Motown engineer Bob Olhsson discusses Marvin Gaye’s <i>What’s Going On</i>.
Written by Chris Williams
Motown engineer Bob Olhsson discusses Marvin Gaye’s <i>What’s Going On</i>.
Written by Chris Williams
Sergio Mendes enters a new decade, revamps his band as Brasil ’77, and rubs shoulders with Harrison Ford, Stevie Wonder, the Brothers Johnson, and Pelé.
Lani Hall soared to great heights as the lead singer for Brasil ’66 and as a musical muse for bandleader Sergio Mendes.
Daymé Arocena is a burst of light energy—an interstellar body in the constellation of Afro-Cuban world music.
In the late 1970s through mid-’80s, a Japanese DIY scene flush with post-punk attitude and electronic ambience offered a darker vision of the country’s boom years.
DJ Krush embarked on a journey with Mo’ Wax that found the turntablist/producer using hip-hop’s breakbeat foundation while pioneering a new genre of abstract instrumentals.
Producer Kip Hanrahan pulls an all-star cast of jazz and blues musicians together to bring novelist/poet Ishmael Reed’s words to life.
Schifrin is a musical chameleon with a sense of drama so heightened, an expertise and scope so wide-angled, that some cinematographers he has worked with had to have been jealous.
Through live jam sessions and studio recontextualization, drummer and producer Makaya McCraven cultivates a conduit between the jazz roots of improv and the expansive branches of modern music.
Jazz drummer and hip-hop producer Karriem Riggins recently moved from L.A. back to his hometown Detroit, the city where his heart beats.
Written by Marisa Aveling
“He is a beautiful cat,” I was told about celebrated Brazilian drummer and percussionist Ivan “Mamão” Conti, and I could hear it in his voice.
Monophonics singer-songwriter Kelly Finnigan got his start spinning hip-hop and making beats, which led to an obsession with studio production and classic analog keyboards.
Look Around the Corner, the newest project from Alice Russell and multi-instrumentalist producer Will “Quantic” Holland, is an effort that exudes comfort.
Of all the musical acts that have referenced tropicália, the Brazilian art/film/music movement of the late ’60s, Chicano Batman most embody its key concept: cultural cannibalism.
Although Odean Pope has performed alongside everyone from Jimmy Smith to James Brown, perhaps the wisest decision of the saxophonist’s career was to stop playing.
Visionary organist Doug Carn brought a spiritual lyricism to his soulful jazz offerings on Black Jazz Records.
The first of a four-part interview that gets to the heart of the talent and charm of the late, lamented Gregory Jacobs, aka Shock G.
The second of a four-part interview that gets to the heart of the talent and charm of the late, lamented Gregory Jacobs, aka Shock G.
The third of a four-part interview that gets to the heart of the talent and charm of the late, lamented Gregory Jacobs, aka Shock G.
Written by Alice Price-Styles
The last of a four-part interview that gets to the heart of the talent and charm of the late, lamented Gregory Jacobs, aka Shock G.
Born in West London in the mid- to late ’90s, broken beat (aka bruk) was created by a community of producers with their roots in a variety of London’s club scenes.
It was 1960’s Giant Steps that thoroughly and inexorably changed the saxophonist’s game going forward.
Ramsey Lewis always operated in the popular realm, successfully crossing over from jazz to the pop-R&B world but always doing it with soul.
From its psychedelic black and white cover by David Stahlberg to its perfect 1968 production by Gary McFarland, Dreams has remained one of my most treasured LPs.
Written by Dan Ubick
Guitarist Junior Marvin had a choice: join the Wailers or Stevie Wonder...
New York City’s roller-disco scene in the 1970s rivaled long-established DJ clubs and introduced a new outlet for breaking current music.
Hiatus Kaiyote is four uniquely talented individuals whose musical alchemy creates a whole that is more magical than its parts.
San Francisco’s Om Records is primarily known for house and downtempo. But it had a potent, if short-lived, offshoot dedicated to hip-hop...
Little Dragon’s brand of electronic future funk and fractured pop-soul was delivered the old-fashioned way, through nonstop touring.
A chance meeting thousands of miles from home led to a one-off recording session and the creation of Disco Jazz, cult favorite. Singer Rupa Sen tells her story.
It took many months and twice as many phone calls to get Quincy Jones on the line. Once he called back, the man was everything you could have hoped for.
Iconic composer Giorgio Moroder got his start writing and producing pop music in Germany. But an encounter with Donna Summer would change his career forever.
