Whistle while you work – what’s your fave genre?

Greetings all.

Yesterday’s topic about workspaces kind of leads into today’s topical pretty nicely – when you work (be it at a desk or anywhere else) what kind of music do you like to listen to (if any at all). Many times, unless I need to really concentrate (or just want quiet) on work items, I listen to music. The sources range from streaming platforms to minidisc to mp3 players to CD players.

My genres vary, but let me see if I can generally categorize them via the type of work done:

  • Housework/yardwork – 90’s era hip-hop (especially instrumental boom bap), funk, jazz (UK, contemporary), UK Garage (2-Step), Deep House, Rock, liquid drum and bass, atmospheric drum and bass, jungle
  • Deskwork (day job/other) and coding: Downtempo, chillout, ambient, chill step, lo-fi hip hop, jazz

I pretty much grew up on R&B, R&B which is considered as “old school R&B”. While it’s classic and legendary, it’s a genre that I listen the least to, probably because I’ve heard it day by day, decade after decade. The interesting thing about this is that it was highly commercial then with far more substance, across the board, than contemporary R&B. My reasoning for not engulfing myself in listening to old school is for the very simple reason being that as great as it is, it’s boring now. What I would love to hear is that same substance return with the same commercial heavy rotation it used to have BUT done my newer artists – commercial artists. I was telling a younger listener who is searching for such that she will mostly like find it in the realm of indie R&B artists, but definitely NOT in urban contemporary radio/streaming platforms today.

Ironically, I am typing this blogpost in utter silence…LOL. Sometimes I just want quiet…like now. 🙂

Thanks, as always, for the read.


Jazz Funk Soul – An Interview w/Jeff Lorber, Chuck Loeb, & Everette Harp

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Greetings All.

Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing three heavyweights in the genres of contemporary jazz, smooth jazz, and R&B. While each genre isn’t solely associated one to each musician, they all shine in those areas (their expansive musical careers attribute to that).

Jeff Lorber, Chuck Loeb, and Everette Harp make up the band, Jazz Funk Soul. They released their self-titled CD on 24 June 2014 and it is superb. Each track not only brings the individual talents of each musician, but collectively creates an exciting blend of contemporary and smooth jazz elements. The session musicians that join them are heavy weights in their own right and are known as powerhouses in the NYC area.

Ten tracks make up this stellar release, with the current single being “Serious Business”

Speed of Light
Silent Partner
We Were There
Line Drive
Serious Business

While I already have a few favorites on this tracklist, I encourage your take a listen for yourself, I’m sure you’ll gain a few if these genres are favorites of yours.

That said, take a listen to (stream or download) the interview below. I hope that you enjoy it – there’s a few audio issues outside of my control but…. 🙂 . For tour dates, check out the Shanachie Records Tour Schedule on their website, and for more on Jazz Funk Soul.

::: oceans of rhythm :::


That’s The Way I Like It (B-side) – Slave/New Plateau (1984)


What’s up? Over the last month or so, I keep finding out real good things about Slave that I never knew about. Through the tribute post I did for Mr. Mark in March, I’ve received some great comments, an actual tag to the post on discogs.com, and made many connects with other fans on Facebook. One connect I made was via a comment to the tribute post. A fan happened to send me a track I’d never heard of. It’s the B-side to “Ooooh”, from Slave’s 1984 LP, “New Plateau” This track doesn’t appear on the LP, and it was a pleasure to have this fan hook me up with hit. In case you haven’t heard it, it’s got all the tight elements that Slave had in their tracks around this time – signature vocal stylings and guitar of Danny Webster, Keith Nash’s drum work/programming, and that slammin’ bass line from The Hansolor. This entire track is tightI hope you enjoy it as much as I am.

That\'s The Way I Like It

Big up to Gerald W. for hookin’ me up with this track!


Future Music – In Studio With | Dennis Ferrer

Greetings crew…
Hope all is well with you. Over the weekendI picked up the April 2011 edition of Future Music , my favorite magazine on music production technology. In this edition, there’s an article on Dennis Ferrer, a long time top DJ and house music producer based out of NYC. What interested me in this article is that some of his quotes (and tech knowledge), again, speaks to my past and current musings on how music is produced today, in light of music production technology evolution. Many sample construction kit companies, professional and non-professional, along with folk who just have the knowledge, are making samples available of prominent producers many musical genres, specifically hip-hop: Scott Storch and Lex Luger drums, Dr. Dre samples, Pete Rock MPC drum kits, and the like. In the dance music genres, companies like Loopmasters are creating sample kits from top producers and remixers like AtJazz, Felix Da Housecat, etc. While these are, and will continue to be major sellers, I continue to get the feeling that they cater to composers (especially in hip-hop) that think if I can sound like (fill in the blank), I’m surely on my way to stardom. Of course, while being my humble opinion, I think this (direct) form of emulation, per se, equates to sort of a “get rich quick” formula. While I have my own set of influences (musicians, producers, artists), I’ve always tended to use them to effect my composing and producing differently than it appears how it’s done today…but…times are different (read: technology), etc.

In any event, I’ve said that because I took personal agreement with a good portion of what Dennis had to say in this interview. So much so, that I decided to put some of his quotes in this post. While the essence of them is nothing new, they pretty much jive with my feelings (which I’ve shared with you in previous posts to different extents). With that being said…here we go: FM – Future Music, DF – Dennis Ferrer

FM (on hardware synths owned): Do you still own those synths?
DF: “I got rid of them, Everybody says “hardware is hardware”, but if you can tell me what kind of synth I’m using on any one of my tracks, God bless you.

DF (on software plugin design and emulation of hardware synths): I prefer to spend my time making music that sitting there being a scientist. I know how to make sounds, so I do it quickly, get the sound I want, then move on.”

DF (on using software solely to make songs): “Big studios were having a hard time in New York because you had guys who were doing records in Ableton. Does the general public really care what it sounds like? (expletive) no, then don’t give a (expletive). Do I really care what it sounds like? Yes, Because I come from that background. Because I use classic hardware, does that mean I’m going to make a better record than a kid on Ableton in his bedroom? No dude. What counts is what’s inside your head.”

