge to him . . . a dangerous edge.
And these weren't silly wannabes with delusions of grandeur, trying to pattern themselves after someone they'd seen on television. These brothers were the real deal. They were the aristocrats of the darker side of the Black community, those who simply chose not to allow a racist society to hold them hostage. Any one of them could have thrived on Wall Street had they not been blessed with various hues of Black skin. And the community recognized this, so while many "mainstream" Black people weren't crazy about their lifestyle, they understood the rationale behind it. So the community not only accepted them, but they even treated them with a grudging respect and deferment.
.
My father was a part of that lifestyle, but you would never have known it by the way I was treated as a child. When I was a young boy and visiting my dad, the neighbors wouldn't hesitate to whip my butt if they caught me doing something I wasn't suppose to do. I was treated just like the other kids in the neighborhood, because they knew they had nothing to fear from my dad. He reserved his wrath for the people who lived the street life.  
.
Ronnie was a friend of the family, so during the Summer, every Monday at 11 a.m. I was headed for his shop. That was my hustle. Between working Ronnie's on Monday, and working the candy concession at Mr. Pierce's liquor store after school, I made a young boy’s fortune. At Ronnie's, just going back and forth to the store and taking messages around the corner to the various people who worked for these impressive brothers could fill my pockets up - all the way up - and all four of them.  But I didn’t just love the money, it was a thrill just being acknowledged by these bigger-than-life personalities who made such a huge impression on my life, and I'm not the least bit ashamed to admit it. Sometimes in my writings even today, I'll take on the persona of one of them to make a point, because they had a dry, bottom-line wit about them that cut straight through all  manner of bullshit. Listening to them taught me to look beneath a person's words and address the motive behind what they were saying. I also learned to never tap dance around the edges of an issue - get to the point. That's why I call my column "Beneath the Spin."
.
One of the reasons I could see through Cornel West and that I'm so relentless against him in my column is due the words of a friend of my father that they used to call "Sweet Willie."  When I was about 16 years old he told me, "Never trust a brother who's always trying to be the coolest thing in the room, because he's using so much of his brain trying to maintain his image that there's nothing left for him to think with. The primary reason he's trying to be so cool in the first place is because he's insecure, which means that inside, even HE knows he ain't shit, and he's trying his best to hide that fact from the rest of the world.  It also means he scary, so if you're ever busted with him, he'll turn out to be a turncoat and a snitch every time."
.
Wakeen introduced me to the book "Psych-Cybernetics." That, along with the words of another hustler that they used to call "Genie Boy" led me to major in psychology in college. Genie Boy said, Eric, "The human mind is one of the most powerful forces in the known universe, so if you don't control it, it WILL control you., so the first thing you need to learn is life, is to keep firm control over your own mind, and never trust anyone to think for you - NOBODY!" Later, as a student of psychology, I found that the words of both men were valid. Carl Jung, a protégé of Sigmund Freud said, everything we do, short of seeking to satisfy our homeostatic (biological) needs, we do in an attempt to reduce our feelings of insecurity, or to enhance our feeling of self-esteem.  That's what Cornel West does, he tries to be the coolest thing in the room, and he's always running his mouth in order to reduce his feelings of insecurity, and then he tries to get others to look up to him in order to enhance his own self-esteem. Sweet Willie said, "A person who's truly secure doesn't need the assistance of others to maintain his or her sense of self.  They're just who they are, and they don't give a damn what nobody else thinks.  That's the difference between your father, and the people who work for your father."
.
So yes, I really admired these people. I loved just hearing them say my name. It made me feel like I was a part of an inner circle, or a world that others couldn't gain access to - and indeed I was.  But I especially loved hearing those gorgeous and pretty-smelling women say my name - "Eric, honey, will you run around to the drug store and ask Mr. Reed to send me a large jar of this?" And then they'd hand me an empty jar of something. "Thank you, baby." How I loved that - especially when Harriett did it, and she'd rubbed her hand against my face or shoulder.
.
Harriett was so beautiful that she didn't even look real. She was the finest and most refined of them all. She looked like someone had painted her. And when she moved she was so sensuous that as she walked, I imagined her thighs must've even made one another other feel good as they rubbed up against each other. That's right!  That woman was tough. Yet, she didn't even seem to notice how beautiful she was.  That's where the class came in.  Every man who knew her yearned for her, but they also knew not to cross the line, because Harriett wasn't the kind of woman that a man could just choose - she had to choose you.