Producer Jneiro Jarel has followed a path of faith, experimentation, and artistic expression that has helped him create both a cache of original music and peace of mind.
Nina Simone had no filter. She spoke with candor about civil rights when many in her position didn’t dare. She sang about uncomfortable subjects....
In 1970s New York, photography student Chris Stein found his muse in singer Deborah Harry. Together they formed Blondie, merging cutting edge downtown visual style with a pop sensibilty.
Cynthia Robinson was a single mother when she joined Sly and the Family Stone as a trumpeter and vocalist in 1966. Her story winds from the very start of the band into the next century...
The progressive singer teams up with producer Madlib for bountiful Seeds, which she calls Black music “in the tradition of anyone who wasn’t scared.”
Written by David Ma
Tenor sax player and arranger Gene Barge left his job teaching social studies, music, and English in Virginia, to work at Chicago’s famed Chess Records in 1964.
A prolific musician and songwriter, King Curtis was an in-demand session man who played on records with many legends, from John Lennon to Aretha Franklin.
Amoeba Music opened on November 17, 1990, in Berkeley, California, offering an eclectic palette of music...
What’s the future of dance music? Godfathers of the new EDM movement Daft Punk have proposed an answer in the form of a question.
Living in post-9/11 Manhattan, I’ve had to learn to be more flexible than Gumby. I need more arms than Durga to field all the curve balls life’s throwing at me.
Isaac Hayes, William Bell, Al Bell, Bettye Berger, Deanie Parker and Calvin Newborn share stories of Memphis during Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination.
First-call funksters, the Meters have provided the backbone to countless classics. But the story of the band remains seldom-told.
Yusef Lateef discusses his colorful musical experiences that influenced his sonic persona and the influential producer Joel Dorn adds his unique perspective.
Jazzy Jay has been digging since day one. Peeking into his basement studio in the heart of Brooklyn conjures up the dusty ghosts of crates past.
Written by Robbie Busch
The Hot 8 Brass Band is a juggernaut of sweat, breath, metal, and drums, a powerhouse that lets nothing get in its way.
Remembering the life of J Dilla, featuring conversations with those closest to him, including Q-Tip, Common, Busta Rhymes, Questlove and more.
Back in the good old days of 1977 when gas lines were long and unemployment was high, there were two schools of DJs competing for Black and Latino audiences in New York City....
Ask music lovers what Detroit means to them, and you’ll probably hear mention of Berry Gordy or Norman Whitfield, perhaps George Clinton. That said, techno's roots can't be ignored.
Barrington Levy, the most important and best-admired vocalist to emerge from the early dancehall movement, discusses his past, present and future.
9th Wonder chats with Wax Poetics about the records that influenced him and discusses his mission to teach hip-hop history to the next generation.
When did you first hear the Skull Snaps? Was it in the summer of 1993 when the Pharcyde’s “Passin’ Me By” rode the pneumatic drums of the...
The true story of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
I’d finally done it. Somehow I managed to scrape together the loot, eighty-some bucks to buy the Ornette Coleman box set Beauty Is a Rare Thing and was on my way home...
After I interviewed DJ Rhettmatic for the Record Rundown in Wax Poetics Issue 22, he mentioned being clowned by fellow World Famous Beat Junkie J.Rocc for exceeding the normal...
An excerpt from People Funny Boy: The Genius of Lee “Scratch” Perry
It was an overlooked song by one of the more underrated rappers of his generation, and it was a masterpiece.
Written by Mark McCord
Pete Rock keeps active nowadays by doing what he perfected as a teenager: putting sounds into his sampler and banging out beats.
Meet Kool DJ Red Alert, part of the trinity of DJs that fostered the Zulu Nation during the early days of hip-hop, along with Afrika Bambaataa and Jazzy Jay.
The Fishtail Bar in the Bay Watch Resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is right out back overlooking the beach. Dozens of families are crowded in several swimming pools....
Slick Rick set the standard in rap’s glory years
DJ Shadow discusses transformations in record-buying culture, how his interest in 45s began, his first digging experience, and pinpoints the record that “changed his life.”
Sure, tropicália is more than one band, but Os Mutantes encapsulated the movement’s reckless cultural cannibalism, absurdist humor, and innovative music like no one else.
Jimmy Cliff is one of reggae’s true pioneers. Helping to inaugurate the Beverley’s Records label in the early 1960s....
David Holmes grew up as the youngest of ten in Belfast, Northern Ireland. With so many older siblings, he was surrounded by music from a very early age.
