Sunday, September 20, 2015

New Album of Ed Bland's Music

My late husband composer Ed Bland was a prolific composer. He composed music in a variety of genres: Jazz, Blues, Soul, Gospel, Hip Hop, Ragtime, and contemporary classical. He wrote for the recording industry, TV, film, dance, bands, and orchestras. This new album URBAN FUNK contains 25 tracks of the last music he composed. The first 12 tracks he conceived of as a dance suite that might be used by modern dancers; the remaining 13 tracks are funky, top-tapping, and highly original. Ed's music synthesizes three musical canons: European, West African drumming, and African-American.

Writing about his artistic journey on his website, Ed said: "Throughout my professional life, my creative efforts have been haunted by aspects of a cultural warfare that has been simmering under the world’s cultures for several centuries. It is a warfare between a pagan prolongation of the eternal moment found in the traditional religious rites and music of Black West Africans living below the Sahara and conventional Western civilization’s pursuit of postponed rewards. As a consequence, in Western civilization there is never a Now, only a vague future.

Ironically, the African slave trade, with all its horrors and social disruption, also presented an opportunity for transformation. It was the slaves’ ability to rise to the occasion and create a new culture and persona that enabled them to survive and coexist in America. Traumatized by slave-ship voyages, deprived of languages, Gods, families, communities, and rituals, it became necessary that the slaves modify what remained from their past and invent new cultural forms. In a range of work encompassing “Urban Funk,” Atari Video Games,“Skunk Juice,” THE CRY OF JAZZ, Urban Classical, the Detroit Symphony, Dizzy Gillespie, Hip Hop, “Urban Counterpoint.” I have composed music that celebrates the pagan prolongation of the eternal Now.

You can read this entire essay on Ed's website: