Flyboy 2: The Greg Tate Reader
Greg Tate is a music and popular culture critic and journalist whose work has appeared in many publications, including the Village Voice, Vibe, Spin, the Wire, and Downbeat. He is the author of Flyboy in the Buttermilk: Essays on Contemporary America and Midnight Lightning: Jimi Hendrix and the Black Experience and the editor of Everything but the Burden: What White People Are Taking from Black Culture. Tate, via guitar and baton, also leads the conducted improvisation ensemble Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber, who tour internationally.
The Black Male Show
The first section contains interviews and essays on Black male writers, artists, and musicians, from Amiri Baraka, to Jimi Hendrix, to Richard Pryor, to Michael Jackson. In the essay on Jimi Hendrix, Tate describes the rocker’s little-known beginnings in the experimental rock scene in Seattle. In the Gil Scott-Heron piece (an obituary), Tate describes Gil Scott-Heron as not bigger than hip-hop, but better, as Hendrix was better than heavy metal, Coltrane better than bebop, Malcolm better than the Nation of Islam, Marley better than the King James Bible. But end of the day, Tate laments the dead Black geniuses we lacked the will or the mercy or the mechanisms to save from themselves.