DF (on the consistency of making hit records): “Anybody can make one hit record, but can you make ten? There are some people that say ‘oh well, this is an art’. (expletive). It’s half art, half business. The reason you make a record is to have it heard. If you want it to be art, keep it to yourself.

FM: Would you ever do your own sample DVD?
DF: “Nope, and I’ve been asked many times. Why? Get your own! Go hunting! Stop being (expletive) lazy. Go to a record shop, or a flea market, buy old records, sample them, run them through an EQ, process them, that’s all part of sound creation and being creative. When you come across a sound you’ve made, you run it through a flanger, some outboard, back in through a Rat [effects peda], then through some SoundToys [effects plugins] and suddenly you hear that new sound and you think, ‘oh [expletive]’ and you’ve got a riff you never would have had otherwise. And that’s your sound. If your production is worth any salt, you go ahead and make your own sounds. I come from Techno not House and we had to be able to make our own sounds – if you didn’t know how to tweak an envelope, you were screwed. I’m not judging people who use them, but I just don’t believe in them. Sample your own (expletive).”


There you have it. I think he makes very valid points. Do I agree 100% with all of them? No, not to that great extent, however, they are more in line with my beliefs then not. As for sampling, I collect samples on the regular, especially since so many vendors and artists are making them available free. I tend to use drum loops as a foundational start for a song, and have even used them flat out in the final mix of a song. In doing that, I’ve come back to seeing the importance of programming drums instead (after all, it’s how I use to do it long before I had a computer or loops were available) because I don’t want to lose the knowledge and knack of being forced to think like drummer would for a song. I program my drums on my MPC 1000 and either use the samples and sequences in Logic, or easier, use the MPC to trigger the EXS 24 or Ultrabeat in Logic. I believe there are places for drum loops, especially in the various genres of dance music (which is, for all intents and purposes, electronic, anyway). As for other samples, sound effects, synth pads, foley, and vocal samples are some of my favorites types to use. I edit samples farrrrrr more than sample actual sounds (as Dennis does), and admit that it is easier and less time consuming to do. In the end, creativity is relative, but to make something that is your own, I believe, is far more creative than any editing (meaning sample chopping). Then again, that can be interpreted as creating as well…You see where this can go (and I’m not gonna take it there).

Dennis Ferrer links:

  • Discogs
  • Facebook
  • His label, Objektivity
  • Twitter
  • Last.fm
  • Feel free to post any thoughts and comments, I’d be interested to read what you have to say. Thanks for the read.

    ::: oceans of rhythm :::


    Mint Condition – “7”: A review and sample flip

    ‘Sup crew…

    Being the BIG MC fan that I am, I picked up “7” the day it dropped. I got it at Best Buy for the five bonus tracks all though REAL MC fans know that there are only 4 tracks (Cupid’s Hunt was released on the Walmart-only distribution of “Livin’ The Luxury Brown – Mint, you owe us a track! haha).

    I’ve given the CD one listen through, and still assessing it in comparison to previous releases. Listening to it again, after I finish this post. Here‘s is a pretty decent review for you to check out.

    So far, the only issue I have with the CD is that Shanachie, their new label, didn’t encode the tracks for CDDB, which means when inserting the CD into a computer with iTunes, the track data and artwork doesn’t automatically appear….#FAIL (hush Lis…:) )

    On a separate note, I’ve been doing a lot of work in studio on my Akai MPC 1000, flippin’ samples and recording some tracks I may use in the future. Having a lot of fun re-learning the machine again, and plan to have it as an integral part of my gear setup.

    A snippet of the track I did is below, done in all of ten minutes before I came into the office this morning. You’ll know the sample I flipped when u listen to the CD.


    MC fans, pick up “7”, get the CD, don’t download the tracks which are already ALL over the net.

    ::: oceans of rhythm :::


    Jeff Lorber Fusion: Rams Head On Stage – 30 Mar 11

    Greetings all…

    I had the pleasure, along with my recording, biz partner, and friend, Dan, in seeing Jeff Lorber Fusion at Rams Head On Stage, in Annapolis, MD tonite.

    The tour is to showcase tunes from his Grammy nominated release “Now Is The Time”, a CD that brings back the feel of the world renowned hits from the days of the original Jeff Lorber Fusion, and a great CD it is.

    It’s always a pleasure to see Jeff when he comes to town, whether he is the solo act on the bill or as part of another tour (saw him in ’09 as part of the Guitar and Saxes Tour). The show started promptly at 8pm to a full, and enthusiastic house. The band was a quartet comprised of the following musicians:

  • Jeff Lorber: electric keyboard, synths, grand piano
  • Ron Jenkins: electric bass
  • Mark Prince: drums
  • Eric Marienthal: sax
  • Though I would have loved to see the original studio musicians, Will Kennedy and Jimmy Haslip (drums and bass, respectively), of The Yellowjackets, this band tonite was tight!

    The opening tune was Water Sign from the 1979 release, Water Sign. Effortlessly executed, it was a great number to open up with. Jeff’s Yamaha S90 ES keyboard sounded great throughout the entire concert.

    Following Water Sign, was Chinese Medicinal Herbs, also from the Soft Space release. Of course, the concert versions are always on point. Very nice flow on this live rendition, capturing the feeling of the original recording and the re-release on Now Is The Time.

    The third track in the set was Dr. Moy, from the current release. Again, nicely done. Mark Prince, a DC native, was smokin’ on drums. They all did a show last night at DC’s Blues Alley, and Jeff mentioned that it was only Mark’s second time working out with them (surely Jeff was being facetious…hah!).

    I played in a band once that did a few Jeff Lorber cover tunes, cause we are all big fans. The next song in the set is one, after hearing it, made us “just say no” hahah! Surreptitious, from the release He Had A Hat, was flat out “hot” (understandably so, since Jeff introduced it as being a favorite of his). This one had people moving, despite its fast tempo.

