Monthly Archives: June 2017

Detroit and Soul Music History

They say the birth of soul came in the 1950s, when the parents of gospel and jazz came together to form a more contemporary and dance-friendly style of music.

The Motor City is no doubt the backbone of modern soul and R&B. It became a powerhouse and industry standard for soul music throughout the country, competing with Atlantic Records and Stax for chart-topping hits throughout the 60s.


The one thing that stands out about Detroit’s golden era of soul music, which isn’t covered very often in many music documentaries or biographies, is the reverberation and inspiration drawn during the civil rights era occurring alongside its timeline.

Soul music isn’t just a genre, its black poetry set to the sounds that emanate from the soul.

If that sounds like a profound statement to be made, well, it’s the only way to describe what anyone feels when they identify deeply with the lyrics, the passion, and the power that soul music provides to black culture.


As with practically every music genre in history, once soul music began to dominate the charts and the money showed record labels, the music scene began to fill with copycats and water-down imitations, inspired by the pop movement craze overseas in the UK.

They began using elements of Motown’s greatness to appeal to wider audiences, i.e. white suburbia, even though soul music was very popular with nearly every demographic.

As the inner cities began to transform, gentrification and appropriation of black culture began to push Detroit communities to the breaking point, spurring the infamous Detroit riots in 1967. The destruction spelt the end of the once dominant and influential city of Detroit, as well as the golden era of soul for Motown Records. During their final years, Motown churned out, arguable, their most soulful and raw records of their time, with lyrics laced in civil rights violence, suffocating poverty, calls for peace and unity; even Marvin’s soothing voice could not turn the tides.


After the destruction and fall of a city that lead the country in both music and manufacturing, there came a new era of soul music, even with Motown now relegated to Hollywood pop hits. In Detroit, new eras of electronic music were giving way. Dance and techno exploded on the scene, the younger generations’ music didn’t sound the same, but it shared that same spark of music pioneering that Detroit is infamous for.


Along with the new era of electronics brought more tools to produce, birthing the next major black culture of hip-hop. Hip hop is a culture that is derived from soul, the poetry is sped up, but the elements of expression and raw emotion are all there. It didn’t happen until the late 90s, but Detroit officially gave birth to a new genre of soul music, dubbed “Neo-soul”, which was created from the sounds of the late hip-hop producer James “Dilla” Dewitt Yancey.

His heavy sampling of classic soul records and basement sounds of the hard-hitting 808 drums is his signature, which left big impressions on soulful R&B singers, like Lauren Hill, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, and Amel Larrieux. Who partially owe their success to his creative genius and love for Detroit soul.

A Brief Music History Of The Gleeman

As Europe recovered from the savagery and barbarism, in the centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire. Two distinct types of music were available, and was represented by two different people of the time, the Monk and the Minstrel or Gleeman.

The Monk lived and worked quietly behind the strong walls of his monastery. The Minstrel, traveled from town to town all over the land mixing with all classes of society, the friend and favourite of every one, utterly destitute of all status, and a man whom it was scarcely a crime to defraud or kill. The letter of music dwelt in the monasteries, but the spirit of music, staggered drunk, wandering aimlessly, yet providing popular music for the masses. (I know some keyboard players that fit that description)

The Minstrels were poor and walked to there destinations. As well as Minstrels, there were Acrobats, Jugglers and Mountebanks who use to sell magic potions that could cure any ailment and entertained with stories and jokes. These entertainers were regarded as extremely important and even vital for the social economy of the Middle Ages, and are thought to have been a direct survival of the gladiatorial caste of Imperial Rome.

With more peaceful times, emerged an art, more entitled to the name of Minstrelsy, than the poor performance of the strollers who entertained at castle gates and market places. For a long period, Provence was the most peaceful place in Europe, and in that sunny place, Minstrelsy was greatly accepted by the rich and poor. From the eleventh century, the Troubadours were treated with honour and respect.

The history of the Troubadour as existing in Provenge, in the days prior to the Albigensian Crusade, forms one of the most interesting and unique episodes in musical and literary history. The social position of the Troubadours was a curious one. Recruited, as was the order, from all ranks of society, the Troubadour might be the son of a knight, as was Guiilem de Cabestanh; or he might belong to the trading classes, as did Peire Vidal, the son of a furrier at Toulouse. In any sphere of life, however, the fact of being a Troubadour at once placed a man on a sort of equality with the greatest, for a Troubadour was essentially a privileged person.

You would think that the Troubadour would have a lot in common with the Minstrel, but the Troubadour had no love for the Minstrel and at every opportunity would talk down to the Minstrel with sarcastic cruelty.

History of Jazz Music in Kansas City

From its beginnings as nothing more than a simple trading post on the banks of the Missouri river, to its raucous heyday in the 1920’s and 30’s, Kansas City has retained the independent spirit of its frontier beginnings. Even though an assortment of colorful characters, cowboys, politicians, criminals, and even wagon trains populate the history of Kansas City, you can forget everything you’ve ever heard about it being a “cow town.” Today, the outgrowth of that colorful history and frontier spirit radiates energetically throughout the city
and its populace.

Widely regarded as the birthplace of Jazz. KC’s early reputation as a “wide-open, anything goes” city captivated and allured the musical performers of the day. It’s central location and ease of access via rail were the other components which induced this musical migration. Kansas City became a haven for musicians and fans alike.

The musicians, who interpreted their experiences in KC’s permissive environment through their music, were also creating the elastic techniques and musical license, which remain at the heart of Jazz today. The hub of this development was the
18th and Vine district. Many legendary musicians, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Turner and Charlie Parker to name a few, made their way to Kansas City. Their connection to one another and to the Kansas City “scene” brought about a unique musical expansion which enriched the city’s history and initiated the genesis of Jazz.

Kansas City’s affiliation with Jazz is celebrated daily at the American Jazz Museum
in the 18th and Vine District and nightly at clubs and restaurants throughout the city.
Live Jazz and Blues are still an important part of the Kansas City entertainment and nightlife scene.