Hi y’all. This is the last Wednesday before the election, and hopefully by the next Wednesday we’ll be in a mood to celebrate. In the meantime, I want to give you a bit of a reminder of why I started this series back when this blog was still known as Booman Tribune. Part of it is simply that I love music, and YouTube made it extremely easy to post any of a number of favorite songs, performances, etc. The other, and perhaps more important part has to do with the aftermath of the 2016 election, which is when I started this series. I was witness to, and no doubt participated in some very heated discussions about the meaning of that election cycle and what it meant to be liberal/progressive/leftist etc. The impression I had, correctly or incorrectly, was that some of the language of the alt-right had filtered into the sort of center-left circles (of which this blog is one) with regard to issues concerning how to prioritize racial/ethnic inequality, with some fairly loud voices seeming to privilege the white working class as the primary focus. As someone who is aware if how many of our problems are intersectional in nature, and that we’d really lose something by ignoring the very diversity that we’d once embraced as a broader liberal/progressive community, I felt the need for some pushback. So, I put up the first cafe/lounge late in 2016 and saw what happened. It served as both an “up yours” for some detractors and a warm embrace and gentle reminder of what makes our liberal and progressive communities here and abroad so beautiful. In the intervening nearly four years (with a few breaks here and there) I’ve shared music from a variety of genres, eras, and cultures. Some weeks were clearly themed. Some I sort of improvised as I put something together. Some folks took the call and responded with their own videos. As someone who lives by a saying that “vision is part revelation and revolution: it is the call and the resonse”, I enjoy those moments especially. That saying is one I coined, based on some liner notes to a William Parker LP. His words were a bit more eloquent at making the same point.
So here you are, reading this preamble and wondering, when are we getting some music? It’s coming. Let’s start with a documentary entitled What Ever Happened to Hazel Scott?:
She was a talented pianist and vocalist who had a very promising career that was cut short in the US around 1950 thanks to HUAC. Her story is one that deserves telling over and over. And I hope it is a stark reminder of what happens when that fascist impulse rears its ugly head. Normally, as a courtesy I don’t link to Daily Kos, but since I got this video from a diary about her, it is only fair that I give credit where credit is due. We live in a time that certainly parallels the paranoia of the McCarthy era, and we have an election coming up that will hopefully be the beginning of the end of our current sorry era.
Here’s Alicia Keys giving a nod to Hazel Scott before moving on to some other music that inspired her:
While we’re at it, why not just enjoy Hazel Scott playing two pianos:
Okay. The bar is open. So is the jukebox. Remember to vote if you haven’t already. Vote early, and depending on your state, probably best to vote in person at this point. The GOP deserves to be taken to the woodshed. This is our chance.