    The famous Toad’s Place was the next track. Always a crowd pleaser, this was very nice. Eric Marienthal has done tons of session and tour work with Jeff, and was the sax player for Chick Corea’s Elektric Band for years. Now THAT’S a lot of fusion!

    The track that followed, Mysterious Traveler, is from the recent release and was definitely a nice add to the set list. Ron Jenkins sounded great on this tune.

    The next selection was The Underground, from one of my favorite JL CD’s, Worth Waiting For. I was glad to hear them do this one, and though it wasn’t one of my favorites from that CD, I’m was glad to see them rep a track from that release.

    Next up was another well known track from the early JLF days, Raindance, from the 1979 release, Water Sign. Here’s a pic of Jeff telling a well known story about the track.

    Those who are Jeff Lorber fans may have heard about the day he was driving down the street and heard his tune under a rap track – the artists Lil’ Kim, Lil’ Cease and The Notorious B.I.G. (better known as Junior M.A.F.I.A), from Lil’ Kim’s debut release The track is “Crush On You” (1997).

    Ironically, look what was playing as soon as I was on my way home:

    Of course, the original version was all class, and to top it off, it was actually a medley with JL’s cover of Rufus and Chaka Khan’s hit, Ain’t Nobody. The crowd was up once again, giving a standing ovation to the official end of the set.

    Of course, their had to be an encore. They came back to do The Samba and Tune 88 from the releases, Soft Space and Water Sign, respectively.

    I got a chance to chat with Jeff for a minute after the show. Always cordial to converse with the fans, we got a chance to talk about the recent show in CT, which I was trying to get to, but didn’t make it. Jeff and I share a mutual friend Donna Talbot, a personal friend of Jeff’s, a FB friend of mine, who is a HUGE smooth jazz fan. I mentioned that I was supposed to be up for that show, and he says, “Oh yeah, she told me u were coming…”. Cool guy.

    If you are a fan of very cool, contemporary jazz with fusion undertones, I highly suggest you catch Jeff Lorber in concert. You will NOT be disappointed.

    Jeff Lorber’s Official Site
    2007 Inside Musicast’s Interview of Jeff Lorber, feat. the release “He Had A Hat”

    ::: oceans of rhythm :::


    A Tribute to “The Hansolor” – Mark Adams of Slave

    Mark Adams Tribute Intro

    Greetings fans…
    Many of you have heard of the passing of Mark Adams, THE bass legend of Slave. For fans and musicians, this is a shock, especially at the age he was. Even in his passing, he created and left a legacy of bass playing style and finesse that, in my mind, is unparalleled in every sense of the word. There are MANY bass legends in R&B and Funk – all of who you know about. This blog post is primarily a reflection of my perspective of not necessarily Slave, the group, but the bassist, Mark Adams – his unique bass playing style and influence on me as a musician.

    “Sounds like an empire to me….”

    I first discovered of Slave when Slide came out in ’77. At the time I was 14 or 15 years old and had been playing guitar for about a year. Back then, there were a lot of guys my age in my neighborhood, and as it customarily was, neighborhood bands were all over the city. Me and the fellas formed such a band, we were all within 2 – 3 years of each other in age (shout out to three band members I am still in touch with today, Tony Matthews, trumpeter, Damon Williams, guitarist (and now bassist) and Julien X. Neals (bassist)). We formed a group entitled “Black Frost” right around the time the Slide came out (maybe before). We were just beginning to write, compose, and play songs in our own right – covers and originals. I distinctly remember us sitting around whoever’s house we rehearsed at, listening to Slave – the horn arrangements, vocals, guitar, drums, and Mr. Mark’s nasty bass playing. We used call the bass track in Slide, the track with that “pure E”, resounding from the first note he opened the song with, and then into the bass solo. Not only did we marvel over that bass track, but we get even more detail of it in “Son of Slide”. Even that smooth track, You and Me, and that signature Ohio funk track “Separated” showed Mark’s nasty style. He had to be no more than 2 – 3 years older than me at the time and I was the oldest member of our group. Although a few members of Slave were older, we continually marveled at how funky Mark was at that young age. Never seeing Slave in concert during the first album, we always wondered what kind of bass he played to get that signature slide, tone, and raunchy deep growl he continually became known for.

    At the time because they were just signed to Cotillion Records, Steve Washington went to school in my hometown, and Slave rehearsed there as well, I didn’t know until a short time later that they hailed from Ohio. Original members Orion Wilhoite and Carter Bradley shared an apartment in Orange. NJ, and did some recording at West Orange’s House of Music recording studio. You probably know the story…Mark was with a band in high school called The Young Mystics. Drac, who went to high school with Mark, and was in a band called Black Satin Soul, along with Steve Arrington and Steve Washington, approached him to start a new group. Eventually they ended up at Tim Dozier’s house and formed the band (see part 1 of the Mark Adams interview below). Orion and Tom Lockett went to Patterson High, in Dayton. They did their first show as Slave at Nettie Roth High School on April 1, 1976. Steve Washington already had fame in his own right be being related to Ralph “Pee Wee” Middlebrooks of the Ohio Players. Shortly after a few rehearsals, Slave was born and they took a demo to NYC, where they got their professional start with producer Jeff Dixon at Cotillion Records. (at least that’s how I know the story).

    “We do mean business….”

    When “Hardness Of The World” came out later that year, the back of the album jacket showed them in concert, with Mark playing that Alembic Bass (see above)…a bass guitar already revered by all of us. We knew that the Alembic was the bass that created the magic, but as some of us know, it’s really the Fender Jazz Bass that Mark rocked like a monster, as far as I know. I chose that picture out of all I’ve seen because I think it captures the defintion of Mark’s playing style, definitely nasty, definitely funky. The one below is a widely known one from the spot they did on Don Kirschner’s Rock Concert.

    Here’s the full version of Slide, from the same show:

    Hardness Of The World showed more of Mark’s developing signature style, on tracks like Volcano Rupture, Party Song, and The World’s On Hard. What Mark established from the debut album was that “slide”, and he had a way of placing it, whether it was up or down the neck, that was unique. By this time, Slave always was becoming known not only as one of the hottest new R&B bands, but a funk rock band, evidenced from tracks like Slide and, Volcano Rupture.

