Brian “B+” Cross has long been a purveyor of music from several genres. The acclaimed photographer, author recently joined Mochilla partner Eric Coleman in a 2009 series of professionally filmed Los Angeles performances that included Miguel Atwood-Ferguson’s Suite For Ma Dukes, Mulatu Astatke and Arthur Verocai. When the events were initially announced to HipHopDX in January of 2009, another name was mentioned, David Axelrod.
“The Axe,” a L.A. native, is responsible for several acclaimed solo albums, as well as seminal Jazz production for Lou Rawls, Cannonball Adderley, as well Don Randi. To Hip Hop fans, Axelrod’s music has been used on hit singles for Dr. Dre, Black Star and Diamond D. On Axelrod’s 2001 self-titled album, he enlisted Ras Kass‘ sharp lyricism on “The Little Children.”
mochilla.com / Axelrod Trailer
Asked recently if there will still be a proper David Axelrod concert with Mochilla’s involvement, B+ explained, “I have a 10-12 year relationship with [David] Axelrod, I would consider him a friend. He’s an awesome, incredible guy. And without his music, would I be thinking in [the] terms [of the Timeless series]? No.” Cross continued, explaining his own hand in Axelrod’s revival. “In the mid ’90s a good, long stretch of my music life, in a similar way to [J] Dilla really in many ways, was spent listening to Axelrod. I mean I hounded those records. I’m the cat who discovered the acetate [that became 2001’s self-titled album on Mo’ Wax Records].”
Despite a filmed England performance, B+ is still at work on brinfing The Axe home to the Angels. “This is L.A. music. This is music made in L.A. with L.A. musicians in an L.A. studio. You know the guy was raised in [the] Crenshaw [district], like can we just figure it out where we can- this music can finally be heard in the city. We had so many plans of guests, and things that were going to happen, and then well, things that didn’t happen. The fat lady didn’t sing yet.” B+ still believes his friend, the 74 year-old musician will agree to the performance in years to come. He continued that after announcements were first made, fans from overseas already tried to buy tickets, based on the rare opportunity.
With J. Dilla’s music being adapted by conductor Miguel Atwood-Ferguson for the Suite For Ma Dukes performance and subsequent DVD, B+ was also asked if this, like emcees with poetry books, is what Hip Hop producers can now aspire to.
“Interesting question. I don’t know,” began B+. “It’s really a question for Miguel. I’m not sure that every producer’s music is going to be suitable for orchestra…this is the sort of weird and interesting world of music that we’ve, I don’t know, I’ve spent many many many years listening to nothing but Hip Hop. To some degree, I still think my ears are conditioned by those years, I share things with those years. [It] doesn’t matter whether it’s Brazilian music, Colombian music, whatever it is. But I think more and more generationally as this music moves forward, I think that’s the thing. We will start to see the influences of Hip Hop in ways that we never could of imagined. And that’s part of the beauty of it.”
Suite For Ma Dukes andtheTimeless series are available now on Mochilla.
Purchase Suite For Ma Dukes by Carlos Nino and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson