The Twitter Nation and Remembering Hank Crawford

Just like that, something pops up and becomes a big deal. Just like that America and its creativity can pop up with something about nothing, and all of a sudden people will be having a blast with an amazing enterprise. Just like that some young fellas would sit under a tree on campus grounds and put their thoughts together and, before you know it they are somewhere in a neigborhood cafe talking about their stocks and millions of dollars stashed in the bank.

"And how come this is just a piece of cake?"

"The land of opportunity -- no doubt, making something out of nothing."

"So what in God's sake are you talking about?"

"I am talking about all the above subject-matter and before you start wondering, it is none other than Twitter, the newest arrival on social networking and how the internet brigades are all crazy about it. It has driven NPR's Jim Lehrer and Andrea Seabrooks nuts. ABC News Chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos cannot do without it. Charles Gibson is in it, too. The quarterbackers, the doves and hawks thinks the time has come to settle their differences. All has joined the bandwagon, and I don't know about you."

"Yahoo had its moment and millions of millions of groups emerged to a point it's no longer relevant. Now there is Hi5, My Space, Face Book, Desktop Networking, and thousands of socio-cultural networks out there presumably making body and soul one depending on what is it that troubles you or perhaps what you are looking for."

I had read about Twitter and trashed it not to be bothered. And I did read an article about it again and thought it was one writing a piece from putting thoughts together.

And I never looked back. But the whole thing popped up again. And I thought, wait a minute; we've got Google. We've got the chat rooms. We've got all kinds of stuff-- from dating service to your local food delivery -- you name it.

But the whole thing popped up again. And I still never looked back. Oh, if you don't know by now, everybody is talking about it on every TV channel including Good Morning America; at the market square, on the street corner, at the construction site, inside Mayor Antonio Villaraigos's office, in Supervisor, 2nd District, Mark Ridley-Thomas' branch offices, and all nooks and crannies of Mother Earth. It has been known to be weightier than the Biblical David and Goliath story.

"What are you talking about?"

"You will know in a minute."

"Until I get a heart attack?"


"And what's taking you so long?"

"Nothing, it's just that so many people have come and gone and it's more than a feeling."

"Okay, keep it to yourself and I ain't listening to you no more."

"No 'am not and would you listen and keep quiet?"

Yes, I ran into Twitter after reading a series of articles in Los Angeles Times and The New York Times. The first thing that pops up upon entering the website is "what are you doing?" asking you to let the world know if you are somewhere doing what you weren't suppose to be doing. I got in there just for the heck of it, I mean poking around. I registered and couldn't believe what I saw. It was indeed a market square and every human being you can think of buys and sells there. They all have handles except a very few seeking attention.

But I have taken a handle myself and start telling the world my business at the moment. I had been glued and I kept telling the world my business. It was not until Hank Crawford popped up from one of my followers that I knew something quite fascinating is about to happen "here." The twitter had talked about the death of legendary saxophonist Hank Crawford who died in January. He had also talked about being a teenager in the mid 50s and how he had moved to somewhere in the South running into a jam session where Hank Crawford was performing alongside Leroy "Hog" Cooper and David "Fathead" Newman in a band Ray Charles had cooked. Every twitter had a blog or website which made the networking interesting.

The twitting continued for several days and all followers learned a whole lot about this legendary alto saxophonist. I had told my side of the story knowing Crawford. As a teenager and visiting Lagos for the holidays and all that jam sessions Lagos was known for, the album "Tico Rico" had been all over the air waves including the record shops blasting it all out loud. It was just fresh from the stables of Creed Taylor International (CTI). And I have begun to know the meaning of jazz fusion and how the magnificent producer Creed Taylor had assembled the best during the Kudu years. And going deep into what was at Kudu Records -- George Benson, Grover Washington Jr., Esther Philips, Stanley Turrentine, Wes Montgomery, Idris Muhammad, Johnny Hammond, Deodato, Mongo Santamaria, Hubert Laws, Bob James, Earl Klugh, Ron Carter, the Cajun man himself Crawford, Eric Gale, Joe Beck, Phil Upchurch, Tennyson Stephens, Grant Green, David Mathews, Thus Spoke Z and others -- jazz fussion came into the fore of my interests in music.

And while "Tico Rico" was driving everybody nuts I had not been familiar with Crawford's other projects. There was "Help me make it through the night," Jazz Funk," "We Got a Good Thing," and "Wildflower" which was among Crawford's finest projects. As it also happened, one of my followers had digged deeply into my works and found out I was a hell of a music freak. He came back twitting and started throwing questions about my musicology. We had been on a long thread of Crawford, and the Kudu years was the beginning of my knowing jazz music which has now stretched to the early part of the Twentieth Century and by twitting I am learning more.

No question, Crawford was magnificent. He had the talent. His skills inspired me. His passion was what got me. He was a master in his craft. His music shook me. Remembering his horns and gone at 74 he will be missed.

Adios, amigo, and let's keep twitting!


Anonymous said…
Hank was a master of his own.
Anonymous said…
Hank used his instruments to convey his feelings.
Anonymous said…
It's sad. Three good friends died within two weeks in January. Leroy Cooper, David Newman and Hank Crawford.
Anonymous said…
That tweets is something else.
Anonymous said…
Those were the days. I remember Grover Washington Jr and Bob James.
Anonymous said…
After playing the baritone sax, Hank Crawford later switched to alto saxophone and while still a member of the Charles band, he was signed in 1961 to a solo recording contract with Atlantic Records. His earliest recordings included fellow Charles sideman David "Fathead" Newman on tenor saxophone and reproduced the funky feel of Charles' own work. Crawford left Ray Charles and formed his own group in 1964, the year after Hollywood arranger Marty Paich had worked with him on an album of standards such as "Star Dust" and "Stormy Weather", but the bulk of Crawford's Atlantic output consisted of booting soul-blues material. From 1972, he recorded for Kudu, an easy-listening jazz label set up by Creed Taylor.
Anonymous said…
Sad in indeed that within two weeks three good friends who worked together and had known each other very well died. Crawford's time with Kudu, to me, was the most successful.
Anonymous said…
He was just a good man,
Anonymous said…
That twitter stuff is seriously booming and I'll tell ya people are buying it.
Anonymous said…
Seriously how else could one not be hooked. It's addictive and I am now tweeted. Amazing.
Anonymous said…
We all live there
Anonymous said…
Tweeter is sure the biggest community. Do you tweet?
Anonymous said…
I have no idea what makes it cool...oops...I'm tweeting.