    “We are stellar….”

    The third release, The Concept, proved to everyone that it was an all out funkfest. Steve Arrington and Starleana Young joined the group – Steve birthing that signature vocal style that years later would be trademark to Slave’s sound, and Starleana adding that female voice that later became trademark to Aurra. Mark’s style on Stellar Fungk, I think was the beginning of a style that became definitive throughout the next seven albums – that combination of deep growl, fingering, slides, and pops. It was the first time I think Mark started to use effects like an envelope follower on the bass (listen to Drac Is Back/We’ve Got Your Party) Three things stood out to me about Mark’s style in that stretch of releases:

    • His plucking style: There are times where his pull up notes were clean, and single (i.e. Sizzlin’ Hot), other times they sounded like more than one note being plucked (i.e. Just A Touch Of Love). Then other tracks had a mix of both, like K.O.G (New Plateau)
    • The growl, fingering, and the slides: The way Mark fingered his notes elicited a deep, raunchy, but smooth style I have NEVER heard another bass player sound like. I don’t know of it was the Fender Jazz, the Alembic or what…but it was a mainstay of his style. The slides, whether they were in the high registers or down in the basement, he placed them in an uncanny way that made the funk…undescribable.
    • The accidentals: I think this may be what made Mark stand out the most, though the I’d be hard say it was the number one thing. He placed accidental notes in his playing that caused a tension, a feel, that took that funk to another level. Yeah, Larry Graham plucked, Louis Johnson had that thunder thumb, Bernard Edwards had the smoothness, but none used note placement like Mark. Two perfect examples of Mark’s use of accidentals are at 2:16 and 4:42 in Just A Touch Of Love, and through a lot of “When I Come Home” with Aurra, but specifically at 4:44 and 4:52. That song is really good example of how he incorporates all these aspects, but more towards the cleaner feel vs the grittiness of Stellar Fungk, or the nastiness of Motorway or I’ve Got To Get You (Unchained At Last). As for the fingerstyle funk, I gotta give it to him on Shine (from Just A Touch of Love, years later, on Slave 88, they release another track by the same name, but with totally different music) and Dreamin’ (Stone Jam). Hansolor ALSO played bass on Aurra’s track “Who Are You”…a return to what I consider his more laid back tones, a la “Can’t Get Enough Of You”, from the Hardness Of The World LP.“Make me shine, just a little bit….”

      Enter 1979, and the album Just A Touch of Love, the smash hit off that album. This release had some sleepers on there like Shine, and the ballad Thank You, where Mark showed that unmistakable funk fingering style. Enter Curt Jones adding a new dimension to the lead vocal stylings of Steve Arrington, Starleana Young and Danny Webster – all giving it up on my favorite ballad, Thank You. It was the first time I’d ever heard a bass player making a ballad funk (re: that fingering, slides, and pluck right before the verses started). There was one silly, but CRAZY funky track called Warning.

      “Looking at the ladies, all of them fine….”

      That funk style grew to larger heights on Stone Jam, especially on the pluck vibe with tracks like Never Get Away, Sizzlin’ Hot (I don’t think they could have penned a better name for that track), and the title track, while that “finger funk” was heavy on Feel My Love, Dreamin’ and the smash hit, Watching You. This was about 1980, when Mark was about 20 maybe. Everytime I think about how funky and nasty that boy was at that age, I shake my head in disbelief. Steve Arrington had defined the vocal aspect of Slave on Watching You. It was the first time I can remember Mark introducing the style of “pick bass” (using a guitar pic to play), in the bass solo to Watching You.

      “Strikin’ up that soul beat….”

      This was also one year before what some would consider Slave’s most commercially successful album, Showtime in 1981. With Steve Arrington bringing Slave’s vocal game to its highest point, he left to go solo, starting with Steve Arrington’s Hall of Fame I. My favorite tracks went beyond Snapshot (once again incorporating all the elements of his signature style) and Wait For Me, to Spice Of Life (pluck madness) to Steal Your Heart, that smokin’ track “Smokin’ (had that bass track feel that started like Just A Touch of Love, this might be my favorite non-single on the album), and the sleeper, Funken Town. What I liked about Showtime was the elaborate string arrangements and the horn arrangements, even though all the original Slave Horns didn’t record on that album, it was reminiscent of Steve Washington’s time with Slave, citing “the groove has been changed, but the name remains (…it’s the same, it’s the same game).” The pegged the name “Jam Patrol, Inc” (“Smokin”, “Funken Town”).

      In ’82 Mark’s style continued to be untouchable, uncopied, and pretty much signature through the release Bad Enuff. He began to incorporate the flanger effect on his bass on tracks like I’ll Be Gone and Sweet Thang (nice track on Visions Of The Lite) and a few others from that release. Visions Of The Lite (at least in my area) had not major hits, but had a lot of phenomenal bass playing on it, for sure…there were actually some bangin’ tracks on that CD. In ’83, Bad Enuff was released, no major hits either, but the bass nastiness continued, again with more pick bass playing as well. I like Bad Girl and Showdown…still with that deep growl, slides…the whole nine.

      In my opinion, Mark’s inimitable style of bass playing got just a lil nastier on the New Plateau release in ’84. The credits list a new recording system that by Sony that was used in recording the tracks. The electronic drums became very prominent. I personally noticed a difference with respect to the way the whole album sounded. Mark’s bass is deeper, louder, and grittier…but he laid off on the flanger effects. The tracks had a big sound, bangin’ drum tracks, even on the ballad “Forever Mine”. At this release, Slave was, for all intents and purposes, Mark, Danny, and Floyd (as evidenced from the inner album jacket picture). “The Word Is Out” is a track off the release that has Mark’s “in your face” bass track. Strangely enough, I think it’s the only track that had an official video produced for it.

