© 1992 Diana Ross Live
© 1993 Diana Ross Live. Stolen Moments: The Lady Sings… Jazz and Blues.
Bass: Ron Carter
Trumpet: Jon Faddis
Trumpet: Roy Hargrove
Without doubt, the strongest Diana Ross live performance ever. Poignant. Moving. Those large beauteous eyes mirror a lot of pain and rage during its performance. Again, if you can’t sing it because you know damn well you can’t, why bother wasting the time on the likes of you?
A true mystery to me it remains why when one hates Blacks with such unbridled passion, one would end up squatting all over Black culture, Jazz, as though it were the latest Settler craze. More to the point, there are no racially predatory persons creating Haida or Inuit art… and with good reason; then again, neither are expressions of Black creative genius. Culture is a non-negotiable.
Alas, there is the racial predator aggressively overrunning the culture then turning around and acting as though to somehow include Blacks in Jazz – which after all one has already declared does have its roots in Klezmer – is tantamount to the Oscars where every 3/4 centuries or so, one will deign to consider tossing a best actress Oscar a Black female’s way.
The same Black female whom, in this the new age of minstrelsy, Diana Krall in her invisible blackface can never proximate. However, this is about market share and having the right look and simply getting the lion’s share of fame and fortune for being born of the womb of the racial predator. La Krall who in the pop idiom would have never risen stratospherically to the heights she has; certainly, she would never have had more than a second album.
She is a marvellous enigma – an icon in that sense for what she represents. “I can get more market share than you” and that’s that. She is cold and sterile like the gun that gunned down way too many young Black men – like the gun that set Ferguson, Missouri ablaze – whose lives clearly do not matter to some. To see what a true fraud La Krall is – she who seemed nothing more than a venereal wart on Oscar Peterson’s arse, an arse which was too good to be wiped by mere Blacks when finally he was parked in palliative care – just listen to her do a damn good Joni Mitchell impersonation on her current album.
Sitting there at the piano, botoxed within a breath of being on view in her casket, La Krall coolly cops that ‘phuch ewe’ swagger she owns so well – just as Eminem does. Yes, indeed, it is all about money and as race ever trumps either class or reason, there she drifts through life in Bentleys where others, the real McCoys, can hardly afford a Lada.
Again, why should we Blacks culturally settle for a Lada when we can, by right, damn well afford a Bentley? Alas, who knows whether Cassandra Wilson is dead or alive anymore?
More than ever, these pale imitators no more give a damn about Blacks or Black culture than the next Klansman. Roberta Gambarini is the best impersonator of Carmen McRae going… nothing more. There they squat, this elephantine, oppressive presence all over Jazz, pulling an Eric Garner thereby suffocating and stifling the very breath of Black culture. Seriously, who are Emilie-Claire Barlow, Holly Cole, Sophie Milman but mirrors of the grudging contempt for which one holds Blacks and Black culture.
Never once did I, or Merlin and I for that matter, manage to gain entry into Montréal Jazz Bistro when it sat on Sherbourne Street. Indeed, the one time, we made it to George’s Spaghetti house, having previously tried to without success, was as the guests of David Tipe; the evening was cut short after a stranger wondered over to the table where we sat and in the midst of making small-talk blurted out something about ‘niggers’.
Without the support from the moneyed classes, there can be no arts, no culture. Racism is economics and the result of the focussed economic oppression of Blacks – all fostered by the demonisation, marginalisation and dismissal of Blacks, in particular Black males, by a cinema/television culture, the architects of whom are the same persons who squat all over the culture and would be so smug as to blithely claim on live radio that Jazz has its roots in Klezmer. Some alternate reality that.
Thank goodness there was a strong Black middle class, little more than a century ago, without which there would have been no birth of Jazz. No Coltrane, no Ellington, no Mingus and on and on and on. There has been a steadfast erosion to near obliteration of the Black middle classes such that anyone today without an awareness of music history would think it incredulous that Blacks should claim to be the innovators of Jazz.
Naturally, of course, the same cinematic agendum that would keep Blacks all but invisible and extinct when not risible, violent and or marginalised has never once seen fit to have cinematically documented the lives of any of these true geniuses of Jazz which one keeps claiming is a true American art form, yet until Michelle Obama took up residency in the White House, it had never before been performed therein.
Black history month is about celebrating and most of all it is about never for a nanosecond losing sight of who the racial predator is and despite Nikki Yanofsky – the darling little Montréalaise with the bought career – claiming, “Oh Ella we love you!” well to channel the very spirit of Frederick ‘Mr. Hat’ Jones, I declare, “Bitch please. Ella don’t give no damn if you can turn piss into wine. We ain’t having it!”
Sing Strange Fruit or just go make country music; an idiom, I might add, where you never see Blacks claiming ownership thereof or time-wasting patronising. After all, Country is the music of the very people about whom Strange Fruit was penned.
Alas, your racially predatory animus is so intense that you can’t but squat all over the culture, with total disregard, and thereby make it your own. Besides, what do you care what we think?
Go on, go ahead, let’s see you sing Strange Fruit with all the pain and rage as Diana Ross… to say nothing of Billie Holiday.
© 2013-2017 Arvin da Braga. All Rights Reserved.