“We are going to present a showcase of his music, and the philosophies behind his music.” Borahm LeeLed by Break Science’s Borahm Lee, the J Dilla tribute at Brooklyn Comes Alive will explore the annals of a man who is considered among the greatest producers in hip-hop history. The session will include a nuclear-equipped squad well versed in the school of Dilla dawg. Collaborators include drummer Adam Deitch (Lettuce/Break Science), guitarist Adam Smirnoff (Lettuce), bassist Nate Edgar (The Nth Power), bassist Stu Brooks (Matisyahu, 50 Cent, Pretty Lights), Maurice Brown (Tedeschi Trucks Band) and Chauncey Yearwood (High & Might Brass Band). Visionary hip-hop producer J Dilla did not find huge mainstream success during his brief time on Earth. Yet in the decade since his death, Dilla has come to represent a major influence on hip-hop and electronic music’s DNA. His apex was in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when he created mind-bending music that sounded insanely original, and employed studio tactics that didn’t seem possible. Dilla teased with textures and perfected drum tones. He reimagined the art of the sample, making it malleable instead of rigid. He also blessed the culture with an emotional quotient inside of the bombastic boom bap, a structure that had informed the golden era of hip hop. Dilla broke the mold and stepped into the future.“In the spirit of dub greats like Lee Scratch Perry, and King Tubby, Dilla put the music upfront, so it could carry itself without the rapper, the music itself was potent enough on it’s own. His music can make you go in to a trance, like the dub styles. It’s so modular, heady, and psychedelic too. There is a hypnotizing quality. But the beats are hard!” Borahm LeeDilla’s imprint is felt far beyond hip-hop: In recent years, the artist formerly known as Jay Dee has left a long shadow over modern jazz and funk. He’s never belonged to the jam band community per se, but since his passing in 2006 from a rare blood disease, his legacy has helped this scene incorporate elements of hip hop and electronica, such as Portland, Maine’s Jaw Gems, or Break Science, Lee’s future-music duo with drummer/producer wunderkind Adam Deitch.“The man is a movement, he was completely ahead of his time, even more so posthumously. He made so much music, even though he lived such a short life. It’s crazy, yet it’s so tragic. A lot of other legendary artists died far too young too, like Jimi Hendrix or Charlie Parker. I put Dilla right there in that category of artists.” Borahm LeeSo what sets Dilla apart? Why has his creativity, artistic vision and virtuosity proved so captivating to the jam band crowd?For one, Dilla was a sort of human musical encyclopedia. In his studio, he stored and collected thousands of vinyl records, many of them jazz and funk, into specific sections and kept them alphabetized so that he could cue up the perfect sample right when the inspiration struck. He didn’t just rely on his gigantic record collection, either. He was always ready to pick up a guitar or a bass, or sit down behind the drum kit, or tickle on some chords on the keyboard. This type of dedication to minutia, and multi-instrumentalism speaks to the jamband community.Dilla would manically mine clips from albums just for the timbre of a single note, or the crackling textures of vinyl, or the boom-bap of a kick/snare hit. There was Dilla’s approach to lacing up the rhythms of those legendary drumbeats. Many beat-makers use a method known as quantizing, which lets you perfectly subdivide electric drum-machine sounds into positions within a measure. The pattern can repeat itself, known as a “loop.” Dilla instead most often chose to play beats on a drum machine, creating them by hand in real time. That offered him a chance to color his beats and rhythms with a signature drunken monkey style: jazzy, grooving, laid back and landing just behind the beat.“His whole philosophy, from the sounds of his drums, to the rhythmic theories, to the placement and dissection of samples, he did so much to influence the musicians of his day, and especially today. Look at bands like Lettuce or producers like Taylor McFerrin, who’s one of my favorites, and of course a Flying Lotus too. His influence spreads like Bob Marley’s did to reggae music, changes people’s perspective from hip-hop to electronic, and in between, the people know J Dilla.“One can only imagine what this super group of hip-hop and electronic players will cook up for this next installment of Borahm Lee’s tribute to J Dilla, coming up at Brooklyn Comes Alive.Check out three of Borahm Lee’s favorite Dilla deep cuts, below.
