(BPRW) R&B Trailblazer Who Produced strike, “Juicy Fruit” Passes Away at 76
(Black PR Wire) James Mtume, an R&B legend whose 1983 strike, “Juicy Fruit,” returned to the charts a decade afterwards as #one single of rap legend Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy,” died on Jan. nine. He was 76. His death was confirmed by his publicist, Angelo Ellerbee.
Mtume’s musical genius ranged from disco to jazz, and all over the place in among. Not to mention his extraordinary compositions for tv (“New York Undercover”) and film (“Native Son”). “Juicy Fruit,” the most significant strike from his self-titled R&B group, has been sampled many occasions, most famously on Notorious B.I.G.’s typical “Juicy.” Mtume also developed and co-wrote strike singles for Stephanie Mills (“Never Knew Enjoy Like This Before”) and Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway (“The Nearer I get To You”) in collaboration with his musical spouse and fellow Davis alum Reggie Lucas.
Mtume was born in the metropolis of brotherly love, Philadelphia, as the son of saxophonist Jimmy Heath. Elevated by his stepfather, Philly jazz pianist James Forman, the young musician grew up with activist roots (he noticed Malcolm X communicate as a baby) and moved to California in the mid-‘60s on a swimming scholarship. There, he joined the Black empowerment group, the U.S. Business (whose founder, Maulana Karenga designed the getaway Kwanzaa), and recorded his earliest solo albums starting off with “Alkebu-Lan – Land of the Blacks.”
In accordance to NPR, right after returning to the East Coastline, Mtume (whose name translates as “messenger” in Swahili), performed with jazz band leaders this kind of as McCoy Tyner and Freddie Hubbard as effectively as recording with his uncle, Albert “Tootie” Heath on the “Kawaida” album. All around this time Mtume joined Miles Davis’ band for a four-yr stint that integrated some of the jazz legend’s most adventurous materials, such as “Dark Magus” and “Pangaea.”
In his 1989 autobiography, Miles, Davis observed Mtume’s effect on the heartbeat of his band: “With Mtume Heath and Pete Cosey becoming a member of us, most of the European sensibilities had been long gone from the band. Now the band settled down into a deep African thing, a deep African-American groove, with a lot of emphasis on drums and rhythm, and not on unique solos.”
In 1978, following dozens of jazz periods, Mtume fashioned his self-named “sophistifunk” R&B-jazz ensemble with Lucas and vocalist Tawatha Agee, releasing the albums “Kiss This Entire world Goodbye” (1978).
After 1980’s In Lookup of the Rainbow Seekers, the band unveiled 1983’s Juicy Fruit. The title keep track of became the band’s most significant strike, and it was famously sampled on the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy.” The band followed it with two extra albums: 1984’s You, Me and He which spawned a different strike record and 1986’s Theater of the Brain.
Mtume was afterwards credited on tunes by Mary J. Blige, R. Kelly, and K-Ci and Jo-Jo. Mtume became a radio identity for new York City’s KISS 98.7 FM. In 2019, he gave a TED Converse titled “Our Popular Floor in Songs.”
Pursuing the news of his death, Mtume was mourned on social media by the artists who loved his tunes, such as Gangstarr’s DJ Leading, Talib Kweli and
other individuals. “Thank you James Mtume for all the wisdom & love & regard you have revealed me & my brothers above the years,” Questlove wrote.
“Rest In Energy to the wonderful James Mtume,” Philadelphia DJ Cosmo Baker wrote on Twitter. “The South Philly indigenous & prodigal son, Jazz ROYALTY (the son of the wonderful Jimmy Heath) and tunes trailblazer & pioneer. His passing is actually a monumental reduction.”
“Rest In Peace to the famous James Mtume,” added Bet host Marc Lamont Hill. “Thank you for sharing your large items with us for so long…”
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