It starts with a check for $3.19. Without that check, there is no Motown. Without Motown, there is no Smokey Robinson. Without them, say good-bye to Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin....
Written by Travis Atria
The streets of New York City weren’t very pretty in the 1970s. Littered throughout once welcoming communities, an influx of heroin junkies, many broken young brothers home....
After a rather combative interview with Teddy Pendergrass for Wax Poetics 33, I was often asked, “What was up with Teddy that day?”
“The wildness is exquisitely wholesome. Furious dancing. Gentle laughter. Crepe paper and tinsel. Body energy shakes the room…”
Tim Maia was never satisfied. Brazil’s number one soul brother had a voracious appetite for both carnal and philosophical indulgences.
I had no expectations going into this interview with Teddy Pendergrass at the Conrad Chicago hotel.
Gamble and Huff cooked up the perfect recipe for Philadelphia soul
When greats like Pete Rock and DJ Premier acknowledge people of influence, they often mention Large Professor.
Lamont Dozier was a natural-born hitmaker. His famed songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland gained unparalleled success in the R&B world...
Bobby Womack is a thread that runs through soul music.
Keyboardist George Duke had his ecclectic beginnings playing with Frank Zappa’s band. Then he conquered the funky jazz scene on Germany’s MPS label.
Meeting Tom Moulton is a bit like meeting Henry Ford. Whether you know it or not, if you’ve driven a car, you owe something to Ford. And if you’ve danced in a club....
It could be argued that the real architect of Chicago house music was in fact a wild and pioneering DJ by the name of Ron Hardy.
“As some folks say, I helped create the disco music, the house music, and a lot of other different things,” says Bohannon.
There are a few things to know about Erykah Badu. First, she lives on a different plane. One that only true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool artists inhabit.
Singer, songwriter, and musician Michael Eugene Archer, who later adopted the jiggy stage name D’Angelo, released his groundbreaking album, Brown Sugar, in 1995.
It was winter of 1994, and I had just scored a sweet assignment to interview the king of “champagne soul,” Barry White, in Europe.
L.A. bass beast Thundercat mixes jazz intricacies with sweeps of forward thinking electronic inspiration.
Ishmael Butler effortlessly made his mark on hip-hop in 1993 with his unique voice and delivery, and the overall musical aesthetic of his group, Digable Planets...
Pianist Robert Glasper for years made straightahead jazz records and experimented with fusion on the side. Now he embraces the totality of Black music to bring jazz up to speed.
When Nasir Jones released his 1994 debut Illmatic, his use of several superstar producers on the same album set a hip-hop precendent that forever changed the game.
It was Aug. 11, 1973, and a teen from the Bronx, NY, named Coke was helping his homeboy Clive “Kool Herc” Campbell set up stereo equipment for a party scheduled for that night.
Written by Michael A. Gonzales
Following in the footsteps of Double Dee & Steinski, Prince Paul, and the Dust Brothers, DJ Shadow would push the boundaries of sampling...
The funky ballad of David Bowie’s time in Philly, the making of Young Americans, and his transition into Station to Station.
On a sunny October morning in 2015, a historic marker was placed in front of Sigma Sound Studios, the Philadelphia landmark recording hot spot.
Kamasi Washington received worldwide recognition for arranging and playing saxophone on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly.
Producer, songwriter, and organist Edwin Birdsong is the anonymous genius behind some of jazz-funk’s most cosmic moments.
Composer, arranger, and producer Thom Bell has quietly made his mark on the sound of popular music for the last half century.
Growing up with a roller-disco mom and drummer dad, Kon has been chasing the perfect beat his entire life.
Willed into being by one man, Earth, Wind & Fire became one of the biggest acts of the 1970s.
I’ve been fortunate enough to know “Poppa” Willie Mitchell for a handful of years. When we first met, in August 2000, I was working for Ike Turner, who decided to...
Written by Andria Lisle
Brazilian singer Ed Motta channeled his lifelong love for well-produced AOR groups like Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers and delivers a slick and melodic ode to yacht rock.
Getting his first shot with Marley Marl’s Juice Crew—and the posse cut “The Symphony”—Kool G Rap was a real hip-hop OG.
On the heels of her best-selling debut, Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number, fifteen-year-old Aaliyah was rocked by a sex scandal that would have crushed a lesser talent.
The Roots first hit the national spotlight as a live hip-hop act with their 1993 indie debut, Organix...
You couldn't ask for a better guide to New York club culture than Danny Krivit. He sits with Wax Poetics to share twelve influential records.
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