Sunday, January 24, 2016

Happy Birthday Julius Hemphill

His music is poetry, sorrow, anger, deep blues, even "hard blues", joy, physical, spiritual, and filled with life. Julius Hemphill (1938-1995) played like he "meant it" - it seems every time he picked his saxophone, the music went in unexpected directions.  Like many of his contemporaries (Muhal Richard Abrams, Henry Threadgill, Oliver Lake, Hamiett Bluiett), he appreciated all streams of the great river that is Black American Music.  He could rock, squeal, shout, whisper, make you angry, make you laugh, wail, weep and pray.

To honor his birthday, here are 3 different sides of his music.  The Julius Hemphill Sextet, the group he created after leaving the World Saxophone Quartet, play "The Hard Blues." Then, there's the 13-minute plus "Hotend" from his stunning "Blue Boy√©" (still available thanks to Tim Berne and Screwgun Records.) Finally, there's "One Atmosphere", the album he recorded for John Zorn and Tzadik Records.  The music is performed by pianist Ursula Oppens and the Daedalus Stirng Quartet.

The music and spirit of Julius Hemphill continues to resonate and inspire!

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