Rafa Selase

Jazz Fusion Artist

Rafa Selase Protest Songs album artwork of in shape shirtless black man with American flag over the entire image

Red Blooded American - Jazz Fusion, Jazz Rap

Listen

Jazz Hip Hop

"Chasing Demons"

Songs About Freedom

"Unhome"

Protest Song

"Red Blooded American"

Black Poet

Poetry is a topic that often is easy to overlook. However, it is a powerful communication, teaching and artistic tool in our society. Poetry often simplifies the abstract and complex into  easy to understand powerful statements. It is a beautiful precise summarization of experiences, emotions, feelings, perspectives and beliefs. Black poets like myself have always used poetry to say and express experiences that we were unable to talk about in any forum.

Poetry at its best is the truth! Not as people like to say your truth… It is courageous, free and fearless. It has no teammates, political agenda, party affiliation or tribe. A black poets mission is to see it, say it and write it, like it is. 

Poetry does not try to be deep, it should strive to be as Paul said ”quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

I am black poet that writes poetry from the my unique experience.  I write not as a black man but rather a spiritual body in this beautiful black suit!

Jazz Fusion Artist & Origins

Jazz Fusion Origins & Jazz Fusion Connoisseurs

Several musical evolutions happened during the late 1960s to create the genre of Jazz Fusion.  Fusion or Jazz Fusion is a musical genre that was birthed in the late 1960s when musical artists combined elements of jazz harmony and free jazz improvisation with genres such as rock, folk funk, r & b, and latin jazz. There were quite a few musicians like Herbie Hancock that began experimenting with electric instruments, electronic sounds and synths.

Fusion musical arrangements can be super complex, implement a single key, chord or repeated melody. The rhythm  and musical segment can often include electric bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, electric piano and electronic drums. And yes acoustic instruments can still be part of the musical arrangement and more than often they are. As with conventional free jazz improvisation, fusion instrumentalists usually require a high degree of music technical skill.

Jazz Fusion can be complex, changing time signatures involving many carefully arranged parts and detailed chord progressions, melodies, and off melodies. But are usually not as complex! Opting for a simpler rhythmic melody! Fusion musical arrangements, whether straightforward or elaborate, will feature improvisation sections. As with jazz, fusion often employs brassinstr uments like saxophone as melodic support and other solo instruments. But there is freedom in the type of instruments used in the arrangement. That’s what makes it fusion.

Free Jazz and Jazz Fusion in the 70s

The two jazz advances of the 1970s was Fusion and Free Jazz. As always Jazz Connoisseurs respect music and the art so much there was great discussion over this Jazz Fusion. The new creators “Jazz Innovators” believed jazz must move forward and evolve while always keeping a strong connection to its roots. And Jazz populist felt jazz should serve popular culture and large audiences.  I think as artist and musicians that is the big question,“What validates music and what validates a new sound or art form? Is something only validated if it serves a large audience or should the authentic work found in original experimentation be celebrated? Ultimately music is music and if one listener enjoys your music it is validated. Even if that listener is you. Everyone has a unique sound. The goal I will say is to find an audience that enjoys your sound.  There is also an argument that says, “trying to please the masses stops evolution” We can see that in many genres today; where many artist sound exactly the same with the same sound….same, same, same! No criticism there is nothing wrong with being the same!

Originality - Free Jazz

Free Jazz brought up many conversations.  As it was different from traditional fundamental forms of Jazz.  It seemed very hard to understand and find a rhythm. These changes included the absence of a steady beat considered essential to jazz. This beat was the 4 beat swing.  It also did not include a fixed set of chord progressions. Free Jazz soloists improvisations did not need to be bound by such rules. Ultimately they were open to whatever ever they felt in the moment. Which could be the same or drastically different version of the same song.

“I know you heard on the radio but this is live and it sounds like this!” in a Miles voice.

Some Free Jazz artist included Cecil Taylor, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea John Mclaughlin, and Joe Zaiwinal, who formed a group called Weather Report.

Jazz Fusion

Jazz Fusion involved the inclusion of Funk, Rock, and Soul. Jazz Fusion included: First different genre rhythms, second replaced complex chord progressions with rhythmic harmonies and third added electronically amplified instruments such as electric guitar, electric bass, and electric pianos and keyboard synthesizers.

