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Mitzi Kay Jackson

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Musical Presentation The Other “Strange Fruit”
By Mitzi Kay Jackson   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Sunday, December 18, 2011
Posted: Sunday, December 18, 2011

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Professor L. Davis

“Music is one of the most powerful sensations, it is all about sound and sound starts with vibration” (from lecture notes). There are two ways to incorporate or acquire music through the experience of hearing and listening to what sounds are coming from this music and the subject matter etc. What most excites me and define me in music comes from some of the instruments that are used. Out of a lot of the songs I enjoy, I have noticed that they have a strong bass line, be it the bass, the bass guitar, which in looking at the personality of the bass, which isn’t necessarily a spotlight instrument, but if called upon will take its place under the spotlight and show out, that is definitely me. I am more of a background, foundation type person, I would much rather be behind the scenes, wouldn’t mind fame, can do without being famous.

     The second instrument is the drum, African drum preferably, but the drum just as well and for the same reason as the bass another background instrument. The drum to me one of the first communication system set-up in answer to slavery and slave conditions, the drum have roots deep like the river, deep ancestral roots. Which is me, I love that I am Black, and the roots and ties that I am a part of. The drum, yes reminds me of my heartbeat, but more so of my roots. The drum reminds me of the south, it remind me of “hoofing” or tap dancing and all the other creative ways and things that Black people did to ensure our survival, it reminds me of a resillence and I love being a black woman. It reminds me that blacks created jazz and the blues, that is what the drums bring to mind, the same as with the bass guitar. Think about B. B. King’s “Lucille”, Samuel Jackson’s music in “Black Snake Moan”, Badu’s “Child With the Blues” for the movie Eve’s Bayou, man I love that music and the sounds that comes from the blues and non-classical jazz both which incorporates the bass guitar and drums.

     The third instrument that defines me is a wind instrument; it is the flute and all variation of the flute. The flute is unique as an instrument; it gives off a very unique sound. I am a unique person. I tend to stand out from the crowd whether for good or bad I am not always sure but I am not so common. I also say flute because it is one of the lighter wind instruments and it ‘s sound can come off as words or this strange kind of language (which some people have compared my poetry too). The sound of words put together in a poem put me in mind of the flute and I love to play with words especially when I am writing poetry. The flute is interchangeable in; it can be a part of classical, deep southern blues to opera still staying true to its sound and while standing amongst the rest of the band or ensemble. No matter where I go or what group of people I am put in I stay true to myself and make and/or play my part/role.

     My musical selection comes from one of my favorite jazz vocalist Cassandra Wilson, performing one of my other favorite Jazz singers Billie Holiday, from Wilson’s CD entitled “New Moon Daughter”. This CD is one of my top ten favorite CD’s and it is a CD I can just pop in my CD player and let play over and over again. The song inparticular is “Strange Fruit”. “Most JAZZ/BLUES enthusiasts would think no one could do the classic "Strange Fruit" after Billie Holiday. Wrong. Cassandra Wilson is a poet who boldly uses her jazz voice to stretch the limits of traditional jazz. In her most recent album, New Moon Daughter (Blue Note), she brings attention to the words, not the form. Her poetic style treats the words as sound as opposed to staying within the familiar musical structures. Typical of jazz is a formulaic style in which each verse builds upon the next until the "hook."” (Nehanda Imara) I agree totally and it is one of my favorite songs on the CD. It defines me in that it tells a story of a part of my history, this song moves me, it is a song that I have heard and listened too. I love the arrangements of this song; it is kind of offbeat and different, a little strange and unusual, it is laid back with pop and that is all a part of my characteristics me.


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