Monday, July 28, 2014

Long Live Asian Artistic Freedom Fighter, Fred Ho

I am so honored to have met Fred Ho shortly before his transition to the ancestors. Even though in failing health, he gave a benefit for Micheal Maroon Shoats, a 40 year political prisoner in the American Gulag, most of his time spent in solitary confinement. But Fred was determined to stay activist to the end, and we all must follow his example. As Paul Robeson taught us, we must decide to be the artistic freedom fighter. I experienced Fred Ho as such. 

Revolutionary Love, Fred Ho
--Marvin X

P.S. Long live the revolutionary spirit of another Asian freedom fighter, Yuri Kochiyama! We love you, Yuri because you loved us!--Marvin X

Unfortunately, This jazz masterpiece by Fred Ho was basically pulled from public distribution due to the reactionary & unprincipled law suit threats by the Huey P. Newton Foundation over Fred's use of the so-called copyrighted use of Black Panther Party imagery & logos and is currently listed On Amazon For $29.99 used and for as much as $359.63 new.......

Fortunately, as veteran members of the Black Panther Party who do not acknowledge the HPN Foundation's
"U.S. government approved copyright claims"; Both the Peoples Survival Program and the Sekou Odinga Defense Committee will have a 
Very Limited Number Of Rare "New & Unused Copies" Of Fred Ho's "All Power to the People: The Black Panther Suite Jazz DVD" Available For Only $30.00...
During His Sunday, August 10, 2014 Birthday Tribute @
 ShapeShifter Lab - 18 Whitwell Place -Brooklyn, NY 11215

$20 admission - 7:00pm

All of the proceeds from these "1st Come/RSVP" DVD sales will be equally divided amongst the U.S. Political Prisoner freedom campaigns for Black Panther PP/POW's Russell "Maroon" Shoatz, Sekou Odinga and the community based projects of the IFCO/Safiya Bukhari-Albert Nuh Washington Foundation's NYC based "Peoples Survival Program (PSP)"  

So RSVP Today To Buy Your Exclusive Copy On Fred's August 10th B-DAY Tribute To;

Fred Ho @ Los Angeles March 18

Statement by Composer Fred Ho, 1998

"Founded in the wake of the assassination of Malcolm X, the Black Panther Party came to symbolize the apotheosis of the explosive late-1960s in American society. Everything about the Panthers was provocative: their Mao-ist inspired political slogans, their ubiquitous black berets and leather jackets, their clenched fist Black Power salute, their big Afro-hairstyles, their practice of openly bearing firearms, and their disciplined militancy and revolutionary political vision. The Black Panthers not only fired the imagination of their generation but also shifted the strategy of the African American struggle and all movements for justice and social change in the United States by seeking solutions rooted in a basic redistribution of power.

A composer/musician and Asian American, I came of age as a teenager in the late-1960s and early-1970s. The energy of this movement and the music of that time set the direction for both my life and my music. I even joined an Asian American counterpart to the Black Panthers (c.f., Legacy to Liberation: Politics and Culture of Revolutionary Asian Pacific America, AK Press). 

I believe that the same issues of 30 years ago continue today with even more urgency and intensity. That is why I envision ALL POWERTO THE PEOPLE! THE BLACK PANTHER MUSIC/VIDEO AND MARTIAL ARTS BALLET SUITE not as a docu-drama looking back to the late-1960s/early-1970s, but as an occasion to continue the energy, spirit and vision of that period and link it to today. This, I feel, would be the real and sincere way to commemorate and celebrate the Panthers.

Combining live music performed by the Afro Asian Music Ensemble with electric guitar and African percussion (eight musicians), live interactive digital video mixing and martial arts ballet choreography, the interactivity and dynamism of this one hour performance work creates a revolutionary VISION QUEST. The video component collages newspaper images, posters, flyers, video clips and text in a gigantic scenescape to serve as the only scenic design and narrative element for the music and martial arts ballet.

The martial arts ballet is based upon Chinese kung fu and wushu, to evoke and pay homage to the inspiration of the Chinese revolution and Mao Zedong upon the Black Panthers".

Originally envisioned as a ballet, Fred Ho's All Power to the People: The Black Panther Suite is presented on DVD as a multimedia document with Ho's insistent music used as a soundtrack for visuals largely drawn from archival photos.

The work is an ardent piece of agitprop celebrating to the point of hagiography the militant Black power group. Whether one buys into the message will be determined by how one feels about the Black Panthers to start with.

Those who view them as a force of the empowerment of oppressed people and militants who linked the struggles of African-Americans with the worldwide socialist struggle will be inspired. Those who view them as ineffective political poseurs more interested in sloganeering than actual action will not be converted. The graphics by Paul Chan evoke old pamphlets and cheaply produced political news sheets. Elsewhere, faces of politicians and other foes swell and shrink in a digital equivalent of drawing a moustache on a picture. And the exclamation mark-pocked titles match that tone.

The main attraction of the DVD, though, is Ho's suite. The music strikes a suitably militant tone. Anchored by his own baritone saxophone, the ensemble, sounding much larger than eight pieces, barks out the lines. Still, Ho has clearly learned from Ellington by way of Mingus about voicing saxophones. He draws a lush, vibrant sound from the band that is especially evident on "Loving the People Is a Love Supreme!

The Personal Is Political!" Sam Furnace summons the spirit of the free jazz pioneers of the 1960s as he screams over the ensemble on "All Power to the People!" On "Funeral for the Fallen Martyrs" he juxtaposes these saxophones with stinging electric guitar from Michele Navazio to create an eerie cop show soundtrack. Here and elsewhere the music achieves subtlety without sacrificing power in contrast to the smug doctrinaire tone of the graphics.

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