“Through its spirit of creativity and commitment to music, Moods Music is a cornerstone of the art movement renaissance.” – Kemi Bennings
In my article, “Requiem for a Record Store”, I addressed how declining record sales are affecting major and independent record stores across the US. Even though buying and downloading music online is convenient for consumers, I pleaded with music fans stating that record stores still play an integral part of our lives in how we explore, discover and purchase new music. In the Atlanta area, record stores are flourishing, but there are a few that remain. Moods Music is a mom & pop store in the heart of Little 5 Points that has the best selection of eclectic and ambient music ranging from Acid Jazz, Soulful House, Brokenbeat, Afrobeat, Latin, Hip Hop, Neo Soul and Reggae. I’ve had the opportunity to check out the store on a couple of occasions and I have to tell you, the experience is worth while. First and foremost, the music selection is unmatched. I scanned the rack and saw releases that are hard to find or are only released overseas. The genres of music that flood the store are in alignment with my musical tastes. Another gem they carried, which excited the mind, was magazines that I enjoy reading and love. One of them is Waxpoetics, a magazine of stories from soul, jazz and funk-era legends, rarefied grooves and advertisements of independent album releases, online record stores and brand names that cater to the underground market. Aside from the music and magazines, Moods Music has their own branded t-shirts that they sell and a wide selection of black soaps, essentials oils and incense. From the soulful music that plays in the backdrop to the melodic atmosphere that sooths your soul, Moods Music is sure to put you in the mood to kick back and explore the many gems they have to offer. If you’re ever in the Little 5 Points area, be sure to check out Moods Music. SHOW LOVE & SUPPORT TO YOUR LOCAL RECORD STORES!
Here’s a piece written by Kemi Bennings poetically describing the experience when entering Moods Music
Sounds that immediately penetrate your soul
A funky fusion of acid, afro-cuban, jazzy, house, rare grooves
that make your hips move and sway like they never have before,
and in that instant, The Bazaar’s hallways become a dance floor –
An open door portal to heaven –
Ascension to peace on earth –
And for a moment in time you drift away,
giving birth to the brightness of a new day
You stay a while, but only long enough to see the child – in you
the smile – in you
A mood that sets you free
1130 Euclid Avenue
Little 5 points
Atlanta, GA 30307
Rita J – "The Artist Workshop"
I was first introduced to Rita J by a close friend of mine, Dotnificent. We were talking about female emcees and I mentioned that I had finished writing an article about Stacy Epps. He replied that he had heard of Stacy and mentioned Rita J in the same breath. Due to his super slow internet connection (slower than dial-up), he was desparately trying to connect to her MySpace page to listen to her music. We had a sneak preview (I’m not talking about the album snippet) of her song, “Dreams & Aspirations”. I was instantly blown away by the cadence of her words. I began making a mental checklist. Delivery. Check. Wordplay. Check. Content. Check. She had me! Female artist in the hip hop community are for the most part clones like their male counterparts. If it’s not violence, it’s sex, if it’s not sex, it’s disrespecting other artists for publicity. So to hear a female artist come along and bring something new to the table is always refreshing. However, if she has class, charisma, substance, wordplay and delivery like Rita J, she has my support as a commited fan. I have dreams and aspirations and as an artist myself, Rita J brings that much needed inspiration to fuel the fire for me to write (and only a few have the ability to do that). Below are what others are saying about Rita J.
“Hip hop fans desperate for an intelligent, positive, and versatile female MC need to look no further than Rita J”
“In a hip-hop world where female MCs often put skin ahead of artistry, Rita J is a breath of fresh air, and is more than ready to join the ranks of elite female MCs.”
“Her father, who introduced her to a diverse collection of music including hip-hop, soul, disco, and rock, fostered in her a sense of self-knowledge and a love for the arts, which serve as the cornerstones for her work.”
Rita J Live @ Estrojam
Download Rita J – Mrs. Jackson Mixtape
Senor Kaos – "Swagger Is Nothing, Talent Is Everything"
I was first introduced to Senor Kaos a couple of months ago while surfing the net to see what was going on in the Atlanta music community. I stumbled upon The Kaos Effect and Vintage Imperial websites. I saw that Senor Kaos was the person behind the behind the efforts. So I began to search around to see what else Kid Kaos was doing for the community. I found his MySpace page, some press, reviews and watched a clip of him as a panelist at Music University, an event hosted by Patchwerk Studios and I dO Music. I said to myself, “This kid is everywhere!” Fast forward two months, while searching for an artist for this weeks feature, Senor Kaos name popped in my mind. I went back to his site to get some updates. To my surprise, there was a video called “Girls Rock Too”. To be honest, I was skeptic about the title. I said, “Is this a club record?” Well, a wise woman once told me, “Never judge a book by its cover.” I gave it a listen and I was stunned. In a world ruled by male chauvinism, “Girls Rock Too” is an ode to all of the women who have played an important role throughout history and Senor Kaos is acknowledging their worth. For his effort, he receives much respect. From blogging, promoting, being an entrepreneur, recording, performing, lecturing and so on and so on, Senor Kaos definitely deserves acknowledgement for his endeavors. Below are what others are saying about Senor Kaos.
