Sunday, 19 May 2024

CyberSoulMan: Thoughts on the election, music and Eartha Kitt

T Watts at the KPFZ microphone. Courtesy photo.

For those of you who don’t know, jazz trumpeter Eddie Gale is a property owner in Lake County. He also has an interesting take on Obama as president. I called him on New Year's Eve to wish him cheers for 2009.

If you are not familiar with Eddie Gale, here are some of his qualifications:

  • He is listed in the comprehensive academic music reference volume entitled, “The Trumpet Kings: The Players who Shaped the Sound of Jazz Trumpet.” Written by Scott Yanow, this book unveils the personal and musical lives of 479 brilliant jazz trumpeters, past and present.

  • You can hear the work of Eddie Gale on recordings by Sun Ra, Larry Young and Cecil Taylor. His muted trumpet work with Cecil Taylor is included in the Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz. Gale also has performed live with such luminaries as John Coltrane, Elvin Jones and Jimmy Garrison.

Before his usual conversation ending salutation of “Inner Peace To You,” he shared with me his interesting take on the inauguration of Barack Obama.

A deeply spiritual man, Eddie Gale feels the election has more to do with the highest force in the universe calling on us as human beings to finally begin to work toward a world of true peace and understanding without regard to race.

“The change that the election brings should mean the end of us thinking about each other in strictly racial terms,” he said. “It could be the end of red, white, black, brown, yellow men and women. Just an American man and woman. It is a greater America for the world. We are hearkening to the pull of the spirit.”

To view and hear Eddie Gale’s ninety second video that I’ve just quoted from go to this link:

Unfortunately, many of us are yet hung up on the so-called racial ramifications of the installation of the first African American president. I say this despite the historical rumors that there was another before him! (For now, you'll have to research that yourself!)

* * * * *

A couple of strange rumors from pretty reliable sources floated past me recently.

A friend of mine went church shopping in Lake County recently and, at one church, the pastor prophesied to his flock that if Obama won the election it was a sure sign that the end times were upon us.

Another person reported that at a drunken Republican gathering on election night those in attendance were calling President-Elect Obama “The Antichrist.” The margin of error in public opinion is frequently shaped by folks who have no idea of what they are talking about ...

* * * * *

We lost the great songstress/actress/dancer and diva Eartha Kitt recently.

Immediately, I recalled a film I saw as a teenager entitled “Anna Lucasta” that co-starred her with Sammy Davis, Jr. It was a great film. I think I was a legal adult before I realized that the Eartha version was a remake of the original version which starred Joann Woodward.

After Ms. Kitt died, I ordered the DVD of the Eartha/Sammy version to view with my elderly mother. When I received it, I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to drive 100 miles to take it to my Mom. I had to see it quickly.

The story line wasn’t quite like I remembered it and it would probably be categorized as a B movie in terms of what Hollywood spent on the production in 1958. But the performances by Kitt and Davis are brilliant. I highly recommend it.

* * * * *

“Cadillac Records” came to Lake County for an all-too-brief run in early December. It was billed as the story of Chess Records, but really portrayed primarily an interpretation of the Muddy Waters/Leonard Chess business arrangement.

Though not always historically accurate, the film featured fine performances by Jeffrey Wright as Muddy Waters, Columbus Short as the tragic genius Little Walter, Mos Def as Chuck Berry, Eammon Walker as Howlin’ Wolf, Adrian Brody as Leonard Chess and Beyonce Knowles as Etta James. This film is good entertainment. The real story of Chess Records is way too large to be confined to a two-hour movie.

* * * * *

Finally, the Village Voice fired the great Jazz Critic Nat Hentoff recently.

The face of the world of publishing is changing as well as the political climate. We are conscious of it here in Lake County as well.

This column will attempt to articulate certain truths that historically haven’t been covered in Lake County and the world.

Keep prayin’, keep thinkin’ those kind thoughts.

T. Watts is a writer, radio host and music critic. Visit his Web site at


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