Last week Team Musiqology made our way down Interstate 95 to Jatworld, the recording studio of musician and producer Jerry Thompson and located in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Although the crew is New York based, it’s important to us keep our Philly roots strong because it is, after all, where the idea of Musiqology was born.
Anthony DeCarlo, Frank Coklay, Guthrie Ramsey, and Jerry Thompson listening to the recording.
After a hiatus filled with book tours, lectures and taking in the international art world, it’s time to lay down some tracks. We were there to record the score for our short documentary, Amazing: The Tests and Triumphs of a Modernist, a film about some of the issues raised in my book The Amazing Bud Powell: Black Genius, Jazz History and the Challenge of Bebop. The film will feature factual and interpretive information on the pianist, positioning his life and work in the social, artistic and historical circumstances of their emergence. The film also addresses Powell’s relationship and relevance to contemporary issues. This story will be told through interviews with various musicians and authorities whose work is relevant to modern jazz. Amazing will combine scripted narration with the thoughts of interviewees and have still and archival photographs and footage.
Guthrie Ramsey on the ivories.
Guthrie Ramsey, Frank Coklay, Anthony DeCarlo, and Khari Shaheed in the studio.
Amazing will be primarily scored with an updated arrangement inspired by Powell’s famous composition “Un Poco Loco,” first recorded in 1951. Some of the diegetic and extra-diegetic music will feature some spoken word lyrics addressing some of the issues raised in Powell’s art, his challenges, and their contemporary relevance. The visual facet of the film will reflect this aesthetic duality: a juxtaposition and/or blend of retro and contemporary visual design. We are excited to announce that it includes thought-provoking commentary by Jason Moran, Courtney Bryan, La Marr Bruce Jurelle, Bertha Hope, and others.
One of the things that I hope that my book on Bud Powell achieves is to show today’s music fans and other cultural observers that the lessons of his music, life and career remain instructive.
We got to another piece of recording business that day as well. We’re happy to announce that work is well underway on my daughter Bridget Ramsey’s EP, a mix of original music and jazz standards, updated for today’s sensibilities. The musiqologists for this particular outing was Khari Shaheed (drums), Anthony DeCarlo (guitar), Frank Coklay (bass) and Dr. Guy on the keys. Please enjoy our visual memories of the day from the gifted photographer, Brandi Pettijohn.
Frank Coklay and Anthony DeCarlo in the studio.
Khari Shaheed on the drums.
Bridget Ramsey laying down her vocals.
Filmmaker Mario Lathan and Guthrie Ramsey in the studio.