BEADY BELLE / “Moderation”

beady belle 04.jpg This doesn’t look like music I would normally listen too—I’m speaking about my own prejudices about “black music.” I’m beyond simple knee-jerk responses and also beyond simplistic, racial essentialist arguments that the “black” in music refers to color (biology) rather than aesthetics (culture), but I still have my struggles and thankfully my ears are in better shape than my eyes. Beady Belle pushes my buttons—in a good way. : We clearly feel 3 different worlds in "Closer' : acoustic jazz, groovy beats and free electronica. Do you agree on this recipe ;-) ? Yes, plus maybe some other worlds as well... Groovy beats and electronic sounds is definitely a part of my music, but I don't think my music fits perfect into the jazz category, since this is a category with long traditions and many rules. I think my melodies and harmonies are as much pop, soul and funk as jazz. —Beady Belle
First she is very, very clear about what she is doing and extremely good at doing what she does. Right before Katrina hit, we posted what turned out to be an indepth consideration of early music from Beady Belle. Go here to read our write-up on Beady Belle. beady belle 05.jpg : How different is you music on stage ? I think it's quite different. It's opened very much up for improvisation. This is important so that it's possible to communicate between the stage and the audience. It's supposed to be a dialog on the concerts, not a monologue from the stage. Since we have opened up the songs, it gives us room to make choices there and then on the stage. One song could last for 15 minutes on one concert and for 3 minutes on another. It could be very energetic on one concert and very calm on another. This is what is fun! This is what makes me feel alive on stage! I constantly try to make honest music. I don't want to calculate my music. Don't want to make my music fit into a fashion or a category. I listen to a lot of different music; different styles from different times, old and new, and for me it feels natural and most right to let me be inspired of all of this, not to choose one direction, but to feel the balance of what the true expression is for me. Not a little part of the truth, but the whole truth. This is the constant challenge for me as a composer. If the result of this is that people think it has a mature and unique sound, I'm satisfied. —Beady Belle
What really interests me is her live work. There is more music created in the moment rather than premeditated formulations. There’s a coterie of musicians, informally you could call them the Oslo faction. They are pioneers in mating jazz and electronic music. Imagine what the music would sound like if Roberta Flack was a computer nerd in addition to one of the major stylists of popular music and a consumate piano player/vocalist as a live performer. beady belle 03.jpg Beady Belle plays the hell out of her laptop hooked into the sound system along with a sampler. At the same time there’s a lot of attention given to the content of the songs both in terms of lyrics and in terms of melodies and rhythms. I like her music. Those are some entrancing grooves they produce. beady belle 01.jpg So here are some concert cuts for your consideration. I choose the ironically titled “Moderation” as the feature selection. Beady Belle samples James Brown’s “Greedy Man” and then sets up a riff playing with the sample. They’ve achieved a wonderful synthesis of jazz improvisation, and sensitive songwriting with hip hop grooves. The playlist is below. Enjoy. —Kalamu ya Salaam Beady Belle Playlist 1. "The One And Only" - Live in Sonthofen 2004 2. "When my Anger Starts to Cry" - Live in JazzNoJazz Festival Zurich 2003 3. "Drawback" - Live @ Crossing Border 2002 4. "Moderation" - Live in JazzNoJazz Festival Zurich 2003

This entry was posted on Monday, February 2nd, 2009 at 1:01 am and is filed under Contemporary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “BEADY BELLE / “Moderation””

Stephanie Renee Says:
February 4th, 2009 at 2:59 pm

If it were not for your blog, I may have taken years longer to discover Beady Belle and I am now I diehard fan. Their most recent project, Belvedere, is just as thought-provoking and groovy as any of the other albums. Amen for consistency!

Erik Says:
November 18th, 2009 at 1:06 pm

I was on that Zurich Concert and over the whole I was not so thrilled.
Even though i can get into Europaen Derivations of African American Music from all Americas.
But Beadys Music is only presented through the Jazzfestivals and Clubs because it can’t get over on itself.
Defenitively no Winton Crouch I still have Problems when EuroPop tags itself Jazz for evoking Cocktail-Coolness.
But I’ve heard worse Chantoosies.

Maybe i’m just tu European to dig her “exotism”.


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