Master Class: Show ‘Em How To Do This, Sons! Music-Loving Dad Creates Classic LP Cover Remixes Starring His Sons

Classic Album Cover Remixes Created By a Music-Loving Dad, Starring His Adorable Sons

 Lance Underwood, father of two sons uses his tumblr page to share his remixed photoshopped versions of classic lp covers from across musical genres – Rock, Soul, R&B, Country, Jazz, Spoken Word, Comedy, Hip Hop – to amazing results.

Check the technique below:

 tumblr_myipqlQCAj1sv1bfuo1_500-1tumblr_myg1v5u97N1sv1bfuo1_500tumblr_myg1snb80T1sv1bfuo1_500tumblr_myg1qa7ZkC1sv1bfuo1_500

1397725373-2Image credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance Underwood

His kids also have a few of their own offerings – original music coupled with original visuals  – and there’s also examples of dad’s work for some other folks and the coffee table book he did compiling the work he and his little men have done together.

I don’t know if I’ve seen a better way to actively teach your kids about culture and the proper utilization of tech tools. He’s teaching history, technology and respect for icons and their creations while inspiring them to create their own art and showing them how.

If that’s not providing a living example tell me what is.

Please.

A lot of dads get a bad rap – sometimes deserved, sometimes not.  Nice to see one of the club getting recognized for providing knowledge, culture and Love as his son’s foundation for the future.

Salute, Lance Underwood & sons!

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Master Class: Show ‘Em How To Do This, Sons! Music-Loving Dad Creates Classic LP Cover Remixes Starring His Sons

Classic Album Cover Remixes Created By a Music-Loving Dad, Starring His Adorable Sons

 Lance Underwood, father of two sons uses his tumblr page to share his remixed photoshopped versions of classic lp covers from across musical genres – Rock, Soul, R&B, Country, Jazz, Spoken Word, Comedy, Hip Hop – to amazing results.

Check the technique below:

 tumblr_myipqlQCAj1sv1bfuo1_500-1 tumblr_myg1v5u97N1sv1bfuo1_500 tumblr_myg1snb80T1sv1bfuo1_500 tumblr_myg1qa7ZkC1sv1bfuo1_500

 

1397725373-2Image credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance UnderwoodImage credit: Lance Underwood

His kids also have a few of their own offerings – original music coupled with original visuals  – and there’s also examples of dad’s work for some other folks and the coffee table book he did compiling the work he and his little men have done together.

I don’t know if I’ve seen a better way to actively teach your kids about culture and the proper utilization of tech tools. He’s teaching history, technology and respect for icons and their creations while inspiring them to create their own art and showing them how.

If that’s not providing a living example tell me what is.

Please.

A lot of dads get a bad rap – sometimes deserved, sometimes not.  Nice to see one of the club getting recognized for providing knowledge, culture and Love as his son’s foundation for the future.

Salute, Lance Underwood & sons!

Flavorwire

Take heed Lunchbox dads and fathers of cute Internet dogs: classic album cover remixes starring your two adorable sons are the new thing. Dad Lance Underwood recreates famous album covers and casts his sons Taj and Amar in the roles of musicians such as Bob Dylan, Nat King Cole, Marvin Gaye, and more. Judging by the amount of old-school hip hop, jazz, funk, and soul on his Tumblr, we’d say that Underwood’s sons are getting a fine education in music history. See more of Underwood’s fun album cover remakes, starring his extremely photogenic kids, below.

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Master Class – Gil Scott-Heron “Pieces of A Man”

Gil-Scott-Heron-Pieces-of-a-ManThis song was another one that haunted me when I was a kid.

I knew it meant something.

Something deep, something real and resounding.

I knew it was powerful. I just didn’t know why.

The melody is beautiful. Musically it’s just a simple series of piano chords but when coupled with the lyrics it becomes an amazing piece of work.

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You can’t simply call Gil Scott-Heron a poet, or a singer or even the forefather of Rap: he’s all those things but his ability to capture and reflect the pain, the plight and inner turmoil of a people, of a time and to present it in a voice plainfully and not maliciously is the kind of artistic gift that still amazes more than 40 years after first emerging.

The anger and contempt are there but it doesn’t drip, it doesn’t burn; it doesn’t even singe. It pricks, it prods … it begs introspection and reflection

When I was a kid I knew I was listening to something heavy, but I didn’t know why.

