Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Nuttin But Stringz iz Nuttin But Great

Brothers Damien and Toure Escobar of Nuttin But Stringz

Nuttin But Stringz Live @The Canon Center

A Band of Brothers: R2C2H2 Tha Artivist (In green playa shirt and brown pimp hat) With Nuttin But Stringz And The Rapper/Hypeman Extraordinaire Mr. Tony Hayes (In red shirt)

On a light drizzle filled Sunday evening, June 4, 2006, I had a friendly run in with a good friend of mine, the hardworking and beautiful Mrs. Regina Walker of the
United Way of the Greater Mid South…I was actually on my way home with a whole lotta stuff including artworks and trumpet in my hands after completing a short yet intense day of exhibiting and attention getting (creatively prostituting myself artistically speaking…Ya know its hard out here for an…Artivist) at the 2006 Sisterhood Showcase…I thought I would retire to the comforts of my home watching the season finales of The Sopranos and Big Love respectively (HBO KNOWS AND CREATES DRAMA BETTER THAN ANYBODY ELSE…SORRY TNT)…HOWEVER, FATE HAD OTHER PLANS FOR ME…Anyways my friend Regina had an extra ticket to the AL JARREAU show which was actually happening next door where the Memphis Cook Convention Center held "The Sisterhood Showcase" at; the Canon Performing Arts Center...The fact that Regina had "Actually" called ten people to try to GIVE AWAY THE TICKET FOR ONE OF THE GREATEST ENTERTAINERS TO EVER GRACE THE EARTH (ONLY THE SECOND ARTIST TO EVER WIN A GRAMMY IN THREE DIFFERENT CATEGORIES) LET ME KNOW THAT IT WAS FATE AND NOT CHANCE (THE IRONIC THING IS THE FACT THAT AN ARTIST FRIEND OF MINE’S MOMS WAS ACTUALLY ASKING ME ALL WEEKEND AT THE SHOWCASE IF I KNEW ANYONE THAT MAY HAVE AN EXTRA TICKET BECAUSE SHE WAS A BIG AL JARREAU FAN!!!)…ANYWAYS AS ALWAYS AL THE CONSUMATE PERFORMER NEVER FAILED TO IMPRESS AND ENTERTAIN… What was surprising was his opening act, "Nuttin But Stringz"whose performance and commanding stage presence definitely put me in the mood and in the spirit of having an authentically GREAT TIMEBasically Nuttin But Stringz is a group CONSISTING OF TWO BROTHERS, Damien and Toure Escobar who are from the NYC and are professional and classically trained musicians (they studied at the prestigious Juilliard School for the Arts)…They have been on highly popular mainstream venues such as the Jay Leno Show, Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Showtime at the Apollo, but I never heard of them before Sunday eveningHowever, what makes the twosome unique is their ability to blend old school with nu school sensibilitiesThey used their talents to great effect in combining Hip Hop with Classical European, rock n roll and jazz, bridging a wide demographic of people in the audience all in attendance in the name of music appreciationFrom Mozart to JayZ they hit all points in between in letting be known that Like the great God MC Rakim said before "it ain’t where you from but where you at" in understanding your humanity and creatively expressing yourself with that humanityNuthin But Stringz isn’t a new phenomenon but an updated version of a celebrated if sometimes obscured and underappreciated tradition of great exceptional young black and gifted musical prodigies which arguably started with the first mainstream Black American music star Blind Tom BethuneThey also in my opinion are the closest thing to being Jean Michel Basquiat in musical terms aesthetically speakingAlso in Nuthing But Stringz’s wonderful act I see ambition and drive which could one day equal or even surpass those of Lt. James Reese Europe,Samuel Coleridge Taylor, Scott Joplin, Will Marion Cook,William Grant Still, and Duke Ellington in that they are creating with their musical talents an unique voicing of the Souls of Black Folks that knows no boundaries to an audience who in my opinion as a whole are still unaware of the full greatness of that unique heritage post-Katrina …The fact that they are so young (late teens around 18 and 19 years old respectively) also adds a certain youthful hipness as well as mainstream hip-popish (Hip Hop and Pop) appeal to their act…The group’s interactions with the audience was also wonderful and very much appreciated …Their hypeman and rapper, Mr. Tony Hayes, played a very instrumental and crowd pleasing role in getting the mostly middle aged crowd "to get low" with it and get lost in the playful interplay between the rapper and Nuthin But StringzOne of the performances that stand out in my mind was the opening number where you can tell how passionate and focused the talented duo was by looking at the finely combed horse hairs coming apart on Damien Escobar’s violin bow (reminded me of John Coltrane’s frenetic and passionate playing) or the showmanship of his brother Toure's Jimi Hendrix like approach to playing his violinSome more numbers of note was their song paying homage to Egypt which had a very mystic, nostalgic and exotic quality which stirs echoes of Duke Ellington’s "Caravan" or "Black and Tan Fantasy"…Their version of Luther Vandross’s "Dance With My Father" was also a very successful number which evoked a lot of sentimental emotion from many members in the audienceNuthin But Stringz was very consistent as far as keeping their energy high and very positive throughout the set…The brothers no matter how serious they took their playing also showed a sense of humor when they did their parody of a love song in which they repeated the refrain ,"I’m a sucker for her"…And just like they started they also ended their set on a high note with the number "A NEW Day"…That song in particular gave the venue a tent revival feel in that the brothers were along with their rapping sidekick Mr. Tony Hayes giving a semi-autobiographical testimonial about how everyone should look forward to getting a second chance or new day to improve or redeem themselves…This proves for me that wisdom don’t come with age, but with trial and error and understanding while remaining positive in spite of it all (Keep Hope Alive)…I got a chance to me NBS and Mr. Tony Hayes after the show…These brothers are very humble and beautiful peopleI thoroughly enjoyed talking with them and Mr. Tony Hayes who felled in love with Memphis, in particular the women and Corky’s barbeque but maybe not in that order!!! Right now they are very accessible, but I feel that they won’t be for long because their talent is too unique and daring not to be recognized for what it is: true genius in the makingLike freshly cooked Krispy Kreme Donuts once everybody gets a whiff they are going to be hard to get because they will definitely be in high demand…Hey everybody please don’t sleep on Nuthin But Stringz because these brothers got a lot to offer and should be supported!!! Hopefully one new day soon they will be coming to a venue near you!!! Please visit their official website at

No comments: