Sometimes shit can get deep. Real. Deep. Psychology–both the basics as well as the complexities of human nature. Indeed, is there a singular human nature? Are we all just a composite (too often a clashing of contradictory impulses)–animal, intellect, moral judgment, each a major generator and/or governor of our being and experiences? Like I said: Deep.
Most popular music exists on the “Id” plane. Ya know how you have drives that move you; drives that were in you, way before your own conception of who you are had developed; drives like survival (which is after all an unsentimental and amoral taskmaster–you get hungry enough, you’ll eat anyone or anything to survive).
Your Ego is the hunter that works to satisfy the needs of the “Id”. If your Id says ‘I Want’, your Ego says “I Will Get” (and does whatever is required to fulfill the yearning, to satiate the hunger). And your Super-Ego is the regulator, basically says “I should/I shouldn’t”. This is, of course, a greatly simplified, even simplistic, but not generally inaccurate, explanation of human nature.
So what does all of the above have to do with music? Nothing. Everything. Depends on who is doing what, and why are they doing the do. In 2001, three generations of lead voices collaborated on music created by Leon Ware. They were over in Amsterdam, a long way away from the USA where not only the music, but indeed thousands of miles away from where the artists themselves were created.
At the Paradiso venue working with a crackerjack band, plus a string quartet and a chanteuse chorus, the trio of headliners produced music that was simultaneously sublime and funky; the voicings were exquisite and the rhythms on the one.
Leon Ware (16 February 1940 – 23 February 2017), as both composer and lead vocalist was the anchor. This was a showcase of his musical compositions, but he was not alone.
The female voice was singer/songwriter Carleen Anderson (10 May 1957), a UK-based transplant from Houston, Texas. She was adept as both a lead vocalist as well as providing note-perfect harmonies.
Rounding out the frontline was musician/rapper Michael Franti (21 April 1967), from the band Spearhead. His deep baritone and insightful/exciting lyrics offered a modernist complement to the classic R&B carrying-ons.
Although each of the three leads are wonderful in their own right, the confluence of talents simply clicks, a righteous combination that unlocks a treasure trove of aural delights. Perhaps it was a special night, the stars aligned, the merger of melodies, harmonies and lyrics was grand; the resulting music, ah, the music they made consisted of more than the sum of their individual parts; much, much more than any of them could attain alone on their own.