.
And Harriett was the one I knew best. We had a special relationship, because we had Jimmy in common. She was Jimmy's girlfriend, and how I envied him that accomplishment. But actually, it wasn't an accomplishment on Jimmy's part. Harriett just sort of dropped into his lap. Jimmy was a guy my father hired to teach me to play the saxophone. He had a serious heroin addition at the time, and he used to drink a lot too. So we'd see him nodded out in alleys and behind the pool hall, or getting sick and throwing up in public. So everybody used to look down on him - everybody, that is, accept Harriett. She went to high school with Jimmy, so you'd often see her waking him up, and scooping him up from behind the pool hall. He probably would have died if it weren't for Harriett, because his wife left him for another man, and she and the other dude would walk right past Jimmy nodded out somewhere without even looking down. So he didn't have anyone who gave a damn about him - except Harriett, the finest thing who ever lived. Go figure it.
.
So just think about the character of that lady. Harriet was a woman who was so beautiful, sexy, and classy that she could, literally, get any man she wanted, at any station in life - in or out of the hood. Yet, she catered to the needs of a man who had been a dope fiend for years, and had degenerated to the point that he'd become the neighborhood joke. Jimmy wasn't simply at the bottom, the bottom was sitting on him.
.
The situation with Jimmy was one of my first big eye-openers in life. Jimmy was a metaphor for the direction that many of our young people are headed for today. But Jimmy turned out to be a guy who had more character, more class, and much more talent than any of us (I tell his story in a link below). But when Jimmy was down and needed us most, we not only stepped over him, but laughed at him as we were doing it - and as young as I was, I was a big part of it. When it came to Jimmy, I was one of the most prolific practical jokers against him.  If I found him passed out somewhere, it seemed that I just couldn't get myself to pass by without playing some kind of practical joke on him, like tying his shoes together or something childish like that.  To this day I wonder if he knew that.  I'll never know, because he had so much class, that even if he did, he would have never let me know it. So as I sit here, I agonize over that decades later, because that miserable dope fiend ended up teaching me about everything I know about the importance of maintaining a sense of humanity, and he nurtured everything that sustains my life today.  But Harriett was the only one with the empathy to see the inhumanity in the way we treated Jimmy, and she had the courage of her convictions. She dropped lifelong friends over Jimmy, including Jimmy's wife - and I don't mean temporarily; I mean, permanently!  She even got on my ass over him once, but she gave me a pass because I was so young.
.
But Harriett had the last laugh, because by the time that's being discussed here, Jimmy had become one of the most impressive and respected personalities in the community. While Jimmy wasn't a hustler, he could walk into Ronnie's any day of the week and command the respect of everybody in the place, and everybody loved seeing him coming - ESPECIALLY, if he had his gig bag slung across his shoulder. Harriett helped to make that happen - and not because she wanted him, but because she was a devoted friend. I think the only reason they ended up together was because Jimmy made such an impressive comeback, and so fast, that it made her fall in love with him, as it did the entire community, including his wayward wife - who USED to be Harriet's best friend, until she deserted Jimmy for another man and left him to die in the street. But when she deserted Jimmy, Harriet immediately dropped her as a friend, and due to Harriet's stature in the community, that meant Wanda also lost a lot of other "friends." She went from the A list to the Z list, almost overnight. The love between Harriett and Jimmy was one of those rare stories in the hood that had a happy ending. It was clear to everybody who knew them that Jimmy was the man that Harriett had been waiting for. It was also clear that Harriett was the woman who Jimmy needed. They were very happy and devoted to each other, because they DESERVED one another.  But that's another story - and a very tender one - but I digress.
.
I used to hang on to every word of these ghetto aristocrats. I would listen to their stories, and live a vicarious life through theirs. But what I really loved most was their music. It literally painted a portrait of who they were. They’d fill Ronnie’s juke box up with coins and one monster after another would flow from it’s speakers - Miles, Trane, Bird, and they loved Jimmy Smith.  Areatha was the new kid on the block. She hadn’t really established which direction she was going at that time, but everybody assumed that she was going to be a jazz star, because the only thing by her on the juke box was "Sky Lark."
.
Yeah, those were the days, but what I remember most was how suave and gracefully those enigmatic products of adversity would glide across the floor. With diamonds gleaming from their manicured fingers gently pinching the seam of their trousers, and the light altering the colors of their sharkskin suits, they seemed to be dancing on a cushion of air as they did the "Soft Shoe" to what they seemed to have adopted as their collective theme song - Killer Joe.
.

