Gabriel Jermaine Vanlandingham-Dunn

Year in Review: 2020 Unplug

More than likely it’ll be January of 2021 by the time you read this. And while all of us have struggled to find ways to cope with the virus, loss of work, countless deaths, being stuck at home, breathing through masks, continued racial and gender-based violence, and the general feeling of impending doom, it must

Hugh Masekela – Live in Lesotho (1980, reissued 2019)

Hugh Masekela’s Live in Lesotho is a great album of celebratory music intertwined with a beautiful story of homecomings of Miriam Makeba and himself. The region of southern Africa has deep meaning to me, so while I won’t go into super detail about the history of the record, I will talk about my relationship with

Review: Blacks’ Myths II

“We aim to destroy a history … that no longer serves a purpose.” – Blacks’ Myths Black Expression is at the great place right now and even though all of it isn’t for me, it is amazing to examine all of these avenues open for creatives from the African Diaspora. Whether it is listening to

Review: Ståhls Trio – Källtorp Sessions, Vol. 1

Anyone familiar with my musical taste knows that the vibraphone is my favorite rhythm section instrument. Bobby Hutcherson and Milt Jackson were on constant rotation as a youth and I’ll never part with their records. Yet, after the years I sought out other players who approached the board in different ways. Lionel Hampton (tha Gawd),

Review: Patrick Shiroishi – Sparrow’s Tongue

Bonds. We all have them, yet some are stronger than others. Then, there is the fascinating way that every generation sustains them and creates new bonds while exploring existing ones. Since reviewing Patrick Shiroishi’s Tulean Dispatch in 2018, I’ve learned that he and I have quite a bit in common. Two of the main things that

There’s a Mingus in My Life

The year was 1994. I’d already been collecting records for several years and making beats since the late 1980s. I was pretty fortunate as a 14-year-old to have had so much rich musical exposure at that point. This was before Hip-Hop had gotten terrible and early enough that you could still find relatively rare Jazz

Review: Ensemble Fanaa’s Self-titled Debut Record

Slow, quiet breaths fill the room. Our breather is alone, deep in his own process. There are times when he himself has to check in . . . with himself. “Am I breathing ok?” he might ask, introspectively at the moment. After a few minutes, he is joined by another. The pounding of the companion’s

Review: Blacks’ Myths Self-Titled Debut

My grandfather’s name was Mason E. Guthrie and he was born in a small town called Gastonia, North Carolina, in the 1920s. I don’t know much about his childhood, save for a few family legends and what he told me during an interview I conducted with him when I was in middle school. He and

Review: Eris 136199 by Han earl-Park, Catherine Sikora, and Nick Didkovsky

It has been about 24 hours since a speeding car struck me in North Philadelphia (9/21/2018, approx. 8pm). The fact that I can sit down and write about it so soon afterward will hopefully enlighten the reader to how fortunate I am to be here to compose this for you . . . and more