MUSIC: Melvin Van Peebles and the Burnt Sugar Arkestra
Excerpt from NYTIMES: He’s Got It Bad, or ‘Baad,’ for His Art, from Ben Sisario’s interview.
ASK Melvin Van Peebles about his legacy, and you get a snort, a grimace, a wave of the hand, a game-show error buzz and a finely punctuated “come on.”
Burnt Sugar has been described as a “funk-rock-electronic-samba-soul-jazz-fusion whatever ensemble” and counts among its influences Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis, Funkadelic, Bad Brains, Band of Gypsys, Sun Ra and Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi. Bandleader Greg Tate “plays the band” using a technique called conduction, which gets its name from the field of physics, and was developed by jazz conductor Butch Morris. Employing a series of gestures, baton twirls, eye contact, and facial expressions that are used to communicate directions to the band, the bandleader can change the melodic and harmonic structure, creating a one-time composition that could not have been predicted nor repeated.
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