But even then I saw the men in my life in the song, felt their struggles were being depicted in the words and played out before me … but I just didn’t know why.

I couldn’t put it into words because I didn’t have them yet. I hadn’t experienced “it” yet.

Life was young and so was I.

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Now that I’m grown and have children of my own, have experienced and continue to experience the rising and falling of life and what it means to be a man, a Black man in this world I more than understand.

Though inevitable, this living, this seeing, this understanding, it still saddens me.

The third verse, “I saw the thunder and heard the lightning!/And felt the burden of his shame/And for some unknown reason/He never turned my way”, so powerfully conveys the powerless feeling of letting your Loved ones, your family, your children down it makes me tear up.

I know that feeling.

I didn’t when I was a child, but as a man, knowing how hard you’re trying and how you can’t seem to get a good grip on life, that the things you want, that your family need are just beyond your grasp … that they seem to slip through your fingers like sand or water, leaving granules in their wake or wetness, their residue confirming that you actually held them – had them! – for a moment however long, however fleeting, is the kind of pain that confirms that you are alive.

I hate that feeling.

Not a lot has changed since Gil Scott made this song.

It makes me sad. But at least I understand the men that were and are in my world, now that I am one.

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I met him once – twice, really. The first time in the living room of one of the men of my life, chilling, smoking, talking with Kwame Toure’. After saying hello and nonchalantly walking through the living room I came back in – awestruck – to greet two men who weren’t yet really my heroes, but magnificent, majestic monoliths all the same.

He was as cool as the shade on a hot southern summer day. With an easy smile, easygoing manner and his gravelly voice he made me feel more at home in the place that I was staying – just passing through, really – than I had my entire freshman year, there in a place I felt anything but at home.

Years later I’d see him in passing, but I don’t really think he remembered me or the time we’d met and he gave an young aspiring artist some encouraging words.

It didn’t matter.

I remembered him. His words. His smile. His warmth.

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I’ve been listening to GIl Scott, to this album and this song in particular a lot lately. I guess I’m just trying to put the pieces (back?) together again.

“I saw him go to pieces …
He was always such a good man
… always such a strong man
Yeah, I saw him go to pieces
I saw him go to pieces

Thanks, Gil.

“Pieces Of A Man”

“Pieces Of A Man”

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Jagged jigsaw pieces
Tossed about the room
I saw my grandma sweeping
With her old straw broom
She didn’t know what she was doing
She could hardly understand
That she was really sweeping up..
Pieces of a man

I saw my daddy greet the mailman
And I heard the mailman say
“Now don’t you take this letter to heart now Jimmy
Cause they’ve laid off nine others today”
He didn’t know what he was saying
He could hardly understand
That he was only talking to
Pieces of a man

I saw the thunder and heard the lightning!
And felt the burden of his shame
And for some unknown reason
He never turned my way

Pieces of that letter
Were tossed about that room
And now I hear the sound of sirens
Come knifing through the gloom
They don’t know what they are doing
They could hardly understand
That they’re only arresting
Pieces of a man

I saw him go to pieces
I saw him go to pieces
He was always such a good man
He was always such a strong man
Yeah, I saw him go to pieces
I saw him go to pieces

RESPECT DUE – GEORGE DUKE, dead at 67.

George Duke, musician, keyboardist, composer, mentor, innovator, professor and trailblazer has passed away. He was 67.

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Besides being a collaborator with some of the biggest and most important names in the history of music he also released more than 30 solo albums.

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He was well known as a Jazz & fusion musician and R&B artist when he recorded his biggest hits “Reach For It” & “Dukey Stick” in 1977.

“Dukey Stick” – George Duke

“Reach For It” – George Duke

He also scored a hit collaborating with Stanley Clarke.

“Sweet Baby” – The Clarke/Duke Project

I didn’t know George Duke but I have a gang of friends and associates who did. I never heard a single person say a negative word about him. I met him a few times during my BET tenure and every single time I saw him I swear he was smiling.

A big Teddy Bear of a man, he was a mentor to a few generations of musicians and played just about anything he wanted from Jazz to Funk to R&B to Fusion.

