As subject, field, reference point, or combination of the three, music has been a part of Greg Tate’s work since the beginning. His 1985 co-founding of the Black Rock Coalition with Verno Reid and Konda Mason began a journey that would align with the forthcoming New Black Aesthetic and lead to a staff writer position at the Village Voice, multiple books and essays, and his current group, Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber. A commonly referenced honorific recognizes Tate as one of the “Godfathers of Hip-Hop Journalism,” but instead of defining his career, this became a jumping off point for promoting black artists in a variety of venues.
In advance of Burnt Sugar’s return to Minneapolis this spring, Tate put together an extensive rundown of his most important moments of 2013. He begins by recognizing the loss of Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris, proceeds to show he is just as—if not more—involved in the music scene as he was in 1985, and ends by looking to the future of social justice through the Dream Defenders.
Burnt Sugar—The Arkestra Chamber
Any World That I’m Welcome To: The Steely Dan Conductions
Saturday, April 26, 8 pm
William and Nadine McGuire Theater, Walker Art Center
$25 ($22 Walker members)
Burnt Sugar, the 19-member Afrocentric jazz/funk collective, lays claim to and subverts the Steely Dan songbook in a program curated and conducted by guitar hero Vernon Reid (Living Color). Of the wildly diverse palette and players in the New York ensemble, Arkestra leader Greg Tate says, “Burnt Sugar got the nerve to claim Sly Stone, Morton Feldman, Billie Holiday, Jimi Hendrix, and Jean Luc Ponty as progenitors. Our player-ranks include known Irish fiddlers, AACM refugees, Afro-punk rejects, unrepentant be-boppers, feminist rappers, jitterbugging doo-woppers, frankly loud funk-a-teers, and rodeo stars of the digital divide.” Look for heady and deeply funky remakes of Steely Dan classics such as “Pretzel Logic,” “Haitian Divorce,” “Any Major Dude,” “Black Cow,” “Kid Charlemagne,” and others.