.
No, we don't see nothing like 'em today, and I don't think we ever will again . . .  because they were the product of a bygone era - an era that I miss tremendously, and one that will continue to live, as long as I do.
The Eulipians
.
Some of the greatest minds I've ever known
held court while sitting on empty milk crates
in the parking lot of ghetto liquor stores.
At their feet I embraced the love of knowledge,
And through their tutelage defined self-worth
In my own terms.
.

These were the "Eulipians" — writers, poets,
musicians, hustlers, and uncommon drunks —
those shade-tree philosophers who
contemplate the fungus between the
toes of society;
Who danced with reckless abandon,
unfettered by formal inhibition,
through the presumptuous
speculation of the ages;
Who live in county jails, cardboard boxes,
alley ways, and luxury Apartments.
Insignificant here in Great Bruteland,
but of ultimate significance in the eyes of God.
.
While these obscure intellectuals
stood well outside the mainstream
of academy, I watched
with astonished delight as
they sang, scat, and scribed their various

philosophies into the mainstream of human knowledge.
.
Their philosophy?
knowledge is free, thus,
will transcend attempts
to be contained through barriers
of caste or privilege,
leaving man's innate thirst
for knowledge free to someday
overwhelm his passionate lust for stupidity.

.
The Eulipians
http://wattree.blogspot.com/2014/11/the-eulipians.html
.
So yes, I'm the quintessential hood rat, but if you think that your education from Harvard or Yale is superior to my own, I hereby challenge you to bring it on:
.
THE HOOD RAT
.
Baby,
I’m sure you know that I love you.
You’re everything I need.
You fit the bill of all my desires,
a perfect match for all of my dreams.
From the moment I first laid eyes on you,
You were everything I craved -
that luscious vision
from across the tracks,
that delicate flower,
just beyond this hood rat's blade.
*
But what you ask is foreign to me.
You need something that I’m not.
You said, just tweak my nature a little bit,
and you’ll give everything you’ve got.
*
But that "tweak" you need is who I am -
it’s my essence, can’t you see?
So how can you speak of loving my soul,
yet, not the hood rat that makes me, me?
*
While "hood rat" may seem trite to you,
it’s the very essence of my being.
So forget about what other’s say,
here’s what it means to me:
*
I’ve been brutally dragged through the pits of hell,
yet, managed to survive,
well educated, and fully functional,
when I came out the other side.
I scrounged the lessons taught at Harvard -
because knowledge, I found, was free.
But they’ll never obtain the lessons I’ve learned -
or my knowledge of adversity.
*
While the "elite" may have heard a mournful Trane,
or Miles muted on a Summer night,
not in the context of hunger and pain,
or hopelessness, hatred, and blight.
*           
So while I've lived the life of a hood rat,
I’ve reaped a knowledge that money can't buy; 
a knowledge passed on to my son and daughter,
which has greatly enhanced their lives.
Thus, I wouldn't change a thing about my life -
I’ve faced hell and passed the test.
I have a PhD in adversity, and
it's made me much more,
rather than less.
*
So unlike the people at Harvard and Yale,
who try to buy intellectual clout,
they only study the genius of Miles and Trane,
while I'm who they’re talkin' about.
*
So when snobs try to slur me as "just a hood rat,"
I say, "thank you," and don’t take offense.
I take great pride in surviving the pits of Hell -
That’s what gives me my confidence.
*
The Ivy League degrees of those of means
are only paper compared to mine;
they merely have a "receipt"
for what's suppose o be  knowledge,
while my  knowledge is ETCHED in my mind.
*
I can TEACH philosophy to Aristotle and Plato
with the adversity that I’ve endured,
and any snob who seeks to match my wit,
will come up short, and
that’s for sure.
*
Snobs walk about quoting Socrates and such,
because through their "education" they are prone;
but while they’re spewing the thoughts of various dead men,
I spend my time developing my own.
*
Because we should never give the thoughts of ANY man,
living or dead, priority over our own;
collect the facts, and think for yourself,
that’s where
Harvard and Yale has gone wrong.
*
Preacher, politician, potentate or monk,
whatever their tale or point of view,
God didn't give them anything,
that he failed to also give you. 
*
And being seen as a hood rat has its advantages -
especially against racists of limited wit;
I simply quietly wait for their condescension,
then show ‘em that they ain’t shit.
*
God made birds to fly, fish to swim,
and man to think and that's the key.
So any man who claims to be superior
will have to PROVE his wit to me.
*
Thus, knowledge is the key to set us free -
it doesn’t matter what the people say,
and there’s nothing more formidable than
a knowledgeable hood rat, and
that’s what you’re looking upon today.
.
Yet, these are the things you want me to purge -
you want me to spurn the life I’ve led,
but I’m sorry, my love,
as much as I adore you,
the soul of a hood rat is my edge.
.

