The wrap is digging the mellow fruitfulness of the season
Your weekly reading list with pieces on Locol, Berghain, the singer’s voice, tennis, Kamasi Washington, Manchester, Jason Flom, James Brown etc
(1) The Locol story: Willy Blackmore’s fine piece on how influential chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patteron’s plan to feed more than just the rich led to opening “the most impportant fast-food restaurant in America” in Watts, Los Angeles.
(2) The other life of Jason Flom. Best known as a music executive whose career at Atlantic, Virgin and Capitol wh ohas worked with acts from Katy Perry to Lorde to Tori Amos, Flom is a founding board member of the Innocence Project after becoming an advocate for people imprisoned for crimes they didn’t commit at all.
(3) Northern Sulphuric Soulboy is a book telling the story of Manchester DJ and producer Mark Rae’s life to date, but also the other side of the city’s musical life. “Inner city Manchester had nothing to do with what was happening at the Hacienda. The Madchester stuff was a story being sold to the outside world. In Moss Side, Cheetham Hill, Whalley Range, and the rest of the inner city, it was all black music. All the heads that had the record stores in Manchester were selling jazz, funk, soul and hip-hop.” And for good measure, a golden blast from the past
(4) The new jazz cats: the ties that bind jazz’s current kingpins with hip-hop’s influence.
(5) Anyone for tennis? “Millennials pose a special problem for a sport that embraces tradition as much as tennis does. The game’s leaders are worried that those celebrated four- and five-hour matches between titans like Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will not captivate this younger audience. There’s a growing sense that change may be in the offing, as well as a steady, rising chorus calling for reform in key areas, including the scoring system.”
(6) James Brown’s backpages: some items from the Godfather of Soul’s archive of artefacts, show costumes and gongs
(7) Brits abroad shocker: “there is money to be made here by a media that knows how much the moral right enjoy tut-tutting over those Brits who do not travel for what they deem to be the “correct” cultural reasons. But while these moral arbiters express their disapproval their reporting creates an image of the destination that itself helps establish expectations of what people find when visiting and, in turn, how they should behave when there.”
(8) What happens to a singer’s voice as he or she ages? “The singer’s most delicate and irreplaceable apparatus is the larynx, the object of immense care and constant torture. Like everything else in the body, that agile apparatus tends to lose its powers over time.”
(9) How rock’n'roll became white: excerpt from Jack Hamilton’s Just Around Midnight: Rock and Roll and the Racial Imagination. “How did rock-and-roll music—a genre rooted in black traditions, and many of whose earliest stars were black—come to be understood as the natural province of whites? And why did this happen during a decade generally understood to be marked by unprecedented levels of interracial aesthetic exchange, musical collaboration, and commercial crossover more broadly?”
(10) The Berghain effect: Mats Wurnell’s Berghain: The World’s Most Legendary Techno Club book on how club promoters Michael Teufele and Norbert Thormann turned an old East German power plant into the techno club powerhouse of today.