Transcript of The Roots
The Roots By: Rachael Ridgway The Roots are not your typical "jazz" band. They are a jazz influenced American hip hip/neo soul band formed in 1987 by Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter, Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, and Craig Robinson. The Roots are famed for beginning with a jazzy, eclectic approach to hip hop which still includes live intrumentals. They have been featured at the International Jazz Festival in Montreal, the Sasktel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival, the Lincoln Center, the Toronto Jazz Festival, the North Sea Jazz Festival, Woodstock, and many others. They have won numerous accolades for their jazz-influenced approach to hip-hop including Grammys for the album Wake Up! and 3 other songs, NAACP Awards for outstanding group and outstanding collaboration of Wake Up!, a "Hero's Award," and Max Stevenson International Award. The Roots have been hailed as one of the twenty greatest live acts in the world by Rolling Stone Magazine. What is Jazz Rap? Who are they? This Philadelphia-based group falls under the genre of jazz rap. Jazz rap is a sub-genre of hip hop that incorporates jazz influence; mostly soul jazz. Musically, the rhytms have been typically hip hop rather than jazz, but they are placed over repetitve phrases of jazz instrumentation. Typical instruments include saxophone, flute, trumpet, trombone, piano, bass, drums, electirc guitar, DJ or MC, and clarinet. The amount of improvisation varies. Some groups improvise solos, some improvise lyrics, and some improvise both. They improvise lyrically in thier beatboxing and rapping and musically in solos. Black Thought MC Questlove Drums Kamal Gray electric keyboard F. Knuckles percussion Captain Kirk Douglass electric guitar Damon "Tuba Gooding Jr" Bryson Sousaphone Owen Biddle Bass The Roots as Jazz Rap In the 70's rhyming poetry was placed over jazzy tracks paralleling jazz and freestyle rap. Jazz fusion bands further popularized this genre in the 80's. Although it still has not hit mainstream success, Miles Davis' final album Doo-Bop had hip hop based beats and gave the genre a boost in popularity. Musical jazz references had become less obvious and jazz lyrics have become rare in this genre, but the influence still continues They have influences of hip-hop and soul jazz. For example, they have live jazz playing mixed with hip-hop beats and rapping They have incorporated jazz instruments such as bass, drums, and bongos. They also have spiced up the piano with a keyboard and brass section with a sousaphone. Their jazz fusion also categorizes them as a jam band. Jam bands draw from a range of traditions including blues, bluegrass, hip hop, jazz, rock, and even techno. Their music has a steady syncopated ryhthm that can "change up." type of tuba Accomplishments African American JAZZ Influence Their songs include soulful and heartfelt melodies and lyrics. They often play with the melody and pitch in their music. Songs such as "Hard Times" and "The Fire" are examples of "telling my story" or blues like style. They have the percussion influence from African perspective using both drums and bongos. Their first album "From the Ground Up" (1994) was a major hit.Full transcript
Toured various jazz festivals with Rahzel and Scott Storch in 1995.
1996 released their first top 40 album "Illadelph Halflife."
Their albums "Things Fall Apart" (1999), named after the novel, and "Game Theory," which was a reflection of the political state at the time (2006), boosted their popularity.
What really gave them a name in the music world was their album titled Wake Up! featuring John Legend they released last year.