.
RELATED CONTENT
.
 Eric L. Wattree
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)
.
Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

Sphere: Related Content

Monday, August 22, 2016

Presenting Ms. Rita Edmond - Meet The Contemporary Face of True Jazz Royalty (UPDATE)

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

PROLOGUE


AN APPEAL TO PRESERVE BLACK CULTURE
.
I’m a lifelong musician who’s been devoted to jazz every since I was a child, and I take great pride in what jazz has contributed to the Black community, America, and the world. I also have a deep devotion to my culture. For both of those reasons I’ve decided to devote much of my waking hours to the promotion of a woman who I’m convinced is highly significant to what Black people represent as a culture, and as an artistic force in the world. Her name is Rita Edmond, and she’s come along at just the right time, because the jazz world really needs someone like her now. But due to America’s current self-serving environment, its elitist media is completely ignoring her, and it’s a slap in the face of jazz. It’s, literally, like ignoring Sarah Vaughan.
.
But this situation is not just a result of the White establishment alone. It’s also a result of what many Black people have allowed themselves to become. It’s sad that I even have to make this appeal for an artist of this caliber. In the past, jazz flourished because musicians promoted one another. Back in the day Jimmy Heath would have told a promoter or club owner, “If you like me, you’ll also like a guy by the name John Coltrane. You need to check him out.” Jimmy would do that in the name of jazz, because he recognized that by promoting jazz, he was also promoting himself.  Thelonious Monk even went to jail for Bud Powell to prevent Bud from being barred from playing in New York, because Monk knew that Bud was good for jazz. But today the attitude seems to be, “I got mine, so you’re just gonna to have to struggle like I did.” Many even go so far as to HIDE possible connections - and then we wonder why our traditions are disappearing. So the very last thing we should want is for someone like Rita Edmond to be a secret, because she’s not just another singer; she’s without a doubt one of the most significant jazz divas alive in the world today.
.
As Black people, we’ve  got to start recognizing our priorities. This is our CULTURE we’re talking about here, and the failure to promote it whenever, and however, we can only serves to diminish it. Yet, many Black people fail to support the very best in who we are. Rita has only one stumbling block - when it comes to the Black culture, the American media has conditioned us to fixate on only one thing, the booty-shacking frivolity of entertainment. I’m not criticizing entertainment, but a culture has to be recognized for more than just shaking their booty to gain and maintain the world’s respect. It was the dazzling technical abilities of people like Dizzy, Bird, Monk and Miles that made the world begin to recognize that there was much more to Black people than the slow-minded Stepin Fetchit-like people in which we had previously been portrayed. Thus, it was the seriousness of jazz as an art form that brought the Black culture into the modern world, and musicologists at universities and conservatories all over this planet are still scratching their heads and trying to figure out what Bird was doing over 60 years after his death. 
.
In that regard, people in nations as far flung as Russia and Thailand have thrown flowers at Rita’s feet, fans have come to Thailand from as far away as Japan just to hear her sing, and when she was leaving Russia people met her at the train station with roses, and a young piano prodigy (whose father brought him to several of Rita’s performances) ran up and hugged her. These people gave her that kind of love because they recognize and appreciate excellence, and they know that Rita is a part of a great tradition. But most importantly, these people haven’t been subjected to the Hillbilly mentality of America’s attitude towards Black culture. So they see this woman for what she is - a world-class talent. Rita Edmond is not just an entertainer . . . she’s an artist - and one of the world’s greatest.  Check her out for yourself:
.
Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