He collaborated with too many artists to list but here’s a smattering: Frank Zappa, Jean-Luc Ponty, Miles Davis, Stanley Clarke, Michael Jackson, Dizzy Gillespie, Al Jarreau, Deniece Williams, Sheila E, Patrice Rushen, Billy Cobham, Edwin Hawkins, Regina Belle, Angela Bofil, Anita Baker, Joe Sample, Phil Collins, George Clinton, Cannonball Adderley, Mike Mainieri, Flora Purim, Milton Nascimento, Rachelle Ferrell, Marcus Miller, Teena Marie, Ndugu Chancler, Jill Scott and his cousin Dianne Reeves.

He was also liberally sampled by producers and rappers such as Kanye West, Daft Punk, A Tribe Called Quest, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, MF Doom, Mylo, Ice Cube and many, many others.

George and Billy Cobham “Live At Montreux” – Full concert                       

He had recently released his last project, Dreamweaver, dedicated to his wife Carine who passed away last year after a battle with cancer.

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Here’s a short on the process behind the recording of the project.

George Duke – Dreamweaver                      

I remember a time in my life that 67 seemed old, now it seems that your 60’s might be when things become clearer and easier, if you’re lucky to have lived that long and have the good health to enjoy that period of calm & clarity

He passed from heart complications as a result from being treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

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RIP, George Duke. You will be missed.

Sarah Vaughan, My Favorite Vocalist of All Time.

The Divine, Sublime, “Sassy” Sarah Vaughn.

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Today marks what would have been the 89th B’Earthday of the one and only Sarah Vaughan.Without a doubt, she is my favorite vocalist of all time.

My love for Vaughan is easily explained: before her, I never really felt the lyrics that I heard other singers proffer. Not on any real depth. But as a child, when Sarah sang, everything made sense to me. The arrangement, the tempo, the evocative message in the music. When she sang, I felt the words where as before I’d only heard them. After Sarah, the feeling of the songs she and others were trying to convey became clearer, the emotion easily discerned and internalized, almost immediately identified as real or not. When she sang, the lyrics had temperature, color, shading, depth and resonance, a tangible texture, a feel. For me, she set the standard of what a singer should bring to a song, the underlying commitment and inherent personal responsibility to make it his or her own any vocalist serious about their craft should bring to the gig.

Born on March 27, 1924, “Sassy”, as she was known, was one of the most incredible vocalists American music has ever produced. Some call her the preeminent Jazz singer of all time, a title Vaughan herself bristled at, finding “Jazz singer” far too limiting. Over the span of a career that touched nearly six decades, Sarah Vaughan established herself as simply the singer’s singer because she sang everything – Jazz, Blues, Be-Bop, Brazilian, Pop and all manner of Broadway show tunes and standards – the whole spectrum, in her own wondrous way like no one had or has since. Her imprint is indelible: we are still hearing, feeling and seeing her artistic and stylistic echoes over two decades after her death.

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Born and raised in Newark, NJ, Vaughan was primarily a pianist in her early days but she would go on to cut her teeth as a singer working with the budding stars of her time – Earl “Fatha” Hines, Billy Eckstine, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker among them – who would all go on to be titled as titans, most owing their status largely but not exclusively to their primary association with Jazz.

“Body & Soul/Dedicated To You” – Sarah Vaughan & Billy Eckstine, Live 

Sarah started her singing career in 1942, after winning an amateur night competition at the famed Apollo Theater singing “Body & Soul”, opening for Ella Fitzgerald for a week at the Apollo and then playing and singing in Earl Hines’ band. Legend says Eckstine discovered the ingénue. Her bond with Eckstine – mentor, brother, father figure, friend – would last for the remainder of their lives. In 1943 she left Hines’ group, joining Eckstine’s’ new band as the featured vocalist, beginning her nova-like brilliance.

“Broken Hearted Melody” – Sarah Vaughan, Live

From her early days as a featured vocalist to her eventual solo stardom, “The Divine One” crafted a style that emphasized her virtuosic employment of an amazing instrument, her voice. From the mezzo-soprano heights of her earlier years to the (female) baritone she’d employ pretty much exclusively later on, she would create an impact very few would mirror and a discography unmatched in its breadth and variety.