      One year later, in 1985, Unchained At Last was released. (Trivia question #1: The title of this album came from what song lyrics from a previously released Slave track?). The first two tracks, Jazzy Lady and I’d Like To Get You again showcased Mark’s nasty, edgy style of fingering and razor sharp plucks, with I’d Like To Get You being my favorite….tight intro, the bass track for the bridge is nice, horns kickin’ throughout the track. The bass track for Thrill Me is definitely a spinoff from Snapshot…flanger, and fingering for sure. Nasty track through and through though. There is one track from this CD, Don’t Waste My Time, that I believe has the deepest growl that I can remember coming from Mark’s bass…definitely slightly different than earlier tracks.

      It was around the 1982 that Slave began to venture outside the Slave Organization, from a musical standpoint. Jimmy Douglas who produced their debut album also produced Odyssey’s track “Inside Out”. From the minute I heard it, I knew that the members from Slave were on this track. Obviously the track is a bite off of “Watching You”. The odd thing (I just found out today), is that there was differences of opinion in the bass guitar community regarding who actually bass on this track – Mark or another bassist trying to cop Mark’s style. Here’s a thread from prince.org that talks that controversy.

      Here’s what Curt Jones of Aurra had to say to me:

      Hey brother, I wasn’t involved in that, by then we were either working on or had released Are U Single. The sound of the bass is unmistakably Mark Adams, his sound and touch was unique. Sorry i think the only one who really knows all about that is Jimmy Douglas.
      Stay well brotha. Peace.

      Here’s the video, take a listen: “Inside Out”.

      Note: It has been confirmed to me via written dialogue (indirectly), by an ex-member of Slave, that it was NOT Mark Adams on “Inside Out”, but bassist Sandy Anderson from Unlimited Touch. Why Jimmy Douglas chose Sandy and not Mark is (now) a story only Jimmy (probably) can confirm. My final say on it…if you listen close enough (especially on the bass solo breakdown), you will hear that it is not “the great Mark Adams”.

      Trivia question #2: Slave actually recorded a radio commercial for a hair care product company. What was the company and what song beared resemblance to the music they composed for the commercial? [I remember hearing the commercial over the NYC airwaves and after over YEARS got one of the members of Slave to remember and comment on the commercial)

      In 1985, I was in my senior year of college and remember seeing Slave’s first actual compilation on vinyl, in a Bridgeport, CT record store. If memory serves me correctly it was called Slave ’85. Maybe I’m “Dreamin’ ” cause I cant find any reference to it anywhere.

      In 1987, “Make Believe” was released. A lot more synthesized then any other previous release, and while like tracks like Juicy-0, You Take My Breath Away, and You’ve Got The Power To Say No, I think this album marked the moment Mark’s playing began to exit from it’s signature style. Make Believe has some nice tracks on there, but they bit off of Cameo’s style waaay too much on some, specifically with the vocal approach, drums, and synth stylings.

      The following CDs Slave 88 (Ichiban 1988), 
Rebirth (Ichiban 1991)
, Funk Strikes Back (Ichiban 1994), and Masters of the Funk (Ichiban 1996) released new material and newly recorded reissues but they had nothing that really jumped out and grabbed me. In my mind, the evolution of the arrangements didn’t encompass Mark’s signature style anymore, but tracks like She’s Just That Kinda Girl are phat….

      Here’s a video with Mark and Drac back in ’95, right before Masters Of The Fungk was released.

      As R&B evolved and Slave as we knew them slipped into the shadows, Mark garnered great respect in the bass guitar community and was never forgotten. Here are a few links from the Talk Bass forum about him (thanks to Damon for hookin’ me up with these):

      Mark Adams on the TB forums: Thread 1
      In Memory
      Rest In Peace

      Here’s a (way too short) interview from March 2005 edition of Bass Player Magazine. I believe the May 2004 edition has a longer interview. I’d like to somehow get hold of it.

      Update: Bass Player Magazine did do another article on Mark Adams entitled “Style Study: Mark Adams of Slave”. The pictures are gone for some reason, but the text of the article remains. I’ve included a link to a zip file that includes the entire article, text and pics, (thanks Lamar Webster).

      The tracks I present in the podcast are ones that I think best respresent the untouchable, unduplicated play style of Mark Adams…the style I best tried to put in words above. I invite you to comment on some you think I may have missed.

      Lastly, I send my condolences out the Adams family. I wish them strength and peace during this time, and even afterwards. I was talking with Damon today about Mr. Mark, the influence he left on us as young musicians (actually not much younger then he was), and how we all came up in a time where being a musician in that era was something special. Not that it isn’t now, but things were different then. In urban communities, and lifestyle, the band is no more (save Mint Condition for the most part), and while I readily use computers to sequence, sample and play samples to compose my own music, there is and will never be anything like actually PLAYING a musical instrument. Personally, Mark’s departure has a different effect than even Michael Jackson’s had on me. I guess because there was a connection, a local connection, to the neighborhood we grew up in, the sitting around listening to each Slave album released back in the day….it’s just different.

      Here are some great words of remembrance from friends and family that are members of the Slave Fan Page on FB:

      Robin Bramlett

      I declare March 5th National Hansolor Day! What does that mean? It means on that day listen to nothing but songs in which Mark Adams played bass. 🙂

      The first Slave song I learned on bass at the tender age of…well, let’s just say it was a single digit. LOL – Snapshot. The second Slave tune I learned on bass – Wait For Me 🙂

      Iris Bradley

      Many of days Mark and the Son of Slave would practice and work on new songs. He loved working with Mark and he wanted so much to play beside his son and create new music. Mark would always tell me that he wanted all of his children to have his legacy…and I know that Mark is smiling in heaven..due to all the work that everyone is putting into this Slave page. Thank u Doug and thanks to all who participates in this page..Mark and Drac truly gave this industry a touch of love

      I will be changing my ringtones on my phone to Just a Touch and Slide. As 11:30 pm approaching on March 5, that was the last time I spoke to Mark and heard his voice. When u called me at 2:30 am is when my heart weeped. Thank u Sheena and Doug for keeping me abreast…for staying in touch with me.