.
Presenting Ms. Rita Edmond - Meet The Contemporary Face of True Jazz Royalty
http://wattree.blogspot.com/2016/08/presenting-ms-rita-edmond-meet.html
.
Presenting Ms. Rita Edmond - Meet The Contemporary Face of True Jazz Royalty
.
If you’re a jazz lover and want to look upon the contemporary face of jazz royalty, take a moment to go check out Ms. Rita Edmond on Youtube. She's the jazz world's best kept secret.  She's currently working on her third CD, but even on her first CD, she made it abundantly clear to this writer that she hit the ground fully seasoned as one of the greatest jazz singers alive today. I know, that's a mighty lofty claim to heap onto the shoulders of a relatively new artist, but I'm not given to hyperbole, so I fully intend to back up my assertion with the contents and attachments to this piece.
.
Ms. Edmond moves between sultry sophistication, hard driving swing, and childlike innocence without any effort at all. There are many great singers out there , but from the very first bar of anything Rita does, she clearly distinguishes herself as one of those rare individuals who was born to do exactly what she’s doing, and nothing else. She swings with the effortless grace of a Sliver Shadow cruisin' down Pacific Coast Highway, and her ballads are lush with sultry passion, personal depth, and individuality.
.
You can't "learn" to sing like Rita Edmond. You either have it, or you don't, and there's only one or two lucky few in a generation who do - but Rita, like Ella and Sarah, is one of those lucky few. But don’t just take my word for it, go check her out for yourself and I’m sure you’ll agree with me that she’s a once in a generation talent, and clearly the heir apparent to some of the greatest divas that jazz has ever known.
.
Along with this piece I'm attaching three links to make my point - ‘Here’s to Life,’ ‘Embraceable You' (Live at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art) , and ‘It Might As Well Be Spring’ - and each tune shows a different side of her tremendous, and still growing, musical personality.
.
‘Here’s to Life’ is a beautiful ballad that’s been done by some of the greatest singers who’s ever lived, yet Ms. Edmond’s version is as good or better than any version of this tune that’s ever been recorded. The soaring passion that she brings to this tune makes it almost impossible for anyone who’s ever had to struggle through life’s adversities to listen to with a dry eye.  Artie Butler - the multi-Grammy Award winning composer (and Barbara Streisand's musical director) - said of Ms. Edmond, "Rita Edmond knows exactly what to do with a song like 'Here's To Life.' She brings the listener into the music as she sings, making you feel she's singing just for you. That's indeed a gift."
.
'Embraceable You,' (featuring Harold Land, Jr. on piano) demonstrates the ease in which she can establish the mood of a song and captivate an audience. It also shows an artist who is so comfortable in serenading an audience that it seems like she was born on stage. And after the piano solo, notice the effortless spontaneity in which she throws in a lick that's so exquisite that it sounds like it should have been written into the tune. You won't be able to miss it because the audience places an exclamation point of approval immediately afterward, as she casually, and routinely, moves on to the next phrase, as though it's all in a night's work. 
.
Rita Edmond and Phil Woods Protégé
and International
Jazz Great, Robert Anchipolosky
Finally, she does ‘It Might As Well Be Spring,’ a tried and true jazz standard. Not everyone can do this tune well, because it’s such a jazz staple that it’s hard for a singer to put their personal stamp on it, and whenever they try, they either over sing or under sing the tune.  But Rita swings through it effortlessly and makes it her own. King Pleasure himself would smile at her rendition.
.
