Saturday, October 03, 2009

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Previewing "Rapology" with Quincy Troupe, Kelvyn Bell and Ronnie Burrage

This week, we've got a grab bag of videos featuring the three principals of "Rapology," which will be presented next Friday, October 9 and Saturday, October 10 at Robbie's House of Jazz in Webster Groves.

Poet Quincy Troupe, guitarist and singer Kelvyn Bell and drummer and multi-instrumentalist Ronnie Burrage are all natives of the St. Louis area, and though there don't seem to be any videos online of the three of them performing together, these clips of things they've done individually suggest some of the elements available to be incorporated into their gig next weekend.

First up is an extended excerpt from a duo performance by Troupe and guitarist Phil Upchurch that demonstrates how Troupe's poetry works in an improvised-music setting. It was recorded for UCTV, a service of the University of California system, for their "Artists on the Cutting Edge" series. Though Upchurch and Bell have different styles as guitarists, after viewing this clip it's easy to imagine Troupe and Bell conjuring something with a similar vibe on stage next weekend.

Down below, we've got a couple of videos showing Bell in his role as singer, songwriter and leader of the funk group Kelvynator. The first clip, "Burn Baby Burn/Undercover FBI" was recorded in 1991 at a gig in NYC for the the German TV program Rocklife, while the second is a music video for "Every Breath (I Breathe)," a song from the 1999 album Refunk A Nation.

Be sure to note Bell's characteristic rhythm work on the former, and his chiming chordal textures in the intro of the latter. Bell was also a key member of Joe Bowie's band Defunkt for many years; you can see some examples of his work with them by following the links here.

Burrage, who plays keyboards and sings in addition to drumming, has played with many bandleaders in different genres over the years. The next clip shows him playing some straight bebop with saxophonist Frank Morgan, bassist Buster Williams and pianist Ronnie Matthews on a version of "A Night in Tunisia" that includes a nice crisp drum solo.

Last but not least is a video described as "a Cinema Verite peek into a 'heavyweight' jazz practice session" that shows Burrage and his own band rehearsing one of the drummer's compositions. Though there's as much talking as playing, it provides an interesting glimpse into his process.

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