Author Archives: Sohrabeyal

Addendum: Rep. Glenn Grothman’s Attack on the Arts Defeated!

Text by Dawoud Kringle

NOWOn Wednesday, July 18th, one of the largest vote margins in support of the Endowments, the U.S. House of Representatives defeated an amendment that would have cut funding the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The House voted down the Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) amendment by a vote of 114 – 297.

During the floor debate on Tuesday, July 17th, bipartisan supporters spoke out in support for the arts and the Endowments. Among them were Chairman Ken Calvert (R-CA) and Congressional Arts Caucus co-Chairs Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) all spoke against Grothman’s amendment.

This bipartisan showing and resounding vote is a clear demonstration of how strongly supported the National Endowments are by our elected officials in Congress. This is an important win in the fight against the Trump agenda to destroy art and culture in the US.

Amendment to Cut the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) / NEH Funding Heads to the Floor

Text by Dawoud Kringle

On July 16th, 2018, the House Rules Committee approved a potential amendment that funding to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) would be cut by 15% to each agency; a total of $46 million. The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI).

The administration proposed similarly reduced funding last year, but it was not adopted.

Grothman told the Rules Committee members that Congress should support President Trump (this, after Trump’s shameful and treasonous statements in Helsinki). President Trump wanted to terminate the NEA and NEH since his campaign in 2016. Grothman repeated the objectionable and ridiculous arguments that Trump and his supporters often used in the past on this issue, such as “private charities should do this work,” “it’s a local government role solely,” “cutting arts spending is looking out for our children and grandchildren.” and perhaps most ridiculous, “we can’t afford it” (the budget for both organizations account for approximately 1 percent of the federal government’s budget). Grothman believes this is a small but important step to rein in spending and would be “a vote for Trumpsters,” as he put it.

Continue reading

On the Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats Trip to Cuba – An Unforgettable Experience

Congratulations to the Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats on their successful trip. Truly an unforgettable experience!

Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats

Photography by David Garten

Earlier this Summer, a group of students, parents and supporting staff of the Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats went on their first-ever trip to Havana, Cuba, after being invited to participate in an international youth jazz band exchange event.

Continue reading

The Heroism of Musicians: Stories of Courage and Self Sacrifice By Musicians

Text by Dawoud Kringle

When we think about heroes and musicians in the same context, we picture the saxophone virtuoso playing intricate jazz improvisations, the gunslinger rock guitarist, or the beautiful precision of a classical pianist. Or perhaps we have the image of a musician whose music holds a special place in our hearts. But musicians are humans, and humans have been known to perform acts of great heroism and nobility. Here are a few anecdotes of note.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis helped a baby with breathing difficulties during a recording of James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke. A woman came out of her house saying that her baby can’t breathe. Kiedis performed CPR, and started rubbing the baby’s belly. When the ambulance arrived, Kiedis handed the baby to the EMTs, who soon determined that the baby was breathing and would be fine.

The Heroism of MusiciansIn 2000, a bushfire tore through grasslands near country singer Garth Brooks’ in-laws’ home in rural Oklahoma. Brooks evacuated two boys from a nearby house, driving them through thick smoke to safety. He then stopped to push the family’s boat out of a barn that was threatened by the fire.

Continue reading

Concert Review: Sugarwork (Scotland) – Four Illuminati of the Scottish Jazz Scene

Venue: The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh, Scotland
Date: 17 May 2018

SugarworkThis rare concert from curiously monikered electro-acoustic jazz band with a difference, Sugarwork, is to be celebrated. Four illuminati of the Scottish jazz scene, each known for their musical accomplishments and interests stretching deeply into and beyond jazz. Led by pianist, composer and producer, Manchester-born Paul Harrison, who composed most of the tunes aired tonight, the quartet present their eponymous debut album in this popular subterranean Edinburgh jazz venue.

Based in Glasgow where he teaches on the jazz degree course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Harrison has also long been active in some of Scotland’s most thought-provoking and diverse music projects: the highly esteemed Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and McFall’s Chamber Orchestra, Simon Thacker’s Ritmata (highly crafted world music), Trio Magico (presenting the life-enhancing music of Brazilian, Egberto Gismonti) and club-friendly electronics – drums duo, Herschel 36.

It is often the case across Scotland’s central belt that musicians collaborate across musical genres, so it is no surprise to learn that Sugarwork’s members have played together in other Scottish bands. Thus drummer, percussionist, composer and producer Stuart Brown plays in the last three of the above listed bands, his knowledge of non-western musical styles, added to dub-wise sensibility and a facility with electronica, having led to work with esteemed names such as David Byrne, Gilad Atzmon and Sun Ra Arkestra’s Dave Gordon.

Continue reading