MUSIC: Melvin Van Peebles and the Burnt Sugar Arkestra

Excerpt from NYTIMES: He’s Got It Bad, or ‘Baad,’ for His Art, from Ben Sisario’s interview.

ASK Melvin Van Peebles about his legacy, and you get a snort, a grimace, a wave of the hand, a game-show error buzz and a finely punctuated “come on.”

Greg Tate, cultural critic and musician.

Burnt Sugar has been described as a “funk-rock-electronic-samba-soul-jazz-fusion whatever ensemble” and counts among its influences Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis, Funkadelic, Bad Brains, Band of Gypsys, Sun Ra and Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi. Bandleader Greg Tate “plays the band” using a technique called conduction, which gets its name from the field of physics, and was developed by jazz conductor Butch Morris. Employing a series of gestures, baton twirls, eye contact, and facial expressions that are used to communicate directions to the band, the bandleader can change the melodic and harmonic structure, creating a one-time composition that could not have been predicted nor repeated.

(trailer) Burnt Sugar with Special Guest: Melvin Van Peebles. Sun Jan 10 at Joe’s Pub from amy gail on Vimeo.

More of Burnt Sugar Live in Paris:

About The Author

Michele Washington

I am a designer, design critic and educator, I love doodling and tinkering with objects that I collect from my global travels.

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04 2010

4 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. 1

    Hey Michele, Thanks for sharing.
    Thought you might enjoy this

    • Michele #

      I’ve followed the musical event by both Greg Tate and Melvin, especially since it’s a historical affair. Thanks for sharing the Paris video as well, I’ve viewed it a few times to compare the Brooklyn BRIC performance. Michele

  2. 3

    It’s been a great ride! (my view is strictly from the passenger seat) and it’s ‘to be continued’ – so stay tuned.

    • Michele #

      Can’t wait to see more especially since I run into Greg all the time in my neighborhood in Harlem. Also I’ve known him and followed his work since his days at the Village Voice and his first one woman band. Michele


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