“Content, Delivery, and Showmanship are the three core values for Atlanta emcee Señor Kaos, an emerging lyricist whos unique approach to hip hop has sent him around the Globe.”
“What you are all witnessing is the metamorphosis from a young hopeful to the leader of the new school. Señor Kaos is a true undergound monarch.” – Performer Magazine
“Maybe someday he’ll help lead a revolution of artistic integrity in Hip Hop, but for now he’s an explosive and eclectic force to be reckoned with.” – Southeast Performer Magazine
Senor Kaos – Girls Rock Too (Remix) Video
Download Senor Kaos - Swagger Is Nothing, Talent Is Everything Mixtape
“Business and art are diametrically opposed forces and music has become a business. DJ 1derful attempts to bring the art, the expression to anyone who will listen.” - From DJ 1derful's site
DJ 1derful is the last of a dying breed. In today’s saturated music market, djs, artists, record execs and corporations alike are, for the most part, operating on an egocentric level. They base their decisions on emotion and how the industry can benefit them. Where’s the love? Where’s the compassion? Better yet, where’s the music! Indeed, the business has overshadowed the art form; however, only a selected few are representing the art form despite the temptations of the material world. DJ 1derful is one of those exceptions who expresses his love and bares his soul to the world. I came across his work when I first moved to Atlanta in November. I was desperately searching for clubs, djs, artists and meetup groups that showcased Soulful House, Future Jazz,Lounge and Brokenbeat music. Understanding the New York music scene, these genres of music are the epitome of the dance community. As far as clubs, djsand artists in Atlanta, these elements are a rarity. However, I found destiny when I stumbled upon DJ 1derful’s, Atlanta’s Deep, Soulful & Classic HouseMusic Meetup Group. From there, I found a link to his website and social networking sites to learn more about his body of work. From links to other artistsand communities, free music streams and downloads and music news, DJ 1derful keeps you “in the know” about what going on in the world of soulful music. Remember, today’s definition of a music fan is different from the traditional perception of what they once represented. Music fans are proactive and involve themselves more in the progression of an artist’s career or a genre of music. DJ 1derful embodies that definition. That is the reason why I featured him in today’s, “Music Fan” section.
Below is DJ 1derful’s Dirty Martini Mix
Ceramic ft. Aisling Stephenson - Broken Dreams (House Remixes) (Ian Friday ‘Tea Party’ Vocal Mix)
Wil Milton & Rodney Carter - Don’t Let Go (Tomorrow’s a Better Day)
BitterSuite - Giant Steps EP (Reflection)
Franck Roger - Father
Loan Souls - Sun Is Shining (Luca Ricci Lounge mix)
Cloud 9 - Midnight Groove
Joey Silvero - A Different Life (Midnight Forever)
Nature Love - Speak Softly (Quad’s Waiting Oooh Mix)
Ralf Gum feat. Diamondancer - All This Love For You (Rocco Spoken Mix)
Neo - A Night In Marseille (Original Blackjazz Mix)
Monsieur Cedric feat. Missy Blue - Music Is (La Musique Reprise)
Deep Ya’ll aka DJ Rico - Sun For Life (Soulful Deep Main Mix)
DJ 3000 & Ursula Rucker - My Sunday Afternoon (Deviant from AIO mix)
Illusive feat. Keely - Summer In September (Main Mix)
Visit the Atlanta’s Deep, Soulful & Classic House Music Meetup Group
In today’s saturated music market, you must have more than presence on and offline, a strong will to network and promote, quality music and a true following to survive as an artist. The one and most important element that most artists overlook when sustaining longevity is having knowledge. Educating yourself about the music industry is vital when venturing in the business. I’m apart of the I dO Music group on Facebook and there was an interesting discussion dealing with educating yourself about the business and knowing what you want when approaching a major label. Here’s a quote from my response to the post:
“While talking to the majors, they should be telling them what they need in terms of expanding their platform. It's the same as a business proposal. You should have everything mapped out to assure that you're worth the representation and investment.”
In association with PatchWerk Studios, Atlanta’s premiere recording facility, I dO Music is an outlet for up and coming musicians, producers, songwriters, managers and anyone who is involved in the music business. As stated on their Facebook page:
“Their goal is to position I dO Music! as a resource like none other...a resource that connects YOU (the musician) to EVERYTHING & EVERYONE that can be an asset to you in your music career.”
If you want to network and mingle with industry insiders and the best talent in the Atlanta, I dO Music hosts an ongoing event at Apache Café every 1st Thursday of the month respectively called, I dO Music. This Thursday, March 5th, through Sunday, March 8th, PatchWerk Studios will host “Music University 6” at their recording facility. Below is a video from an I dO Music event, which took place last July.
