Rob Lee has a lot of opinions, many of which can’t be contained to Robcast so here’s Robservations.
Hey maaaaan, Rob Lee here. So as I mentioned in my post about Charles Mingus, I’ve gotten more into jazz.
My dad, the original Lord Lee, I’m not sure if he has the nobility that I have – I may have been more of a nominal title – you know, like a doctor with no normal training. Let’s call him General Lee – naw that’s no good – he’d get that Robert E. Lee thing – which tormented his early years. Which he hated. Let’s go with proto-Lord Lee (PLL) for segmentation purposes. PLL, Rudy and I worked together at Verizon as janitors. This is the same Verizon where many of the early episodes of Robcast where recorded – specifically the ones with Torin.
Jazz & Morgan State University
Anywho, on that ride from the mean streets of Baltimore city to Hunt Valley we’d be covered in the jazzy jazz – that’s close to jizz – we’d listen to music. Specifically, Morgan State University’s WEAA 88.9 radio station. I thought it was corny and thought it boring. I didn’t get it. Like I’m pro-black but in a nuanced way – I don’t like typical shit, stereotypes and so on – many of these stereotypes are strengthen and used for financial gain from the actual people who are victimized by it. I cringe at shit like this but I’m very into people of color. Jazz is super black, black people making their rules, their music and being great – I recognize that, then I did not.
Back to the music, so Gary Ellerbe seemed like a nice guy and a qualified host – I just didn’t have anything for him or the music. I was too young, not seasoned enough. I wanted to get it but it’s that thing of you have to not like what your parents like I suppose. PLL loves jazz music – strangely my dad and I have similar musical tastes. I like The Doors, Santana and Gil Scott-Heron. I am my father’s son. He grew up to their music and, in a way, so did I. Conversely, my dad likes Kanye West, I feel responsible for this. I think when I was a kid my dad shaded my musical tastes – he described Wu-Tang Forever as just a bunch of niggas whining. That cut me deep and may, unconsciously, have triggered my shading of a whole genre of music.
Where Jazz & Hip-Hop Meet
Interestingly, I liked jazzy hip-hop or jazz rap that was a constant in the 90’s like A Tribe Called Quest, The Roots (shout our Questlove – we share a birthday ) and so on. I was exposed to jazz music – my dad isn’t great with computers so one exercise he’d do is him sending me a list of artists or songs to download – it would all be jazz – my fake-nemesis. I would begrudgingly download it, place it on a flash drive, and deleting it from my hard drive, never listening to it. I cut the jazz out like a cancer.
So, moving forward to recent days, I was hit hard by the jazz bug. I would bond with my dad using the music as a soundtrack. I feel this is something PLL knew was coming and he is thrilled that it’s happening now. Jazz is freedom, it’s black, emotional and deep. Now I can firmly say sans pretension that Thelonious Monk, of which I enjoy a beer named after, Charles Mingus and John Coltrane are artists on my iPod. That’s no easy feat.
Adding to my newfound appreciation for Jazz. I’ve visited New Orleans three times in recent years. Those visits have allowed things I’ve learn – perhaps unconsciously – from my dad and Gary Ellerbee to click. I also learned Jazz – specificially from a story I heard in NOLA is wild dirty and does mean jizz. Who knew? Rob Lee likes Jazz.
Until next time,