I also wanted to add Ms. Edmond's rendition of ‘This Can’t Be Love’ as an attachment, but unfortunately, it's not available on Youtube. Nevertheless, it deserves a mention. On that tune Ms. Edmond displays yet another part of her musical vocabulary - her growing chops as a scatter and her ability to swing with the best of them. In this case, she scats in unison with yet another powerhouse, tenor sax player Ricky Woodard, and they’re pushed forward by the hard driving rhythms of Albert ‘Tootie’ Heath of the illustrious Heath Brothers on drums - and when it comes to the aristocracy of jazz, they don’t come any more blue-blooded than Tootie. She's also regularly accompanied by Nancy Wilson's keyboard player, Llew Matthews, who has also played with legendary jazz giants such as Jackie McLean and Woody Shaw, and the sweet-struttin' Edwin Livingston on bass.  So Rita is regularly being tested by fire, and she literally dances through the flames with blissful abandon.
.
Earlier this year Ms. Edmond toured Russia, bringing the house down with the late Phil Woods' protégé, Robert Anchipolosky, and at this writing she's wrapping up a three month gig at  the luxurious Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, where she's doing her part to show jazz lovers, politicians, and  ambassadors from all over the world what we bring to the table.  She's also just completed a project with  her good friend and fabulous sax player, Dale Fielder, "Resiliance,"on the Clarion Jazz label that's monstrous. While very contemporary in it's concept, the quality of musicianship is a throwback to the way the big boys used to do it. 
.  
Ms. Edmond approaches jazz like she's been here before; it's like she walked on stage fresh from 52nd Street. For that reason, whenever I hear her sing it makes my eyes moist, because I can here Ella and Sarah whispering softly in the background, "Show 'em how it's done, baby girl." And she has a natural musical kinship to Dexter Gordon, whether she's singing a ballad or swinging, and when you're as familiar with Dexter Gordon's music as I am (his family lived two blocks away from my grandparents, and my mother went to Jefferson High School with him), it's a scary thing to watch. Her approach to phrasing and the feeling she evokes is the exactly the same kind of feeling that Dexter had on his tenor.  I played Dexter for her doing "You've Changed," and she said, "Hey!  He sounds just like me!"  I had to laugh. I told her, "No, Rita, You sound like HIM."

Rita with the former Australian Ambassador,
Ireland Ambassador, and the
Portuguese Ambassador
But in spite of her talent, Ms.  Edmond is a very innocent sort whose emotions are always very close to the surface - I think that may be the key to the beauty of her musicianship, but in spite of her unassuming manner, when she picks up a mic someone else emerges.  Just the touch of a mic seems to transform her. It gives her a  tremendous confidence, and a unique sense of individualism that serves to produce a flawless musical delivery - a delivery that seems to say, “There’s a new diva in town,” and I say, it’s about time!
.
PS: Something just happened that made my blood run cold. I didn't know whether or not it was appropriate to mention it in the context of this article, but it was such a coincident that I feel that I would be remiss if I didn't say something about it.  As I was writing about the kinship of the music of Dexter Gordon and Rita Edmond - before I posted - I received a contact. It was from Dexter's wife, Maxine Gordon (or as Dex would call her, "Lady Gordon").  She sent me a friend request.  My last contact with her was over two years ago, so that was one hell of a coincident . . . or was it?  
.

.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4SZXO9-jrc
.

Eric L. Wattree
wattree.blogspot.com
.
Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

Sphere: Related Content