Portraits of Life-Changing World Music Artists
Personal encounters with musical geniuses determined to change the world; includes pieces on Bob Marley, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Nina Simone, Sun Ra, Augustus Pablo, the Neville Brothers, Yabby You, and Nadia Gamal
What do such artists as Bob Marley, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Nina Simone, and Sun Ra have in common? All created uniquely powerful musical art that had a profound effect on their audiences. Through their music and their lives, they became forces for liberation, challenging the established order and inspiring people around the world to look at life in new ways. So great was their originality that to a large extent they created their own musical genres, and listeners claim the music leads them to a higher state of being.
Great Spirits: Portraits of Life-Changing World Music Artists presents personal encounters with some of the most interesting and important musical artists of the past fifty years—Bob Marley, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Nina Simone, Sun Ra, Augustus Pablo, the Neville Brothers, Yabby You, and Nadia Gamal. Based on the author's meetings and interviews with these giants, the pieces reveal the unique essence of each musician as a person, as an artist, and as a force for social change. Spanning the realms of jazz, blues, reggae, gospel, African, and Middle Eastern music, these artists epitomize musical creation at its highest level.
"Randall Grass's Great Spirits celebrates those who refuse restrictions. Here is a parade of artists who brush aside boundaries, borders, limits, conventions, and barriers without hesitation. Anyone who knows the grip of music will be swept into the fierce currents of provocateurs as international as Fela Kuti and Bob Marley and as interstellar as Sun Ra."- Milo Miles, National Public Radio
"This is an important book for those of us who want to know what these artists were really like, who believe that our great cultural artists are the last line of reason and discourse in a world gone mad, and who are concerned that the great legacy of peace and human compassion that they leave behind is too often lost in a sea of nonsense. It's the real deal, told by someone who was actually there, and who knew what he was seeing when he saw it."- James McBride, author of The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
"When giants roamed the earth, Randall Grass was one step behind--first as a fan, then as a reporter, then as a record executive. Bob Marley, Nina Simone, fearless Fela, and all the rest come alive in his portraits. Ain't nothing around like them these days."- Stephen Davis, author of Bob Marley and Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga