CBJC Festival Magazine 2016


Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium produces a Jazz Festival every year. 2016 brings our 17th Annual Festival. The Brooklyn grassRoots festival this year runs from April 15th until May 15. This years event was fantastic. View our magazine for a look inside.

sound to Spirit is fundamental technology

for the Amazon. They all can do that and

differently too. The Amazon is a goddess.

A testimonial for Dr. Nina Simone required

no less than an army of goddesses.

Her army was there. Keep in mind what

it takes to be a goddess, then understand

that her army was there. These are the

troops that can eat their prisoners. Goddesses

do that too. A quality of your cool

is the level of your Nina Simone story because

she was impeccably divine, but humanly


To speak of Nina’s strength, as with all

who came to praise her transition, is a redundancy.

In so many ways the feminine

image of accountability, she reigned supreme

as the Queen Mother for the tribe

of the unforgiving. In the Old World, the

title for such sovereignty is Iyalode: ‘the

adjudicator of market place issues’. It is a

chieftancy occupied exclusively by women

and not questioned in its authority. The

transition of an Iyalode is both the closure

and rebirth of eras by which people

live their lives-- conduct their business.

The so-called New World has no counterpart

translation for the Iyalode, due

mainly from the diminished valuation of

the woman gender. Iyalode is the woman’s

voice in the ruling Senate of Elders and

the appeal of last resort within the gender.

Such power carries the requirement of

impeccable demeanor and comportment.

Iyalode is a lonely place because it is the


Nina Simone’s music is unlike anyone

else’s music. She infused her artistry in everything

she touched; possessed the soul

of any song she sang. Like it or not, you

always got the Nina Simone version of everything

she did. She continues to be quite

luminous, especially to those of us accustomed

to music that is alive. Nina accurately

interpreted love in the nappy-headed

fashion guys like me tend to experience

it. Love may start out a Gershwin tune but

always ends an opus Simone by the time

the kissing stops. Often long before. Dr.

Nina tinged the human need for intimacy

with reality bites, like the presence of diapers

latent in the love making act. You recognize

her priorities and make a surviving

culture by adherence to them. Nina’s is the

music that charts ‘love in a time of plague’,

the musical landscape of keeping it real.

When you connect the neighboring stars

in her constellation, you’ve linked to Billie

Holiday, Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey.

How these Iyalodes defined love is the

unimpeachable standard for Africans and

others in the

New World.

For male

members of

the tribe of

the unforgiving,

her music

declared the

reality that

we are not

forgotten, are

not strange,

are not alone.

She blended

the ‘sweet and

sour taste of

love’ in her

music more


and to more

memorable effect

than anyone you can name. No one

handles the scar tissue of romance like

Nina Simone. No one gives it more dignity.

The ‘going over ceremony’ for such an

accomplished spirit engages the most exacting

nuances of testimony because no

one is capable of saying it all. Ritual provides

the outlet by which many compose

a portrait of the one. Ritual is the social

mechanism that attacks the void and defeats

death. The footpath of ritual is much

grown over, but there are those who still

know the steps and tread it with the purity

of their initiation, for the salvation,

the restoration of us all. Words cannot

capture the ritual dance of the leaders as

they guide us up the ancient pathway, but

the landscape was indelibly, undeniably

Nina Simone. Without interpretation, the

non-initiate can only find release in tears

of loss. We’re only human after all. But that

is not the way of goddesses.

Perfectly, as an

invocation must

be, Sister Camille

Yarbrough ululated

a war cry for

the fallen before

she put everybody

on their feet

in a blood rushing

tribute to the

memory of Dr.

Nina Simone. She

scorched the earth

and made sacred

space for all to follow

within. Then

Ossie Davis, the

distinguished presiding

elder, leaned

Ms. Nina Simone on the mic

adroitly on his several

prerogatives to

interpret Simone’s signature, ‘Mississippi,

God Damn!’ right there at the pulpit. It

was quite a hit, built into his lesson on the

battle implications of the trumpet, and the

trumpet that Dr. Nina was for the world.

He sat down to a standing ovation and

the amazed approval of Rev. Butts. Then

flowed a river of other fascinating women,


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