Kareem's Weekend Boost (Feb. 25-27)
What to Watch, Read, or Listen to This Weekend
This is the last weekend in February, which marks the end of Black History Month and the beginning of March Madness. They may seem like two very different things, but an important milestone in measuring the progress of Black history is seeing the inclusion of so many Black athletes participating in college sports to the extent that it’s not seen as an anomaly but as just a common occurrence. George Gregory Jr. was the first college Black basketball player at Columbia University in 1928. But desegregation of college basketball didn’t really take place until the 1950s. Which is why I’m so grateful to have been born when I was or else I might never have gone to UCLA or played in the NBA. It’s easy for some to look at the number of Black athletes participating in March Madness and think the job of seeking racial equality is done. It’s not. But watching them play inspires us to make sure we keep pushing to make sure that level of equality can be achieved in other fields, like STEM careers or even sports team owners.
Rant is over. Now you can enjoy some of my picks for this week’s Weekend Boost.
Based on a video game that’s actually a lot of fun, Uncharted is an old-fashioned buddy-adventure with dashing heroes and dastardly villains. And it is throughly enjoyable. The banter between Mark Wahlberg and Tom Holland is witty and funny. The exotic settings are beautiful and it has a fast-paced, over-the-top Indiana Jones vibe. Lots of athletic action from Holland as he leaps, dives, and punches his way through some very scary scenes. The scene where he has to fight on cargo crates hanging from a plane is especially thrilling.
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A Prayer for Lester Bowie by David Sanford Big Band
When I listen to this album I get the feeling that it’s a soundtrack to a cool movie I wish I were starring in (but in which Denzel got the part because he looks cooler in a fedora). Each song has its own mood, its own approach. Some songs are energetic, like “popit",” some are homages to big bands, like “Dizzy Atmosphere,” and others have an avant garde edge, like “V-Reel.” You don’t just listen to this album, you inhabit it.
Here’s what Sanford said about his approach: “The tracks of A Prayer For Lester Bowie were recorded live in the studio. Even before the pandemic limited us all to Zoom recordings from our apartments and bedrooms, I’ve been in love with the sound of a band with a microphone hanging in the middle of the room. Obviously, this wasn’t made quite that simply, but I really wanted the recording to sound like hearing a band in person, with that raw edge of the brass cutting through, the drums veering toward over-powering, the sense that soloists could be swallowed up at any minute. I was talking with someone about the appealing ‘grit’ of older – specifically early- to mid-1970s – movie soundtracks. That’s the aesthetic I grew up with that made me want to create my own music in the first place. You can still find it live, but rarely in the studio. I love luxuriating in the sound of brass, saxophones, electric guitar, bass, drums, etcetera all in a room.”
Get album here.