“Tenderly”  – Sarah Vaughan, Live 1958

Most singers are lucky to have a single song associated with them; Ms. Vaughan had two (at least). Early on, “Tenderly” was the standard she was most closely associated with. “Send In The Clowns”, a Stephen Sondheim penned Broadway song taken from her sessions with conductor Michel Legrand in the 70’s, would supplant “Tenderly”,  becoming her signature song during the latter part of her career, almost 30 years later.

sarah vaughanThe 40’s & 50’s were her heyday. She recorded for the Musicraft, Columbia and Mercury labels. At Columbia through 1953, Vaughan was marketed almost exclusively via pop ballads, a number of which had chart success. She would cut sides at Columbia with label mates Miles Davis and Benny Green and Jimmy Jones which proved she could sing Jazz with the best of her peers, fully incorporating Be-Bop into her singing. Her hits during this stretch include “Everything I Have Is Yours”  “It’s Magic”,  “Nature Boy”, “Black Coffee”, “Make Believe (You Are Glad When You’re Sorry)”, “I’m Crazy to Love You”,  “I Love the Guy”, “Thinking of You”, “I Cried for You”, “These Things I Offer You”, “Vanity”, “Saint or Sinner”, “My Tormented Heart”, and “Time”,  “My Funny Valentine” and “Linger Awhile” among numerous others. She became a star.

 “These Things I Offer You” – Sarah Vaughan, Live 

At Mercury, she enjoyed a unique contractual arrangement which stipulated she was to be marketed as both a pop and Jazz singer recording for Mercury proper and its EmArcy Jazz imprint. It was at EmArcy that she crafted her project Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown in 1954 which was said to be one of her personal favorites (I know it’s mine).

“He’s My Guy” – Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown [

Vaughan signed with Roulette Records in the 60’s, making a string of well received large ensemble albums arranged and/or conducted by Quincy Jones, Benny Carter and Lalo Schifrin among others. She also had pop success with “Serenata”, “Eternally” and “You’re My Baby” (leftover tracks from her Mercury days) and released 2 albums of Jazz standards: After Hours (1961) and Sarah + 2 (1962).

Vaughan returned to Mercury Records in 1963 recording Sassy Swings the Tivoli in Denmark, recorded over four days of live performances with her trio under the auspices of Quincy Jones. But soon, due to the changing taste of the times, Vaughan, like many Jazz stalwarts found themselves out of favor and with no recording home. Vaughan was lucky to have a dedicated fan base that allowed her to tour extensively. Still, between Roulette and Mercury, Vaughan released a prolific 23 albums during the decade.

“Misty” – Sarah Vaughan, Live 1964

Vaughan experienced a rebirth in 1971 when Bob Shad, who had produced her at Mercury Records, signed her to his new label, Mainstream Records. The results were the albums A Time in My Life, Sarah Vaughan with Michel Legrand (“Send in the Clowns” came from these sessions), Feelin’ Good and a live album in Tokyo, Live in Japan, recorded with her trio in1973.

“Send In The Clowns” – Sarah Vaughan, Live 1971

In 1974 she collaborated with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas in his all-Gershwin show with a guest appearance with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. They would go on to replicate the performance with concerts in Buffalo, New York with Thomas’ home orchestra and with symphony orchestras across the country in 1975 and 1976.

“Gershwin Live (Medley)”  – Sarah Vaughan, Live With Los Angeles Philharmonic

In 1977 when Vaughn signed with Pablo Records label, she hadn’t had a recording contract for three years (though she recorded an album of Beatles songs with contemporary pop arrangements for Atlantic Records that was eventually released in 1981). Vaughan’s first Pablo release was the Grammy nominated I Love Brazil! recorded with an all-star cast of Brazilian musicians in Rio de Janeiro in the fall of 1977. In total, she recorded seven Pablo albums Copacabana, also recorded in Rio (1979), How Long Has This Been Going On? (1978), two Duke Ellington Songbook albums (1979), Send in the Clowns (1981) with the Count Basie Orchestra and Crazy and Mixed Up (1982).

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In the 80’s Ms. Vaughan began receiving recognition for her contributions to modern music and feted in a manner befitting her status. She won an Emmy Award for a PBS broadcast of her performance of the Gershwin program with the New Jersey Symphony and another Emmy in 1981 for “Individual Achievement – Special Class”. Her CBS Records reunion with Michael Tilson Thomas & Gershwin Live! with the Los Angeles Philharmonic won Vaughan the 1983 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Female. 1985 saw Vaughan receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She was inducted into the American Jazz Hall of Fame in 1988.