      Sheena Avery

      I’m going to go back to when Mark was in elementary school, and would perform in talent shows with Phil Dukes (drums) and John Madden (bass), see Mark played lead guitar then…he got his first music fix as a little boy, when he visited his grandma Hazel in Hillsboro, she played Piano. Mark would watch and listen…his ambition to learn was obvious, and like others have mentioned he played with several local bands. We were in high school when Mark signed with Atlantic, he quit to pursue his career…and the rest is History…I know that he was dedicated, any free time he had he was building cases for his wah-wah pedals or playing his guitar on the porch…

      ‎”THE WORLD IS YOURS, REACH OUT AND CARESS, IN SOLACE” MLA Wrote this in my Senior Yearbook…1979♥

      Already coming up on the Anniversary of Mark L. Adams death…May 5th…still hard to believe, I keep pinching myself, I want to tell you Doug in front of the WHOLE WORLD that I love what you’ve done & what you’re doing….Mark spoke of his ‘LEGACY’ so much…with this page youre keeping him in Our minds, heart & soul…and that’s to everyone who shows genuine LOVE for him, Drac and SLAVE…GOD BLESS YOU♥

      Shurita Akridge


      Kim Adams

      Dreamed of Mark all night , he was at different stages of his life, at one point performing on stage with a big afro, JAMMIN’…..that bass, when I woke up I realized March 5th was in a couple of days, and this was why the dream presented itself to me, though we were so far apart, he will always have a special place in my heart as well as yours…funny how all the ladies in his life have come together with respect and love for each other, I find it odd, but beautiful that we are connected, and supportive of each other, I know he’s gotta to be smiling saying “this is something I never thought I see” haha..

      Nicholas Busbee

      Mark Adams once told me that Slide 88 was the way that they used to perform “Slide” when they were live in concert. I like Mark’s bass solo and Billy Beck’s keyboard solo at the end of the track a lot! Mark taught me how to use the fingerboard on my bass to get that extra thumping sound on that Slide 88 version! LOL!!! 🙂

      i heard Mark Adams say in an interview that they weren’t exactly satisfied with Hardness Of The World. But when I look at the project as a whole, it was another above average effort. Way above average. And some of these guys were still teens.

      Laurence E. Larri Davis

      Mark Adams actually showed med a pedal he altered for his sound…I always wondered how he made that growl sound and he showed me what he did…he was brilliant! I don’t care how many come after him no one will ever have that sound…the ultimate compliment was when Sheena, Lamar and I were talking on Lamar’s page on one of the pics I had of Mark and Louis Johnson chimed in and gave his respects….now that is great respect!

      James Sandridge

      I had the great pleasure of being classmates with both Marks (Adams and Drac) at Roth ’76. We were all in woodshop, which of course meant break time lol…anyway I remember we were all chatting (well mainly Drac-he was the conversation guy, Mark Adams just sat and looked cool LoL..)

      Rodney Butler

      Still hurt to believe! But he lives on in my headphones. R.I.P Mr. Mark still untouchable!

      Neal Jackson

      My life changed when I first heard Slave & in particular Mr Mark’s aggressive Bass style. Since then Slave have been my Number 1 & Mr Mark,my hero. It is with sadness that Mr Mark passed on Steve Arrington’s & my brother,Mark’s birthday & that Drac’s funeral was on my birthday. I’ll have a drink on Hansolors Day.

      Curt Jones

      When I had met Mark Adams, Slave already had Slide out. I was still in my band Starchild. Later on when Steve Washington asked me to be a part of Upstairs productions and work with the group, I considered it an honor and still do. When it was time for the brothers to come back from Dayton to join us in N.J. to start recording what became the “Just a touch of love” lp, I’ll never forget how anxious I was to see everybody again. The first person to come upstairs & walk through the door was Mark Adams, he looked at me with a smile, graded my hand shook it and simply said,”welcome aboard”. I felt like a new man and my life changed forever. R.I.P. my brother, we can still listen to you play to comfort us but truly does not compare to having you among us. Till we funk together again your brother ~ Curt J ~ aka CabaL The name only Mark called me, he could be hilarious at times.


      He’s in a better place now. Rest in Paradise, Hansolor. Special shout out to Mark Akridge, aka Son of Slave, he’s got the torch now. Be on the lookout….”sizzlin’ hot for the next generation!

      Lastly, to aptly (and fittingly) quote Slave: “It’s about time somebody realized who funk is”

    • Slave Discography
    • Slave Fan Page on Facebook
    • A Flickr Photo Gallery- Mark Adams: Bass Legend of Slave (Contact me to submit additions to the gallery)
    • Slave Fanatacism
    • Special Shout Outs:
    • Julius Freeman for posting the info about Joe Kelley’s Tribute to Mark Adams on The Upper Room With Joe Kelley
    • Joe Kelley for doing the Tribute to Mark Adams on The Upper Room with Joe Kelley
    • WDKK Radio on Blogtalk Radio: Ohio Funkfest: A Tribute To Mark Adams (featuring call in guests Steve Arrington, Reggie Calloway/Midnight Star, Mark Wood/Lakeside, along with in-studio guest, Wardell Potts, SOLAR label session drummer)
    • Tony, Damon, Julien – the original members of Black Frost. Still in touch after all these years, still playing as musicians. We came up in a good time, with some good music. We truly came to know what the “definition of a band” is.
    • EJ Flavors, for doing an OSW podcast in memory of Mark Adams, and Slave.
    • This is a really nice tribute with great words by Steve Arrington, a track recorded by Mark and Cedell Carter last year, and interview with Scot Brown, UCLA funk historian: The KPFA.org History of The Funk – A Tribute To Mark Adams and interview schedule.
    • The Mark Adams Interview (1990) Pt. 1 of 2 and Pt 2 of 2 by Miss Funkyflyy
    • Style Study-Mark Adams of Slave (Bass Player Magazine, July 2011)Below is the 31 track compilation of what believe is Mark’s best bass work with Slave and a track with Aurra. Enjoy!

      The Best of Mark Adams

      You can stream and download the Mark Adams Tribute below (7 minutes into the 2 hour show):

      Thanks for the read…

      ::: oceans of rhythm :::


    Apple’s Logic Studio 8 Tutorials

    Though there are rumors of Logic 10 on the horizon, I thought I’d post tutes for Logic 8, the DAW of choice for me.