In January of 2002, I was 29 years old, the father of a wonderful two year old son, and – suddenly – facing a divorce.I didn’t set sail on the S.S. Matrimony just six years before looking to sink it, but I found my ship floundering on the rocks and myself a crew of one. I found that I could handle being single, but I loathed time without my son. The transition from full time to part time dad was not an easy one, and those hours that used to be filled with playtime with my son were, early on, long and empty.I sought solace in a number of places; I rediscovered my love of the outdoors, I grew a wildly unkempt beard – by God, I didn’t have anyone around to tell me to shave!! – and I bought a mandolin.My history with musical instruments was spotty at best. I was a fairly good drummer, but those fourth grade sax lessons turned out poorly, and my one attempt at a stringed instrument – the guitar in eighth grade – didn’t stick. But I had purpose and I had time. Soon after receiving my Breedlove Quartz OF mandolin, I found that the occasional good notes, typically lost amidst a myriad of bad ones, allowed me to wile away hours when my son wasn’t around.Never before had music been so important in my life.Recently, I heard a fantastic interview with singer/songwriter Josh Ritter on a local NPR radio station. Ritter was chatting about his recently released record,The Beast In Its Tracks, a collection of tunes he wrote during the time his own marriage to fellow musician Dawn Landes was falling apart. As I listened to Ritter discuss his emotions during his own divorce and the inspiration for these songs, I felt a kindred spirit with him.Sure, I was a fledgling mandolin picker and no critically acclaimed songwriter. I plunked through “Old Joe Clark” and “Turkey In The Straw” and jammed with my good buddy Jason Collier near the A.T. south of Waynesboro instead of writing brilliant songs and performing them in front of adoring crowds. But the spirit in our two endeavors was the same. We both found peace and catharsis in music.Josh Ritter will be passing through Asheville next week, where he will be sure to play some tunes off of The Beast In Its Tracks. I’d like give you a chance to be at The Orange Peel on Monday, May 13th, to take in the show. Take a shot at the trivia question down below and email your answer to [email protected] I will pick a winner from all of the correct answers received by 5 P.M. tomorrow – Thursday, May 9th.As you are working up your answer, make sure to take a listen to “Joy To You Baby” on this month’s edition of Trail Mix.Question – What spectacularly famous, rabid St. Bernard chasing, haunted car driving, fire-starting, Maine residing horror writer called Josh Ritter a “gifted novelist” following the release of Ritter’s first novel, Bright’s Passage?
Carroll ToddCarroll Dale Todd, 87, died Saturday, August 13, 2016 at Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City surrounded by his family.Â He was born in Woods County on August 4, 1929 to Clara Belle Haltom Todd and Robert Floyd Todd.Â He was raised on a farm near Carmen.Â He attended the Lone Star grade school, Waynoka High School and graduated from Dacoma High School.Â On his 18thÂ birthday he went to work the Santa Fe Railroad.Â On February 9, 1951 he married Waneta Jo Ferguson at the Free Methodist Church parsonage in Carmen.Â To this union four children were born: Robert Lynn Todd, Luther Wayne Todd, Larry Don Todd and Sandra Kay Todd.Â Carroll worked on the Plains Division out of Amarillo until he was promoted to Road Foreman of Engines of the Southern Division at Houston.Â He worked in that area until he was transferred to Wellington as a road eoreman.Â He retired in Wellington after 37 years.Â He also served in the 81stÂ Reconnaissance Division U.S. Army at Fort Hood.Â Carroll and Waneta moved to a retirement center at Edmond in 2015.Â He served on the Board of Panhandle Credit Union, volunteered for meals on wheels in Wellington, was a member of Whirl A Way Square Dance Club, Wellington Art Association, Wichita Great Plains Wood Carvers Association and the American Legion.Â His hobbies included carpentry work, wood carving, fishing and spending time with his family and friends.Â His children, grandchildren and great grandchildren were so very special to him.Â He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather.Â Â He was preceded in death by his parents, Clara Belle Haltom Todd and Robert Floyd Todd; brother Dwight Todd and wife, Mae; brother in law, Jim Ferguson and wife, Karen.Â Survivors include wife of 65 years, Waneta Jo Ferguson Todd of Edmond, Oklahoma; children, Robert Todd of Neskowin, Oregon; Wayne Todd of Amarillo, Texas; Larry Todd and wife, Chris of Arkansas City, Kansas; Sandra Brinkmeyer and husband, Karl of Edmond, Oklahoma; grandchildren, Bridgett Nesbitt of Nashville, Tennessee; David Todd of Paso Robles, California; Charlie Todd of Kimberling City, Missouri; Kathryn Todd of Edmond, Oklahoma; Tamie Booth and husband, Mike of Overland Park, Kansas; Tanya Lord and husband, Jeff of Wichita, Kansas; Terie Mora and husband, Doug of Arizona; great grandchildren, Aaron, Quincy, Lyndsey, Casey, Danielle, Ava and Haley; brother-in-law, AJ Ferguson and wife, Jeanne of Waynoka, Oklahoma and a host of nieces and nephews.Â Carroll was cremated at his request.Â The family will be holding a graveside service at a later date.Â Arrangements are by Lanman Funeral Home, Inc. of Helena.Â You may send cards to his wife, Waneta, at 2801 Shortgrass Road, Edmond, OK 73003.Â Memorials may be made to Mercy Hospice or Wellington Food Bank through the funeral home.Â Â Carrollâ€™s wife and family would like to thank the staff at Touchmark for all of their love and support.Â They also want to thank Mercy Hospital and Hospice staff for the care, love and support they gave to Carroll and his family while he was there and for making him comfortable as he passed away in peace.