Two new compilations from Tramp Records out of Germany – Peace Chant: Raw, Deep and Spiritual Jazz – Vol. 3 and Vol. 4. Also available combined on one CD. Digital downloads are easiest.
My tune “Mother’s Day” recorded in 1997 with the Lenny Marcus Trio leads off Vol. 3 and a tune from a concert I organized in 2016 to celebrate the music of Brother Yusuf Salim and Bus Brown is featured on Vol. 4. That cut is a song by Bus Brown sung by the late Steve Wing – “Freedom”.
Be sure to check out their wonderful and quirky discography! And while you can listen to some of the tracks below PLEASE support small and independent labels by purchasing the music on their Bandcamp page.
Tramp Records is one of Germany’s tiniest but funkiest record labels. We release new bands, but also re-issue quality (not necessarily rare) funk, soul, jazz, folk and afro beat too.
And here is what I wrote for the liner notes for the recording:
“The Baltimorons they jokingly called themselves. I met Brother Yusuf and Bus Brown in the early 80’s when I heard they were holding jazz jam sessions at the old train station in Carrboro, NC. Yusuf would encourage anyone to come up and play or sing and was the most supportive coach and accompanist I had ever seen. He brought out the absolute best in everybody and was a master at navigating and subtly eroding the racial barriers in this southern town. Bus packed his message into his lyrics and he pulled no punches. Both of them had a huge influence on the music community in this area and Yusuf mentored many young players and singers. His main protoge was the pianist/vocalist Steve Wing who absorbed much of Yusuf’s playing style and his message. Yusuf wrote out band charts for his tunes and arrangements but he never wrote piano parts and Steve was the only person who knew those piano parts after Yusuf’s death.
Eight years after Yusuf’s death in 2008 Steve was diagnosed with terminal cancer, my own mother was dying, and our country was on the brink of electing a man who would spend his entire time in office trying to divide the nation along race, ethnic, and religious lines. I contacted the new owners of that old train station and we staged a series of concerts mostly to provide performance opportunities for Steve but also to resurrect some of the music that had been given birth there. The concert on August 27, 2016 featured some of the sextets composed by Yusuf as well as several of Bus Brown’s songs. Most of the musicians on stage that day had performed with Bus and Yusuf. It was the first time much of that music had been heard in well over 10 years.
The day was particularly memorable to me for these things:
My mother passed away the day before the concert. I had cared for her daily for over 3 years. The concert and the support of the audience was a great solace to me.
Steve Wing passed early in the morning of election day that November. The Brother Yu performance was one of his last and of the 30 years that I played music with him, it was his finest performance.”