Stacy Epps “The Awakening”
I was first introduced to Stacy Epps on Click Groove, the home of broken beat, future boogie, deep & soulful House and all that jazz, and I was fascinated by her song “Floatin”. I immediately added the song to my “wish list” for future purchase. A couple of months later I joined an online social networking group, Soul Commune, which is a community for lovers of soulful music. I setup my page and began befriending people in the Atlanta area. I stumbled upon Stacy’s page and didn’t recognize her at first. I saw that she was an artist and click a link to listen to her songs on MySpace. As the page loads, I hear the opening to the song “Floatin”. My first thoughts were, “I heard this before; but where?” I finally realized this is the same artist who I added to my “wish list” a couple of months prior on Click Groove. I chose Stacy Epps for the Music Artist’s section because I feel that her soulful and timeless voice; powerful messages of divine love, peace and happiness; and her ability to skillfully transition from singer to rapper is phenomenal. Below are what others are saying about Stacy Epps and her music.
“She refuses to compromise her ideals to progress professionally. Stacy Epps represents her sistas well by reminding them of their natural glow, encouraging them to love one another, and to support their brothas in the struggle for wealth of character.”
“The spiritual essences of Alice Coltrane, mixed with the abstraction of Bjork, the spaciness of Radiohead and the drums of J-Dilla, her musical menagerie is packed with influences as diverse as her heritage.”
“With the mind to interpret, the heart to heal, and a culture to express, Stacy Epps is among the day’s brightest young innovators.”
Below is “Floatin” on YouTube
Click Here To Listen to the Full Album “The Awakening”
Jaspects “Double Consciousness”
I was first introduced to the group Jaspects, a sextuplet jazz group, a couple of months ago. I had just moved back to Atlanta from New York and I was searching to see what artists were making an impact on the music scene. In the midst of searching through endless profiles on MySpace, I stumbled upon their site. THROW YOUR J’S UP! The opening to their song, “Unifunk”, instantly caught my attention because it reminded me of the ending to the theme song for WKRP in Cincinnati. The fusion of hard hitting drums, futuristic instrumentation and fine auto tuning, the song catapulted me into a state of pure bliss. I chose Jaspects for the Music Artist’s section because they are a group that knows no boundaries when it comes to music. Their willingness to revitalize and fuse different genres of music with jazz despite the criticism from the jazz community, speaks volumes. Below are what others are saying about Jaspects.
“Jaspects’ goal is to produce an exhaustive musical experience that involves TRUE freedom of expression via musical and lyrical creativity.”
“…the "gateway drug" that will inevitably lead to a deeper appreciation for traditional jazz.”
“The band promotes the idea that the culture of hip-hop can support an entity that focuses on musical depth without ostracizing the mainstream fan of hip-hop.”
Below is “Unifunk” on YouTube.
Click Here To Listen to the Full Album “Double Consciousness”
The future of the jazz scene in Atlanta seems grim due to the lack of originality, venues for live performances and the cancellation of the 2009 Jazz Festival. From Jon Ross’s perspective, the scene is still vibrant and emerging in a thriving community of jazz enthusiasts. Jazzlanta, Jon’s blog, is an attempt to keep the genre alive and the community aware of what’s happening around town. Sifting through his posts, I’ve come to the realization that there is a future for the jazz scene in Atlanta despite the many pitfalls. For the lack of originality, Jay Norem and Ken Gregory are on a quest to bring about a jazz collective called the Atlanta Jazz Reunion at Studio 281. The aim is to create a web of musicians that work as a support system for original music. As Norem says,
“It’s very difficult to sell the idea of a musicians’ organization here. This is not much of a town for original music…..Yes, I’m an idealist, but I just can’t see how much good can come from things staying the way they are in Atlanta. It will take time, but it’s not going away.”
For the lack of live performances at restaurants and clubs, Jon has a couple of posts speaking about local house concerts around Atlanta. Local house concerts are a growing phenomenon around the country where homeowners provide a space for starving artists to perform. Two groups that are spearheading the local house concert scene in Atlanta are The Bowman House Concert Series and SOJA (Southeastern Organization for Jazz Arts Events). Below is a video from SOJA’s last house concert, which featured Takana Miyamoto and Christian Tamburr.
As for the cancellation of the 2009 Jazz Festival, it seems that there are good signs to come. The festival will be held May 23-25th at Grant Park. A press release was released to shed light on the issues concerning the cancellation of the festival and to give the jazz community hope that the Office of Cultural Affairs is responding to their pleas for the preservation of America’s only unique art form. Here’s is a quote from the press release:
"Recent economic conditions and budget reductions threaten to interrupt a 32-year tradition of presenting authentic jazz to the residents and visitors of Atlanta. While city funding for the festival has been eliminated, local jazz enthusiasts and supporters of the Atlanta Jazz Festival overwhelmingly demand the continuation of what Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin has determined as 'one of the city’s proudest traditions.”