    Logic 8 Overview
    Logic 8 Recording
    Logic 8 Arranging
    Logic 8 Overdubbing
    Logic 8 Editing Audio
    Logic 8 Editing MIDI
    Logic 8 Mixing
    Logic 8 Automation
    Logic 8 Finishing The Mix
    Logic 8 Scoring
    Logic 8 Surround Sound

    :::oceans of rhythm :::



    Sampling and Music Composition- A “Fresh” Perspective. Pt. 3: Presently Speaking

    Native Instruments’ Maschine

    Hello. Here I am, back with the final installment of this blog post. Took the day off (Happy Birthday to me), sitting in Starbucks, finishing up this blog post. Listening to Foreign Exchange’s “Authenticity” (superb new release by Nic, Phonte, Zo, Yah, etc). Nice day so far.

    I’ve had time to do some more reading, see some more tweets, have some more conversations, all related to this topic. That being said, I’ll be highlighting three of those diatribes later on this post.

    On the information highway, Twitter is my primary stop for all things. Readers of this blog and followers of me on Twitter have heard me sing the praises of how I use Twitter to get all info I am interested pushed to me, based on the IDs that I follow. It keeps me abreast of, and learning about, the things that make me smarter, without having to hop on Google search (pull info) all the time (though that’s a regular activity too)

    In any event, outside of the topic matter in the first two posts, Part 1, and Part 2, Twitter has brought directly to my attention how many sample construction kit/sample vendors there are out there. Yeah, I read a few music production magazines, but the info-push from Twitter places them in front of me on a daily basis. This, in itself, (for the most part) really shows the popularity in using samples in music composition today…anywhere from the computer novice and “beat maker” to the most accomplished trained musicians and writers of film scores. Speaking of which, here’s a good article on the use of such from another follower on Twitter, Soundsandgear. His article is here.

    That being said, I decided to leverage the power of my Twitter connections and present a survey to two of my followers to get some feedback from them on the very topic of this series. Since sampling does have it’s roots in hip-hop, I’ll present first some footage of a video interview done by Propellerheads (Reason, Record, Recycle, etc) of the legendary Hank Shocklee, sonic architect, producer, artist, behind the hip-hop legends, Public Enemy. The first minute of his commentary confirms how sampling has continued to live:

    Good video. Now, I’ll let one of my followers, MsTrisBeats, a producer and studio engineer out of Baltimore, answer a series of questions I presented to her, regarding the topic of this series;

    Fresh: What got you interested in sampling?

    MB: I was in a rap group and our producer DJ Profaze was, and is a sample king. He introduced me to it before I touched a sampler. Over the years as a rapper, producers came and went. I knew I had ideas. I purchased an Ensoniq Eps. I started going crazy with crate digging. Profaze taught me how to extend the time on the Eps. When I first started producing hip hop, I had no idea that 90% was sample based. I’d recognize some songs, but my favorite producer at the time, RZA, was great at chopping samples beyond obvious recognition. Later, I learned more about sampling from another producer Scottie B, Baltimore Club Music pioneer. He raved about the new Ensoniq sample workstation, the infamous Asr10. Once I found out RZA also used it, I purchased one and it was on..

    Fresh: What got u interested in using sampling as a primary means of composing your music? (If you don’t consider it a primary means, explain to what extent you use it).

    MB: It was primary in the beginning, because I could only play by ear. No real chord progressions or any thing. Just playing what sounded good, as far as composing was concerned. Hip Hop was all about sampling at the time. I remember artist saying ” I don’t like whack keyboard beats”. They were meaning beats without samples. Every producer I loved was sampling as well. It wasn’t that I was only interested in sampling, sampling was how hip hop I loved was made.

    Fresh: What are your thoughts on the history of sampling. How has it’s evolution played a part in music composition to date?

    MB: Sampling gave birth to rap music. Although it has evolved into using more composed tracks, the history is there from the Bronx. DJ’s played and looped a sample of old soul music, the emcee rhymed over it.

    Before that, the first synthesizers were being created with samples. Music would not sound the way it does today without samplers. Samplers allowed musicians to extend the limits of sound, and sound manipulation.

    On an extreme extent, samplers have cut the cost of music. If you’ve seen “Whats Love Got To Do With It”, there’s a scene with a huge orchestra. Talk about money to pay all the players and engineers for one song?..wow. Samples have allowed musicians with little budget, to create the feel of full orchestras with one module.

    Fresh: What are your favorite tools and current methodologies for sampling in your composition?

    MB: I’m sort of a gear junkie..lol. I love learning all types of hardware and software. My favorites have been , the Asr10, Fl Studio’s slicer and slicex. I use the mpc2500 as well. Today I honestly found the best sampler for my set up in Native Instruments Maschine. It mixes both hardware and software for endless possibilities. It’s a concept which brings the ease of Fl studio to the hands on of the Mpc… brilliant!

    There are many many styles of Sampling. Chopping a sample into many parts and replaying the chops is my favorite style. It gives a song a certain feel which no one can create playing straight melodies. This style has a swing most popular in boom bap hip hop.

    When I use samples, I chop/slice samples with an editor into as small as 1bar loops. I assign each slice to a keys or pad. The sample is now like an instrument. I play it with keys or pads of the sampler.

    Fresh: How do u see sampled based music (loops and samples only) as a means for composing music today with regards to the ease and popularity of such music in popular genres that use it.

    MB: I’ve been learning more music theory, which allows me to compose my own samples. There are so many laws against sampling, that a lot of industry artist don’t want to deal with. It can be very expensive for sample clearance. The copyright owner may not even allow use.

    It’s only right morally and legally to pay if using music that another artist made. The mainstream artist that still use beats with samples, can usually afford clearance. It’s gotten so expensive that many want to take it out of the producers budget.

    I don’t think there is an ease of use anymore, unless you don’t plan to release the sample based song on a major level.

