Friday, August 24, 2007

Good Reads: "Spreadin’ Rhythm Around" by Mark Richardson

Mark Richardson is my second favourite Pitchfork writer (just behind my e-pal Chris Dahlen) and his monthly Resonant Frequency column always offers an interesting take on how meaning is created in music. This month, he explores the legacies of Billie Holiday and Nina Simone and their recontextualization through the Remixed and Reimagined record series.

The ideas around both, as wildly different as their musical output was, are similar, and they're often compared. Simone must have felt something of Holiday's legacy, because she recorded her share of Holiday tunes, being particularly inspired by Holiday's renditions of "I Loves You Porgy" and "Strange Fruit. Both were serious about reinvention and careful cultivators of image. And then there are the names: both changed their plain-Jane givens for monikers suggesting elegance and sophistication. Eleanora Fagan became Billie and Eunice Kathleen Waymon became Nina.

Read the full column here.


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