Roy Ayers was born on September 10, 1940 in Los Angeles. Thanks to his
trombone playing father and piano teaching mother, he became immersed
in music from day one and the story goes that he was given his first
set of vibe mallets by his hero Lionel Hampton at the age of 5.
Constantly performing and recording since the 1960s, he is the most
well known jazz vibraphonists. He has produced some of the most loved
modern soul-jazz records of all time such as, 'Everybody Loves The
Sunshine', most influential afro-jazz with musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti
('Africa - Centre Of The World') and the most seminal jazz-funk, such
as 'Running Away'. And that's just the surface. 2004 saw the release of
'Virgin Ubiquity: Unreleased Recordings 1976-1981' which were 'lost'
sessions tapes that he had discarded. Gilles Peterson described this as
the equivalent of finding a lost Beatles album. No doubt this helped
him win the Gilles Peterson 2004 Worldwide Lifetime Achievement Award.
Roy Ayers is ageless and evergreen and as per the title of another one
of hits, remember 'We All Live In Brooklyn Baby'.
"Bees + Things + Flowers" is an album with a difference. The album
features new arrangements of four Incognito classics - Always There,
Still a Friend of Mine, Everyday and Deep Waters - and covers of such
great tunes as Roy Ayers’ Everybody Loves the Sunshine, Earth Wind
& Fire’s That's the Way of the World, Summer in the City as well as
a stunning remake of America’s Tin Man. There are also three brand new
Purists complain that too many of these songs skate by on the
familiarity of the R&B classics they sample. They have a point, but
they also overlook the element that makes My Life
both original and indelible: Blige's voice. It's never, ever perfect;
sometimes Blige can barely stay on key such is the excess of feeling.
Yet that careening-out-of-control sound gives My Life an
instant intimacy that cleaner singers never approach. Producer Sean
"Puff Daddy" Combs probably didn't twist too many dials, but he knew
that he wanted to reinvent R&B, and by blending the wah-wah pedals
and strings that signified romance to his parents' generation with the
heavy breathing and beats that did it for the kids, Combs helped do
This is how it works: you get 5 words and with these 5
words you have to write an entry. The words might or might not be
related. You decide how to combine them, and how long your entry will
be. You tag your entry with 5wordchallenge and whatever other tags you like.Finally, you put the words in bold. This challenge: pickle, fireplace, audacious, street, surprise
Martin stood at the corner waiting for the light to change.
He thought of nothing in particular as he was bumped from behind, his sandwich tumbling to the ground. He looked back in disgust as he leaned down to pick it up when he heard the wet sliding of something crushed under foot. He turned his gaze towards the ground and saw a trail of green goo beneath the shoe of the man who had accidentally jostled him.
"My pickle," he said.
"Excuse me," the man replied.
"Dude, you destroyed my pickle."
"My pickle. My lunch. You killed it."
The man, Norman Rose, adjusted his glasses. Beads of sweat appeared on his brow. Martin noticed his fear, puffed out his chest, and got louder.
"What are you going to do about my lunch?"
"Your lunch," Norman repeated. He reached into his messenger bag. "I've got some nuts."
"Nuts?! How about I roast your nuts in my fireplace?"
Martin stepped towards Norman so that they were face to face. Norman, flustered and afraid, sneezed uncontrollably. He watched, as if in horrific slow motion, as spittle and snot covered the angry man's mug.
Martin jumped back with a start as if he had been shot. Wiping his face down with his hand, his blood boiled. He grabbed Norman by the collar and tossed him into the street.
Someone else on the corner said matter-of-factly, "Bus."
Norman turned towards the bus as it beat down on him. No sense of surprise crossed his features. He put both hands on his belt buckle and closed his eyes. He wasn't afraid.
Martin leaped out to grab him but it was too late. The bus went through Norman.
Except it didn't. Norman went through it. It must have only taken a few seconds but it felt like an eternity. He opened his eyes as he phased through the front of the giant vehicle. He could feel it slow, but not quickly enough to avoid him, as he slid down the aisle. He was barely solid and the bus was still on the move so most inside didn't see him. A little girl holding her mother's hand did, though, and he winked. She smiled and waved. He would've waved back but he didn't dare remove his hands from his belt.
And just like that, he was on the street again, now behind the bus instead of in front. It worked, he thought, the belt worked! He looked up, trying to think of what he would tell the crowd that had seen his amazing feat but no one was paying attention to him. They were at the front of the bus staring at the man who he had just fought with instead of at him who had controlled his molecules with the touch of a clothing accessory.
Crisis on Infinite Earths by Marv Wolfman & George Perez (1985, DC Comics). I recently told Melissa that this was my favorite Comic Book Story Ever. After some reflection, there are probably some Frank Miller, Dwayne McDuffie, Warren Ellis and Brian Michael Bendis story arcs I like better but this is the story that made me a lifelong comics fan. I was 10 years old when this completely recreated the DC universe. I can't remember what super hero comics I was reading at the time other than the New Teen Titans (also by Marv & George) but this ambitious, complicated story is probably why I tend to be a DC comics guy.
Reading it again for the first time in maybe 16 years, I was in awe of how dense the language is. There is a whole lot of narration and exposition. The panels are packed to the gills with action and the stakes are incredibly high. The story has some problems -- destroying multiple universes is dirty business - and Perez's art falters a bit towards the end of the series but the shocks are still shocking. The final issue is incredibly moving and putting everything in context with what happened in 2005's Infinite Crisis and this year's 52 is awfully satisfying. That said, we've come a long way since 1985 and a comic tale written a decade later was a richer experience for my adult mind.
Kingdom Come by Mark Waid and Alex Ross (1996, DC Comics). I didn't read comics much in the 90s. I'd pick up a book here or there but a college student with limited income and space and time sacrifices some things he loves. I missed the rise of Alex Ross, an incredible artist who paints comic panels. Super heroes comes to life as real people in a real world, their powers and conflicts all the more awe-inspiring because with Ross's pen, you feel as if you could walk outside your door and see the Flash or Black Lightning rushing by to fight evil. Kingdom Come is an "elseworlds" story arc that imagines a not too distant future when batman, wonder woman, and superman have been replaced by the next generation on a world overrun by meta-humans - those with powers beyond our own. There's a political undercurrent to the dialogue between the heroes that is highly relevant to today's landscape. I don't even quite know where to begin. It's serious, grown up fare, and I highly recommend it.