Like It’s 1994/95: Uhuru

A recurring introspective retrospective of my music as it sounded twenty years earlier. In early 1994, I took my first trip to Europe, spending a week in Lyon where my music was heard at a university dance festival as well as in the subway for a pop up freestyle contemporary dance event. I spent the latter part of the year working on the indie cassette release Uhuru, which would come out the following spring, and playing keyboards and percussion in a post-punk band. In early 1995, another dance score was heard in London. In late 1995, I began graduate studies at York University, returning nine years after I had first arrived as an undergraduate.

Throughout this period, I continued to hold down a full time retail job selling classical and jazz CDs in Yorkville, as well as freelancing as a composer for dance and theatre. I also got my first taste of hosting college radio. It was my most active period being involved in music in general.

November 1994 rec. February 1995. 8 voices (2 per part), 8 track reel-to-reel. Begins with a row on the seven pitches of the diatonic scale. The pronunciation of uhuru was conflated with “yoo hoo” although I now prefer the proper initial “u” sound. This is life before autotune, for better or worse. Photo: handwritten score excerpt, 1995

Music and composer’s notes copyright Bruce A. Russell 2014

All These Things

Taiguara ft. Hermeto Pascoal & Wagner Tiso “Samba das Cinco”
F major, final chord: D-flat major

Bebel Gilberto “Samba da Benção” (backing track: Amon Tobin “Nova”)
D-flat major

Esperanza Spalding “Ponte de Areia”
D-flat major

Aline Morales “Como Pólen”
F-sharp minor

Airto Moreira “The Happy People”
F major, transition on G minor

Banda Black Rio “Mr. Funky Samba”
G minor

Djavan “Nereci” ft. Marianzinha
A minor, transition on E open fifth

Carlos Dafé “De Alegria Raiou O Dia”
E minor

Antonio Adolfo & A Brazuca “Transamazônica” (excerpt)
E minor, transition on G minor/C

Gilberto Gil “Maracatu Atomico”
G minor

Robson Jorge & Lincoln Olivetti “Aleluia”
G major in key of C, transition on F minor riff

Flora Purim “From the Lonely Afternoon”
F minor

Tim Maia “O Caminho Do Bem”
D minor

Paulinho da Costa “Déjà vu” ft. Philip Bailey
D minor, D-sharp minor

Sergio Mendes & The New Brasil ’77 “The Real Thing”
D-sharp minor

Burnier & Cartier “Mirandolina”
F minor, A-flat major

Jazzanova “Gafiera” ft. Pedro Martins & Azymuth
F minor

Elis Regina “Tereza Sabe Sambar”
B minor

Arthur Verocai “Na Boca Do Sol”
B minor

Toninho Horta w/Orquestra Fantasma “Aquelas Coisas Todas (Sanguessuga)”
B minor, E major/minor

A L L T H E S E T H I N G S

At the invitation of São Paulo-based DJ Petri Glad on the occasion of World Cup 2014, here are a few well-loved songs composed and/or performed by Brazilians (and one Brazilian Canadian).

Also on request, I’ve provided simplified key information for each song to better illustrate where harmonic mixing (key matching or transitioning) has sometimes been employed.

I B R Λ H I M ΞL M Λ H B O O B
July 2014

Get It up for Love, Five Pianos Re:cover

This is based on Táta Vega’s 1978 cover of the song by Ned Doheny, played downtempo. It is for multiple pianos and combines elements of contemporary classical, jazz and popular dance music. The track could serve as a demo for a live performance, or for a studio recording with acoustic pianos.

The first two pianos, the bassline and main chordal part, were recorded in an evening as a last minute favour for a producer friend. An additional three pianos – lead/solo, second bass/chord and repeating patterns – were added over the next several evenings. A notated version would condense the music to four pianos (score pending).

The piece is faithful to the original material, with a layer of variations added later on, especially in the long outro section. The spirit is one of fun and admiration for the artist and repertoire.

Recorded March 27-31, 2014
Roland digital piano direct to GarageBand, no effects
All playing is live; no programming, looping or quantization

Original recording on Motown arranged by Al Johnson, produced by Winston Monseque, co-produced by André Fischer

Music copyright Warner Music Group and Longdog Music (ASCAP)

This arrangement and notes copyright Bruce A. Russell 2014

Spring Affair

Peter Brown | Without Love
Deniece Williams | How’d I Know That Love Would Slip Away
Táta Vega | Mr. Troublemaker
Greg Phillinganes | Lazy Nina
Ronnie Laws | All for You
Patrice Rushen | Music of the Earth
Michael Wycoff | Looking Up to You
Herbie Hancock | Stars in Your Eyes (Special Disco Remix)
Pleasure | I’m Mad
Donald Byrd | Love Has Come Around
Evelyn “Champagne” King | What Are You Waiting For
Loleatta Holloway | Love Sensation
Logg | Something Else
Donna Summer | Spring Affair
Gene Harris | Losalamitoslatinfunklovesong

