Collaborations That Never Were

I feel so strongly about this. I’ve never heard of Amerigo Gazaway before until yesterday but he is a producer that needs more shine. He brought my lows to highs with his latest production that features the best of Lauryn Hill with the best of Nina Simone.

You gotta understand, these two women caused seismic shifts within the folds of my ear, just moving it to places of higher love and fight, power and soul, jazz and hip-hop.

Discovering Lauryn Hill

I first heard of Lauryn Hill through “The Score.”

I first heard “The Score” when I was in high school, 1996, which was also the year I got my first car, a hand-me-down Honda that had a CD player, a set of Pioneer speakers, which meant I can listen to music, whenever, however, and as loud as I wanted to, a personal boombox reserved only for my ears.

Image courtesy of Amerigo Gazaway.

You gotta understand, the only time I got to listen to music was through one boombox that my sister and I shared but she was a dictator about that shit, I had to ask for permission to fucking press play on that shit, and I only got the chance to listen to my shit, my joints, my jams when she wasn’t around.

I cherished those moments, my time alone with the boombox. It wasn’t much, but I loved it. So with a car, I had the music all to myself, the sound system, that CD player, oh man, that was my fucking shit, so what comes out the gate that year?

“The Score.” I played it so much that the CD cracked.

Discovering Nina Simone

Nina Simone. I’ve already let you know about my love for her, I’m still in search of a “Nina at Newport” vinyl for my growing collection and one that can fit my budget, but the first time I heard Nina Simone was during a stressful time in my life both in love and relationships, work and health. 

My editor at Super Street magazine assigned me to cover an event in Tokachi, Hokkaido, Japan, the northern end, the rural part of the island, and at the time, my girlfriend and I had been on the rocks, and I was getting gout on the regular, and on my trip, the first day of my flight, I was hit with the perfect storm, my girlfriend was acting insecure, my gout flared, and I was frustrated at the very little pay for a job that required me to go to Japan.

Image courtesy of Amerigo Gazaway.

But at any rate, I was doing these things because it was the things that I had to do. It was as simple as that. I was young. And so there I was on my flight from L.A. to Tokyo, the only CD I had brought was The Visionaries “Pangea,” which like “The Score,” I played so much, it cracked, and it cracked during that trip, so I had no choice but listen to the music they offered through the airline with their shitty foam and soft plastic headphones.

I scrolled for something new and stumbled upon a Nina Simone album. I had heard of her before but didn’t know what she sounded like. Talib Kweli and Mos Def used to drop her name all the time. The name of the album I listened to still escapes me, but when I first heard her voice, I was moved, seismic shifts, and I fell in love.

So something like this, this “mash-up,” though I know there must be a better term to describe something like this, especially when it comes to these two women, is something I need at the moment when I’m on new music fatigue, nothing on my preferred streaming service of Apple Music can no longer bring me to move.

The Miseducation of Eunice Waymon

So I thank Amerigo Gazaway for this album, and I thank Anthony Valadez of KCRW for playing this on his show for me to discover and fall in love with all over again.

Download the “The Miseducation of Eunice Waymon” at Amerigo Gazaway’s bandcamp website.

Roel F. Concepcion

Chief Explorer

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