Back in 1957 Governor of Arkansas Orval E. Faubus sent the national guard to prevent integration of Little Rock High School. Everybody involved in jazz knows that Charles Mingus responded with his classic Fables of Faubus, where he turns Faubus into the focus of ridicule for his twisted and racist act.

Columbia Records refused to allow the lyrics on the record.


They eventually made it.

On September 15th, 1963 the Klu Klux Klan bombed the 16th st Baptist Church killing four young girls. Addie Mae Collins. Cynthia Wesley. Carole Robertson. Carol Denise McNair.

John Coltrane responded with his heartbreaking piece Alabama.

I feel that Mingus and Trane established a tradition in jazz, to acknowledge and protest what can only be described as anti-humanity, or pure evil. When Nina Simone sang about the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King she asked us all:

“Are they men or are they beasts?”

Perhaps I’m out the loop, but the tradition of countering evil with music doesn’t seem to happen enough in jazz these. days. People like to get angry on social media, but that’s as far as they’re willing to go. I’ll never forget what this cop told me at a protest I was playing at in Union Square over the way Bush handled Katrina. I was wailing.

“You have a choice. Leave now, or I take your horn.”

I believe in the true power of music, just like Trane and Albert. In the 12 Houses orchestra, I’m driven to be a part of today’s world. I feel that means we have to continue what Mingus and Trane started. We are honored to have MC Ar’Braf with us who delivers his message directly to the people, every Sunday since November 2015 at NuBlu. The 12 Houses enjoys crossing boundaries and shattering stereotypes. We’re not playing around, weather we get a BeatDown award or not.

Songs in our book include:

No More Racism
No More Greed
No More Guns
No More Ignorance
No More Hate
No More Shootings
Sandra Bland
Tamir Race
Dump Trump

And tonight:

Black Lives Matter

When the recent murder of police went down in Dallas, I checked in on the NRA’s response. A short paragraph about police heroism, and that’s it. No mention of the weapon used.

The GOP blamed Black Lives Matter for the attack.


Then they bring their weak and fake moments of silence. I’ll ask the same question about them that Nina asked:

“Are they men or are they beasts?”

Like Larry Wilmore was forced to explain the other night: All lives matter, but BLACK lives are the ones under attack. People on Facebook rage out when Black Lives Matter protesters block the highway saying the people should be run over. People in America will rage over being delayed in getting somewhere, but they won’t get mad when the police murder innocent black people.

The 12 Houses are many things. Since one of those things are Love, we must challenge Hate.

Tonight’s performance is for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile


If we all stick together, we really can take back the world.




Check out Ar’Braf