    Fresh: Do you think a composer that has no formal knowledge of music, but learned knowledge of computers, digital audio workstation software and the use of samples and loops only, is considered a musician?

    MB: A musician makes music, instrumentalist play instruments. Some people do both. Some are masters and some are not. I would not consider some one who arranges straight loops as a master of the craft, but the fact remains they are musicians if they make music.

    It’s more about how they use the samples, computers, and software that would make the general public consider one a musician . Some people are born with musicianship as a natural gift.

    It’s 2010, we have kicked off a new millennium. Music has taken a digital turn. Anyone who uses a sound module like the Motif, Triton, or Fantom are actually using “computer, software, samples, and loops”. When the composer sits down and plays a orchestra type chord on the motif, there is no chamber, no oboes, or trumpets. Yes that’s all samples played together to make a chord. Because he/she did not blow the reeds or horn, does not mean he or she isn’t a musician.

    I know people with no formal training who sample a chord, place it across a software piano roll, and make entire songs drawing in each and every note or step. All samples, all digital, and they make the most amazing music.

    You have composers/instrumentalist with formal knowledge of music theory, and those who sample with no formal knowledge both winning Grammys. I think the instrumentalist with formal knowledge are the only ones who wouldn’t classify computer musicians as musicians today in the 21st century.


    That was an interesting take on the topic. Below is another set of viewpoints, this time by another follower, Lady The Producer, a producer, songwriter, arranger, trained pianist, and studio engineer.

    Fresh: What got u interested in using sampling as a primary means of composing your music? (If you don’t consider it a primary means, explain to what extent you use it).

    LP: It’s not so much my primary means of sampling because I do a lot of work without sampling, however, I enjoy sampling because I enjoy music. I am a trained pianist, and have dabbled with other instruments too. I’ve always collected old music and I love the idea of being creative in conjoining pieces of another creative piece into something extra special.

    Fresh: What got you interested in sampling?

    LP: Listening to music all my life, and the passion to play and program sound is a drug to me.

    Fresh: What are your thoughts on the history of sampling. How has it’s evolution played a part in music composition to date?

    LP: When I heard a sampled joint for the first time, it was an amazing discovery to my ears! To take a creative piece of music and recreate something even more special is a collaborative effort in my opinion. I call it recycled music. I call it appreciating the value of what the original artists and producers brought to the song. I also think at times, it’s a win-win for both parties involved. Often times old songs are forgotten and revamped into major hits because they were chopped into a new song. As long as the paperwork is right at the end of the day, and all parties are happy, what can be more beautiful?! I’m grateful for the history of sampling, and regarding the evolution…Kanye is one of the big names that made it a commercial art. Personally, as one of my goals, I’d love to get a production deal topped with a hefty sampling budget…talk about the ultimate exploration of music!

    Fresh: What are your favorite tools and current methodologies for sampling in your composition?

    LP: I’m a sista from the hardware era, so I like to touch knobs, push buttons, and scroll through screens while programming my music. I like being made to hear the music and not just see it in a wave form. It’s a certain discipline for me. My preferred tools for sampling is the Roland Fantom X6, Ensoniq ASR 10 and the Beat Kangz Beat Thang Virtual. I’ve also used software titles Ableton Live, and Reason. As for my methods of sampling, I’m different from a lot of cats in the process. It’s not just about snatching a bit of a song and dropping a drum loop over it, and done in 5 minutes. I process every detail of the chop, and I’m very particular about my chops and placement. I don’t use drum based loops to build upon the track. I actually process and play my drums around my chops. I also may play over my chops… the list goes on (can’t give away all my lil’ secrets!)

    Fresh: How do u see sampled based music (loops and samples only) as a means for composing music today with regards to the ease and popularity of such music in popular genres that use it.

    LP: There are some really great companies out there with tons of sounds, plus as we all know, any piece of hardware or software production tool you buy comes loaded with sound samples. I like manipulating those sounds. I don’t use drum-based loops, I create my own. I think with composing music today or anytime, the art of it lies within the creator or producer. I find that many aspiring producers today are seeking the easiest way to produce a track, and it shows in the end result.

    Fresh: Do you think a composer that has no formal knowledge of music, but learned knowledge of computers, digital audio workstation software and the use of samples and loops only, is considered a musician?

    LP: Formal knowledge alone doesn’t make you a musician… you must have a talent first. Also, understanding the depth of the creation process, obtaining your own tricks of the trade, studying and perfecting your craft and being able to ‘play’ and understand music is what makes you a musician in my opinion. You can know your software in and out, even your DAW, but you have to know your music and be able to communicate it. You know immediately when you’ve come across a musician by their sound, and it’s definitely not through a couple loops. To be a musician is an acquired behavior!


    Very good insight by Lady Producher. It was my intent, in 2010, as a musician who has been writing and composing music from my teenage years, to look at the evolution of sampling in how music is composed today, especially in the urban contemporary and dance music scenes.

    Lastly, for your listening pleasure, is a podcast I did with Todd Kelley, aka The Big La, for a series I wanted to start back in 2007 called Fusion. This podcast, done back in 2007, is an interview I did featuring the history of Todd Kelley, the producer/writer/arranger/podcaster/hip-hop and soul lover, who has leveraged technology in producing his music as well. This is 50 minute interview so be ready for a long one.

    With that, I’ll conclude this series. I hope you’ve found it interesting. It’s given me food for thought…not anything new, but just a wider outlook from other creators words, not just actual articles. I’m much like Lady Producher, still love my hardware (buttons, knobs, LCDs and LEDs – the whole tactile thing in creating and producing music), which (to me) goes hand-in-hand (no pun intended) with my 30+ years as a guitarist, bassist and *somewhat* keyboardist – haha! I love the ability to be able to use samples at the level I choose in my compositions, but find it more difficulty to solely rely on loops and construction kits for a finished product. Be it personal or not, these days, in any way you tend to look at it, it’s the final product that speaks.

    For more on my followers, check out their sites:
    Lady Producher – StudioNoize
    MsTris Beats – MsTris Music
    Todd Kelley
    Sounds and Gear

    Thanks for the read…