Spring Affair

1974-1985

Analog keys, horns, vibes, strings, human drummers and sangin’

Classics with a tempo flow and a little harmonic mixing (no pitch shifting)

Dedicated with love, love, love to Nehal El-Hadi (aka Nina), writer, poet,
researcher, producer, my wife and mother/stepmother of our children

Thank you also to Nehal for the title graphic on the cover photo

I B R Λ H I M ΞL M Λ H B O O B
April 2014

Golden Beats

Bilal | Back to Love
Quadron | LFT
Toto ft. Cheryl Lynn | Georgy Porgy
Gino Vannelli | Fly into this Night
Manzel | Midnight Theme (Dopebrother 12 Inch Remix)
The Emotions | There’ll Never Be Another Moment
Earth, Wind & Fire | Beijo (Interlude) ‧ Brazilian Rhyme
D.J. Rogers | Love Will Make It Better
Pockets | Come Go with Me
Donny Hathaway | Come Little Children
Gregory Porter | 1960 What? (Opolopo Kick & Bass Rerub)
Thundercat | Oh Sheit It’s X
Wally Badarou | He Was a Rasta in London Town
Rufus ft. Chaka Khan | At Midnight (My Love Will Lift You Up)
George Duke | Psychosomatic Dung
Sparkle | Let Yourself Go
The Staples | Love Me, Love Me, Love Me
Doug Carn ft. Jean Carne | Naima
Laura Mvula | Diamonds

Mixed by El Mahboob
Southward Equinox 2013

Golden Beats

Special focus on Kalimba Productions
(The Emotions, Earth, Wind & Fire, D.J. Rogers and Pockets)

RIP George Duke

Best of 2011/2012

The past 24 months have been full of wonderful blessings and have witnessed the happiest period of my life so far. Alhamdulillah, for all that has been given.

It thus seems fitting to me, in doing a best of list, to look at the last two years as a whole. Here’s what has brought (re)new(ed)ness to the personal soundtrack, in no particular order (other than stream of consciousness)…

Returnings: Music of Ann Southam – Eve Egoyan, piano (Centrediscs, 2011)

Glass Houses Revisited – music of Ann Southam; Christina Petrowska Quilico, piano (Centrediscs, 2011)

Soundings for a New Piano – music of Ann Southam; R. Andrew Lee, piano (Irritable Hedgehog, 2011)

Jürg Frey: Piano Music – R. Andrew Lee, piano (Irritable Hedgehog, 2012)

The Northern Shore – music of Barbara Monk Feldman; Sabat/Clarke and Aki Takahashi (Mode, 2012)

Undercurrents: CONTACT Performs the Music of Jordan Nobles – CONTACT Contemporary Music (Redshift, 2011)

Until the Quiet Comes – Flying Lotus (Warp, 2012)

Seeds – Georgia Anne Muldrow (Someothaship CONNECT, 2012)

Radio Music Society – Esperanza Spalding (Heads Up International, 2012)

Black Radio – Robert Glasper Experiment (Blue Note, 2012)

Brand New Wayo: Funk, Fast Times & Nigerian Boogie Madness 1979-1983 – Various Artists (Comb & Razor, 2011)

Music of Vladimir Martynov – Kronos Quartet (Nonesuch, 2012)

WTC 9/11, Mallet Quartet, Dance Patterns – music of Steve Reich; Kronos Quartet, Sō Percussion, Steve Reich & Musicians (Nonesuch, 2011)

Symphony No. 9 – music of Philip Glass; Bruckner Orchester Linz, Dennis Russell Davies, conductor (Orange Mountain, 2012)

Seeing is Believing – music of Nico Muhly, William Byrd and Orlando Gibbons; Thomas Gould, violin; Aurora Orchestra, Nicholas Collon, conductor (Decca, 2011)

Adam’s Lament – music of Arvo Pärt; Latvian Radio Choir, Vox Clamantis, Sinfonietta Riga, Tõnu Kaljuste, conductor (ECM, 2012)

Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima / Popcorn Superhet Receiver / Polymorphia / 48 Responses to Polymorphia – music of Krzysztof Penderecki and Jonny Greenwood; AUKSO Orchestra, Krzysztof Penderecki and Marek Moś, conductors (Nonesuch, 2012)

Son of Chamber Symphony / String Quartet – music of John Adams; International Contemporary Ensemble, John Adams, conductor and St. Lawrence String Quartet (Nonesuch, 2011)

January edits:

Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi, The Four Seasons – Daniel Hope, violin; Konzerthaus Kammerorchester Berlin, André de Ridder, conductor (Deutsche Grammophon, 2012)

Pour une âme souveraine – a Dedication to Nina Simone – Meshell Ndegeocello (naïve, 2012)

Pink – Four Tet (Text, 2012)

Happy New Year to all the readers and followers of El Mahboob, and all my best to you for 2013.