Vaughan recorded just a few times in the 80’s. In 1984 on Barry Manilow’s 2:00 AM Paradise Cafe and The Planet is Alive, Let It Live, based on Italian translations of Polish poems by Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II. Vaughan’s final complete album was Brazilian Romance, produced and composed by Sérgio Mendes and recorded primarily in the early part of 1988. Vaughan contributed vocals to an album of Christmas carols recorded by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir with the Utah Symphony Orchestra and sold in Hallmark Cards stores.

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Fittingly, her final recorded performance was a duet with Ella Fitzgerald (the only one ever for a recording session) on “Birdland” from Quincy Jones’ Back On The Block in 1989. It was Vaughan’s only formal studio recording with Fitzgerald in a career that had begun 46 years earlier opening for Ella at the Apollo (the two performed together often on television shows and on stage over their storied careers). She also sang on “Setembro (Brazilian Wedding Song)” with Take 6 on BOTB.

Ms. Vaughan died April 3, 1990.

She left a legacy of influence that can be heard in singers across the spectrum. From Anita Baker, Cassandra Wilson, Dianne Reeves, Liz Scott, Regina Belle, Chrisette Michelle, Aretha Franklin, Rachelle Ferell, Teena Marie, Faith Evans, Stevie Wonder and even Bilal, all echo the indelible stylistic stamp of Sassy Sarah Vaughan.

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We could be here all day citing favorite recordings by Vaughan, but mine has always been the sessions she did with trumpeter Clifford Brown. Here’s “Lullaby of Birdland” & a 12 minute performance from 1951 featuring “You’re Not The Kind”, which would appear later with a different arrangement from the lp with Clifford Brown, sandwiched in with other jewels.

“Lullaby of Birdland” – Sarah Vaughan & Clifford Brown, 1954

Sarah Vaughan “You’re Not The Kind”, Live, 1951

Mining for (Black) Gold In Black History Month

After seeing Imani Uzuri’s “Sun Moon Child” video [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAFhh47DYCc]  posted by my man Bob Wisdom on Facebook, I was compelled to post an addition, a companion clip, this being Black History Month and all. The only problem was that there was a dearth of current videos to post.

Not to cop the Ol’ Man-talkin’-to-the-young-whippersnapper stance, but in the Golden Age of Hip Hop when I came up, there were a slew of songs and accompanying visual representations to pick from. I thought about the most positive current joint I could think of. (Sadly) It wasn’t something you could call Hip Hop, but the very energy of the song was the direct descendant of Hip Hop Culture, I think. (Some would argue that it’s just Black/African American cultural expression, that we’ve been expressing ourselves positively forever, but since just about everything that’s come out of the diaspora in the last nearly 40 or so years has been distilled though the sieve that is Hip Hop, I can’t deny filtering it accordingly, though you’re welcome to try).

What I offered on Facebook and now as the initial post on my blog, Foolish Dreamer, was Esperanza Spalding’s “Black Gold”. (It was a great personal and prideful bonus surprise that my brother-from-another, David Glimore is in the video playing guitar with his singularly soulful self and style. I see, you Giz!).

But as I watched the clip, it made me feel sad, almost mournful for the day when Hip Hop was so much more and Rap itself had so much more to offer.

So, as a dutiful Dad and official O.G. that I am – a title bestowed by others that I have only recently, albeit humbly and gratefully accepted – I had to offer up not only an encore of “Black Gold”, but a few of what I think are some of the best positive message visual representations I could find. The fact that none of them are current is a problem: I welcome and encourage more recent additions to my list.

I hope you enjoy them and can actually share them with your kids, and discuss them. I will.

Love.

Esperanza Spalding – “Black Gold”

Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers – “Black My Story”                           

Boogie Down Productions – “You Must Learn”                                       

Kool G. Rap ft: Biz Markie & Big Daddy Kane – “Erase Racism”          

Queen Latifah ft., Monie Love – “Ladies First” –

Other Clips: Brand Nubian, “Wake Up” , YZ, “Thinking Of A Master Plan”, Eric B & Rakim, “Know The Ledge”, H.E.A.L., “Heal Yourself”, “The Stop The Violence Movement, “Self-Destruction”, GangStarr, “Jazz Thing”, King Sun, “Be Black”, 2Pac, “Keep Your Head Up”