ALL POSTS TAGGED "the-last-poets"

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On Monday, May 7th, The Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival kicks off with Smalls Paradise ReCreated: Harlem After Dark at Harlem USA featuring Johnny O’Neal, Umar Hassan of The Last Poets, Sachal Vasandani, Sole Society + a late night Jam

Called cultural nationalist, “musical prophet”, dissident, griot and icon. Called “the lone prince of the Black Arts Movement,” culture-bearer, provocateur, street scholar and bluesologist. On Friday May 27, Gil (Gilbert) Scott-Heron, an architect of hip-hop culture, whose voice defined a collective movement for black liberation, passed away. Just a teenager when the Black Arts Movement began in Harlem, Scott-Heron’s body of work and aesthetics of resistance has come to define the pain, oppression, complexity and beauty that sparked and sustained the Black Power Movement.

From a musical and rhythm standpoint, the Last Poets were heavily influenced by jazz. Typically using drums, hand percussions, and vocal techniques emulating the reverberation of additional percussions, playing back and forth polyrhythmically, their use of rhyme was strategic but effortless. The clever use of repetition, literary devices, and tone manipulation are obvious precursors to early hip-hop. Another important element was that of improvisation. The volleying of sounds, syllables, themes; the layering of choral voices, changes in octave and intonation, were done on the spot and became an important components of performance art.