(BPRW) R&B Trailblazer Who Produced hit, “Juicy Fruit” Passes Absent at 76
(Black PR Wire) James Mtume, an R&B legend whose 1983 hit, “Juicy Fruit,” returned to the charts a ten years afterwards as #1 one of rap legend Infamous B.I.G.’s “Juicy,” died on Jan. nine. He was 76. His demise was verified by his publicist, Angelo Ellerbee.
Mtume’s musical genius ranged from disco to jazz, and in all places in amongst. Not to mention his extraordinary compositions for television (“New York Undercover”) and movie (“Native Son”). “Juicy Fruit,” the major hit from his self-titled R&B team, has been sampled a great number of moments, most famously on Infamous B.I.G.’s vintage “Juicy.” Mtume also developed and co-wrote hit singles for Stephanie Mills (“Never Knew Really like Like This Before”) and Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway (“The Nearer I get To You”) in collaboration with his musical partner and fellow Davis alum Reggie Lucas.
Mtume was born in the city of brotherly adore, Philadelphia, as the son of saxophonist Jimmy Heath. Lifted by his stepfather, Philly jazz pianist James Forman, the young musician grew up with activist roots (he observed Malcolm X converse as a little one) and moved to California in the mid-‘60s on a swimming scholarship. There, he joined the Black empowerment team, the U.S. Corporation (whose founder, Maulana Karenga produced the holiday Kwanzaa), and recorded his earliest solo albums beginning with “Alkebu-Lan – Land of the Blacks.”
According to NPR, just after returning to the East Coastline, Mtume (whose name interprets as “messenger” in Swahili), played with jazz band leaders these kinds of as McCoy Tyner and Freddie Hubbard as effectively as recording with his uncle, Albert “Tootie” Heath on the “Kawaida” album. Close to this time Mtume joined Miles Davis’ band for a four-calendar year stint that bundled some of the jazz legend’s most adventurous substance, together with “Dark Magus” and “Pangaea.”
In his 1989 autobiography, Miles, Davis noted Mtume’s impact on the heartbeat of his band: “With Mtume Heath and Pete Cosey becoming a member of us, most of the European sensibilities ended up 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 individual solos.”
In 1978, next dozens of jazz classes, Mtume shaped his self-named “sophistifunk” R&B-jazz ensemble with Lucas and vocalist Tawatha Agee, releasing the albums “Kiss This Entire world Goodbye” (1978).
Following 1980’s In Look for of the Rainbow Seekers, the band released 1983’s Juicy Fruit. The title monitor turned the band’s major hit, and it was famously sampled on the Infamous B.I.G.’s “Juicy.” The band adopted it with two much more albums: 1984’s You, Me and He which spawned yet another hit report and 1986’s Theater of the Thoughts.
Mtume was afterwards credited on tunes by Mary J. Blige, R. Kelly, and K-Ci and Jo-Jo. Mtume turned a radio character for new York City’s KISS 98.seven FM. In 2019, he gave a TED Speak titled “Our Frequent Floor in Songs.”
Pursuing the information of his demise, Mtume was mourned on social media by the artists who beloved his music, together with Gangstarr’s DJ Premier, Talib Kweli and
other folks. “Thank you James Mtume for all the wisdom & adore & regard you have demonstrated me & my brothers above the decades,” Questlove wrote.
“Rest In Ability to the excellent James Mtume,” Philadelphia DJ Cosmo Baker wrote on Twitter. “The South Philly indigenous & prodigal son, Jazz ROYALTY (the son of the excellent Jimmy Heath) and music trailblazer & pioneer. His passing is actually a monumental reduction.”
“Rest In Peace to the legendary James Mtume,” added Guess host Marc Lamont Hill. “Thank you for sharing your huge gifts with us for so long…”
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