Last time we talked how I wanted 2017 to be as musically revolutionary as 1977 - how punk rock shook things up exactly 40 years ago.
Seismic shifts were happening in other genres, too. Steve Reich shook the classical world with his Music for Eighteen Musicians, daring to use the repetition and tonality of rock music. The David Grisman Quintet’s first album pushed the boundaries of bluegrass into virtuoso territory. Jazz/rock fusion had been around for years, but the band Weather Report brought it to supergroup status with Heavy Weather; now, music billed as “jazz” was able to fill hockey arenas.
But arguably the most important thing to happen to music in 1977 occurred on the night of July 13. That was the night of the great New York City blackout. The story goes that the subsequent store lootings provided up and coming South Bronx musicians with a wealth of sound equipment. Block parties hosted by DJs like Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa brought their new style to a critical mass of people, and hip hop suddenly reached a tipping point.
It might be too much to ask that 2017 spawns new genres as big as 1977 did with punk and hip hop, but we should all keep our ears and minds open, because the time is ripe for change.