Eventually Jazz Fusion began to include a blending of jazz with other styles and genres, such as Classical Music, Afro-Brazilian, Afro-Cuban music and Classical. Conclusion is Jazz Fusion is the combining of all musical genres based on a less complex rhythmic pattern than conventional Jazz. It is Jazz’s little brother who got a little help to keep up with his big brother.

Red Blooded American Album is your prototypical Jazz Fusion Album. Most of all the piano was based on melodic chord progressions with a slight hit of improvisation which makes it harder to sample. Adding in the electric guitar, bass and kick drum you have a nice mix of sound. Finalize that with jazz rap poetry and it is something quite unique if I can say that.

Gratitude,

Rafa

Jazz Fusion

Jazz was a direct descendent of spirituals music. Spiritual songs are songs that were original creations of African Americans. Negro Spirituals was another name used to categorize this music. It originated from their beliefs, combined with their struggles of subjugation, oppression and the brutality associated with slavery. African American music of that time was sung in a group, and included chants that are very similar to the choir songs heard in some of today's Black Baptist churches. It's also worth mentioning black poets have always written poetry that was consistent with negro spirituals.  

Origin of the “Spiritual Songs”

Wikipedia states that Blues, gospel music, country music, jazz and R & B were direct derivatives of spiritual music. In simple terms negro spiritual music is music that influences the spirit, but for educational purposes I will give a more thorough review of the origins of African American spirituals. Upon doing a little research I was fascinated with the connection between spiritual music, poetry and jazz, their origins and the historical experience of the so-called African American.

I was personally creating music about life that spoke to some of my experiences, observations and perspective while highlighting significant historical events. Obviously I was influenced by my upbringing but it was amazing to realize what I was creating was connected to a rich musical history and from something deep in our collective history. Again songs which I like to call poems (psalms) in written form is where is all started.  Written form is the poem, vocal is the spoken word or song. 

Our lives are poems, how we live is our poetry, and the music we produce and listen to is our  spiritual language. Is that too much? Music speaks to us in a way that words cannot. It pierces the heart! 

Sound, beats, bass, and the sound of strings is a language. A spiritual language! Music sets the foundation for your emotional state; it allows you to be more accepting and connected to not only the message of the music, but also your own thoughts and body. Music opens the heart and overrides the clutter. Music speaks to the soul!  An example is music that is played constantly on the radio eventually turns into messages that are played over and over in your mind, which over time will influence your behaviors.

Spiritual music is rich, powerful, compassionate and a beautiful history that is shared among all people. It has influenced the hearts of the stubborn, maintained hope for many, and reminded us all of passionate wisdom. Here are some examples of well known artists within the jazz, soul, hip hop, country, and R&B genres. Below are just a few artists that were not typically classified as gospel artists or negro spiritual music, but their music was indeed based in African American negro spirituals. 

Some of the artist include:

John Coltrane - I'll wait and pray

Billy Holiday & Nina Simone - Strange Fruit

Hugh Masekela - His Entire Collection

Lauryn Hill - Conquering Lion

Donny Hathaway - Someday We'll Be Free

Willie Nelson - In God's Eyes

Bob Marley - Thank You Lord

Patti Griffin - Up To The Mountain (MLK Song) 

Spiritual music is the original American music genre; it is freedom music and it is deeply seeded in the historical and present day experience of people world wide. It is a music that is both educational and spiritual. Spirituality and freedom go hand in hand! Freedom will require you to access, challenge and move your spirit. NOTE: I am not saying only negroes or blacks can create this music, but rather this type of music originated from the African American experience. Furthermore white, yellow and brown people have continued to make enormous contributions to this foundational music genre.  Music is colorblind!

HIP HOP Influence -Drums have been used in Africa for many forms of communication. When the colonizers realized the power link between drums and communication, drums were no longer allowed! It is quite interesting that drums and that beat were one of the main elements that drives hip hop music.

My music in general is as much poetry as it is spiritual, is as much freedom as it is jazz and is as much folk as it is alternative hip hop. It is music that is rooted from a spiritual experience while also holding on to those things that we value. And that is freedom. My songs are simply songs about freeing your mind, living powerfully, songs about life, songs about struggle, and ultimately freedom songs about victory! Just music, man...It's my sound, my voice! 

Jazz Fusion is not only a mixture of electronic, rock, folk, jazz, blues and contemporary sounds. But a sound that encompasses the historical and present day experiences of the artists that create the music.