"Cosmic Oscar" - Dwight Tribble and Billy Childs
If you've ever heard Oscar Brown Jr, you must be aware of his genius. He is a celebrated singer, songwriter, playwright, poet, civil rights activist and actor famous for such songs as All Blues, Dat Dere, The Snake and Watermelon Man to name a few.
Two of the many musicians who loved Oscar are Dwight Trible, a sublime singer and stylist in his own right, and Billy Childs, a pianist and composer with a world-wide reputation. When I (Ruth) called Billy, he happened to be touring in Moscow and immediately responded to say "YES! I'd love to do the tribute with Dwight". Recalling the many times he performed with Oscar on the old Jazz Bakery stage, he said: "I treasure every poem, song and bit of off-stage talk-time we shared".
OBJ was seen as the forerunner to socially-conscious performers like Gil Scott Heron. An all-around entertainer, he gained critical acclaim for merging the art of songwriting with social commentary. The Los Angeles Times described Oscar's work as "a mosaic of poetic Musical images", also citing his lyrics for such popular jazz instrumentals as Nat Adderley's Work Song, Bobby Timmons' Dat Dere" and Mongo Santamaria's Afro Blue.
Trible and Brown performed Brother Where Are You together for a documentary and maintained a decades-long friendship. On more than one occasion, Oscar would take one of his poems and hand it to Dwight, imploring him to "do something with it!"... Finally, Dwight and bassist Trevor Ware began to brainstorm a project - then included Percussionist/soundscape artist Breeze Smith and drummer Paul Lagaspi who were equally enthusiastic. When you add pianist Billy Childs with his history of playing with Oscar at the JB and Lincoln Center, you have the makings of a very special and loving remembrance.
Dwight and company have chosen a mix of OBJ songs, both well-known and some lesser-known, but all deserving wider recognition. They are really excited about putting a new twist on these rare gems and invite you to come along on this magical excursion!
Musicians Institute (View)
1655 N. McCadden Place
Hollywood, CA 90028