Friday, February 05, 2016

In Memoriam, Earth, Wind & Fire

As I take in the death of Maurice White, founder of Earth, Wind, and Fire (EWF), I think of the music that plays just about daily on my iPhone (and thus throughout my house).

It was the music that Laura and I fell in love to 35 years ago. It’s the music that my parents Tom and Ruth—also now gone— grooved to. “Sun Goddess,” “Let’s Groove,” and “Shining Star” among many others provided the atmosphere for many a Cootsona party. It’s the music that helps me find the groove when I’ve lost it and offers me a vision of what it means to play as a band.

I love the way they brought African music, jazz and so many other influences to pop. As a drummer/percussionist, I was amazed that, the entire band embodied the rhythm. They lived the groove. Every instrument—whether bass, sax, drum kit, or keyboard contributed to what we call in the business a truly “righteous” rhythm. They were also positively positive. It’s hard to have a bad day when you listen to EWF and hear, “When you feel down and out, sing a song—it’ll make you dance.”

As White himself put it"We live in a negative society. Most people can't see beauty and love. I see our music as medicine."

Perhaps my favorite song is off a somewhat obscure recording on “Greatest Hits Live” where they play “Reasons." Ah so many great things… Verdine White (Maurice’s brother) playing flawless bass… Philip Bailey’s falceto, flawless and gossamer… the amazing sax solo by Scott Mayo in which—and this is my big point—Maurice and Philip are cheering him on the whole time. Ego gave way to teamwork.

EWF played as a band. They loved the groove. They decided that light always overcomes darkness. Though Maurice is gone, their music will keep playing in this house.

P.S. These are just a few notes in remembrance. I reserve the right to add more.

1 comment:

Jennifer Wiseman said...

Greg --
How awesome that you are an EWF fan!
I join you in the throng of those inspired by their great music.
Let's all groove...