Thursday, July 12, 2007

A message from Jerry

I want to thank everyone that came out and supported us on Monday night for the recording of our new LIVE CD.

We are taking pre-pay orders on the website via paypal. Go to and go to the bottom of the "Buy our Music" page.
You will find a button there that will direct you. We have discounted the price for pre-sales. I am already mixing it and hope to get it in your hands quickly, but to be on the safe side we have said "six weeks until delivery." I hope to get it to you sooner, but I want to cover my you-know-what!! Also: see the attached flyer [below -BG], a dear friend of mine is doing a gig that will raise money for a very worthy cause!


- Jerry Lopez


Our good friend Dave Siekfes of just sent me this composite shot he'd photoshopped from a couple of my blog pics featuring Danny and Gil doing their "dueling trumpets" solo. Very cool. You can smell the burning valve oil.


New flick "Talk to Me" sounds like a winner (Review excerpt from
Kasi Lemmons' "Talk to Me," a biopic, of sorts, about '60s-era Washington, D.C., disc jockey and community activist Ralph Waldo "Petey" Greene Jr., is an imperfect picture that's alive every minute, a movie that perfectly captures the vibe of a person, a place, a time and a way of being, and even gets, indirectly and without a whiff of sanctimoniousness, to the heart of what being an American ought to mean...

...Petey Greene (played here by Don Cheadle) was a high-school dropout who was convicted of armed robbery in 1960 and sentenced to a 10-year jail term. He became the prison disc jockey -- he was allowed to address his fellow prisoners for 20 minutes each morning and night -- and he earned early parole by talking a suicidal inmate down from the top of a flagpole. ("It took me six months to get him to go up there," he later said.)

After Petey's release, he talked his way into a gig at WOL-AM: The program director there, Dewey Hughes (here played by Chiwetel Ejiofor), took a chance on him. "Talk to Me" shows Greene risking the station's FCC license, not to mention its relationship with certain important record companies, by going on the air that first day and spinning a brash, eloquent, street-talking argument for Motown Records' Berry Gordy as a pimp and a thief. According to Petey, Gordy took gifted black performers, trained them to be palatable to white folk, and then sat back to rake in the money -- the sort of thing no black or white person was supposed to be saying in mid-1960s America. The station's owner, E.G. Sonderling (Martin Sheen), is understandably horrified, until it becomes clear that Petey's insistence on "keeping it real" (or, rather, his inability to do anything but) is drawing a massive local following, a largely though not exclusively black audience that's relieved to hear someone addressing the reality of their lives and the problems of their city with such plain-spokenness and unfettered good humor...

Greene certainly appealed to a black audience, but the movie suggests he never pandered to it. In one scene, Petey -- at this point hosting a television show as well as his regular radio slot -- introduces a guest (also black) with the words, "My guest tonight is a pimp who I wouldn't let wash my car. But y'all just elected him city-council member." Clearly, this is a guy who isn't going to let so-called progressiveness get in the way of progress.

...Cheadle is wonderful here, riffing his way through the movie with a mixture of effortless charm and hard-nosed practicality. Throughout his professional life, Greene worked for groups devoted to helping ex-convicts reacclimate to society, and on his shows and in public performances he made it a point to stress the importance of education. But "Talk to Me" also shows us a guy who frequently introduced himself as an ex-con, and, sometimes, a drunkard too. On his first WOL show, Cheadle's Petey takes the mic and tells his audience where he's come from, adding that he's been sober for something like five hours. Cheadle makes us laugh, but he also opens the way right into the heart of this guy. Ejiofor's Dewey Hughes is, at first, his noble foil, the straitlaced black guy who's made it in a white man's world. But Petey loosens him up, too, and Ejiofor navigates that subtle transition beautifully. The movie gets extra jolts of style from Taraji P. Henson ("Hustle & Flow"), who plays Petey's longtime girlfriend, Vernell. Her character's outlandish outfits -- slinky, op-art numbers with strategically placed cutouts -- are fabulous to look at, but even more miraculous is the way Henson stands up to them. Whether Vernell is striding into the WOL offices on Petey's arm in a marvelous space-bubble Afro, or holding a broken bottle to his neck after catching him with another woman, Henson makes sure we're always seeing a person, not a stereotype.

The most magnificent scene in "Talk to Me" -- the most difficult to watch, and the most rousing -- is the one in which Petey goes on the air just after learning about the assassination of Martin Luther King. He and Dewey have gone outside, trying to leave the station, only to realize that the city, crazed with anger and pain, has erupted. Petey goes back to the station and simultaneously tries to reckon with the horror of what's happened and urge his city to deal with its anger in the most human, and humane, way possible. "We gonna get through this together," he tells the city -- his city -- as a way of talking them down from the flagpole, only this time, the setup isn't a stunt. The music we hear is unequivocally the most beautiful, most painful, most hopeful song in all of soul and R&B, Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come."...

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