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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

In Print: Cap'n Jazz Reunion, Jewish Black Music, and the Significance of Freddie Gibbs

Posted By on Wed, Aug 25, 2010 at 3:44 PM

click to enlarge cap_n_jazz.jpg
Does anyone else feel like 2010 has been particularly flush with big-name indie-rock bands getting back together? Pavement and Guided By Voices aside, another seminal outfit reassembling for a tour this year is Cap'n Jazz, a midwestern group that helped establish emo back in the early '90s. For our print edition this week, Marc Hawthorne spoke to Cap'n Jazz guitarist Davey VonBohlen, who explains what broke the band up in the first place, and says relearning 15-year-old songs is a strange form of self-discovery.

It's common knowledge that Jewish songwriters reworked classic black Americans songs into 20th-century pop hits. But the other side of the story -- the Jewish influence on black music -- isn't so well known. Ezra Gale writes this week about a high-tech new exhibit at the Contemporary Jewish Museum that unearths long-lost songs from black greats like Johnny Mathis, Aretha Franklin, and Nina Simone, revealing just how much classic Yiddish music shaped the legends of American soul, jazz and R&B.

Does Freddie Gibbs mark the end of gangsta rap? Writer Phillip Mlynar argues this week that the lack of anything particularly controversial about Gibbs sets him apart from previous titans of the subgenre, whose music, lifestyle, or politics always found a way to offend the mainstream. Gangsta rap is supposed to be music one hides from their parents, Mlynar writes, but even Gibb's rhymes about violence and drugs won't shock many people anymore.

Also this week, Bouncer ponders the perseverance of matter -- along with the sangria -- at the Mission's Cha Cha Cha. And our writers recommend upcoming shows by Beres Hammond, Boris, Lazer Sword, and the Hood Internet, along with a special live performance of the Jewish-classics-as-Latin-jazz album Mazel Tov, Mis Amigos.

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Ian S. Port

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