Culture as Institution

The Lure of Collecting Jazz Albums
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The Lure of Collecting Jazz Albums

I am often asked by newer jazz fans for advice in collecting good or classic jazz records. My answer; “only you can decide what a classic is” and “it depends on the path of collection you choose to adopt.” A jazz collection without the Miles’ Kind of Blue, Coltrane‘s Giant Steps, Hancock‘s Maiden Voyage, Blakey and the Jazz Messengers‘ Moanin’, Mingus‘ Mingus Ah Um, or Brubeck‘s Time Out albums may attract little interest, an unsolicited lecture or even ridicule. Owning Dolphy’s Out to Lunch, Ornette’s The Shape of Jazz to Come, Jarret’s The Koln Concert or Terry’s Haig and Haig albums can bring you instant respect from many. Such indicates a well-defined culture of acquisition that transcends the sounds of jazz.. 

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What Is Academic Jazz, Does It matter?
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What Is Academic Jazz, Does It matter?

“Academic jazz” is a phrase that startles me. What does it mean? Today jazz music, jazz dance and jazz poetry are mainstream academic subjects. Libraries of books on jazz theory, performance, improvisation, history, analyses, events, styles, and personalities abound. Many believe jazz, particularly in its bebop and Avant-Garde forms, are intellectual, making it suitable for academic inquiry. If public intellectual giants such as Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Cornel West, Jack Kerouac, Amiri Baraka, have been steeped in jazz and its expression, it has to be intellectual. Nevertheless, jazz music was not created in university departments or conservatories of music. It came out of Africa, a continent perceived as backward. Most of the earliest practitioners of jazz in the USA could not read nor write English or music. They learnt and played their musical crafts by ear. That said, we may be confronted with the question, does academic jazz or the jazz of academics’ matter?  

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Ayo Odebisi’s Embrace: Through The Words of Henry Miller
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Ayo Odebisi’s Embrace: Through The Words of Henry Miller

Ayo Odebisi, also known as Paramole, would have turned sixty-five Wednesday, 28th of April. He was not a man you could forget. The aura he projected on those around him and his immediate environment contributed to the weight of words and ways. I never met anyone as sincere with himself and about the whole palate called life. He stood as an exemplar of the human spirit. I never get carried away by his thought; he was not superhuman, he was human and humane. Nothing has reminded me of Paramole’s than some words from Henry Miller in the video below.

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Where is Nigeria’s Thriving Middle-Class in 2021? The Youth Want to Know
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Where is Nigeria’s Thriving Middle-Class in 2021? The Youth Want to Know

A truism of economies is they tend to thrive when they have a large stable middle-class. In the mid-2010s, one of the most aggressive facts promoted about the Nigerian economy was that it had created a large and thriving middle-class. Many observers were sceptical but were called naysayers. Today we are all concerned about the future of our economies which has become incalculable due to the uncertain impacts of COVID-19; rising inequality, growing poverty, upward concentration of wealth, and climate change. Nigeria is facing such concerns and has a serious youth immiseration and deprivation problem. The culture of youth neglect has never been so insensitive. And yes, the middle class and the less well-off are the hardest hit. Upward mobility for the youth has become a phantom.

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Mufugbenous and Mufugbeneity: What Do They Mean?
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Mufugbenous and Mufugbeneity: What Do They Mean?

Since January 2021, friends, acquaintances and even strangers overwhelmed me with questions about a couple of words I often use. I was unaware words can be so intriguing or culturally misplaced. Remarked in my speech and writing, the words creating unexpected curiosity are “Mufugbenous” and “Mufugbeneity.” Read More “Mufugbenous and Mufugbeneity: What Do They Mean?”

From A Myth to A Cure: Where Does Africa Go After Vaccinations?
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From A Myth to A Cure: Where Does Africa Go After Vaccinations?

Can a universal cure come out of olden African culture, especially one that originates from mythology? “Nothing good or great comes out of Africa” is a settled statement of the many. Testing the truth of that statement can be either very difficult or very easy, depending on a person’s education and exposure. Read More “From A Myth to A Cure: Where Does Africa Go After Vaccinations?”

Dino Melaye Adopts the Pyrates Confraternity: A PR Coup?
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Dino Melaye Adopts the Pyrates Confraternity: A PR Coup?

[Former] Senator Dino Melaye – SDM – (Twitter handle: @dino_melaye) on the 4th of August 2020 tweeted a cynically edited video clip of members of the Pyrates Confraternity singing his name in elated spirits. The comment that accompanied the clip SDM presented was, “SDM loved everywhere… even Pirates [Pyrates].” Call it narcissism, the tweet appeared to be a subtly devised public relation’s [PR] coup by SDM and perhaps it has worked well in a nation with an ever ready atmosphere for the unusual. Read More “Dino Melaye Adopts the Pyrates Confraternity: A PR Coup?”