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Monday, August 15, 2011

Weldon Irvine

Weldon Jonathan Irvine, Jr. (October 27, 1943 – April 9, 2002), also known Master Wel,was an American composer, playwright, poet, pianist and organist.

Irvine, an African American, was born in Hampton, Virginia on October 27, 1943. He moved to New York City in 1965. He was involved with various musical genres including Jazz-Funk, jazz, hip hop, funk, rhythm and blues, and gospel.He served as the bandleader for jazz singer Nina Simone and was a mentor to many New York hip-hop artists, including Q-Tip and Mos Def. He wrote over 500 songs, including the lyrics for "To Be Young, Gifted, and Black", performed live for the first time by Nina Simone on the album Black Gold (1970). It became the official Civil Rights anthem.
Irvine's last major project was The Price of Freedom (1999), a compilation of original songs by hip-hop, jazz, funk, and R&B artists to respond to the shooting of Amadou Diallo. Irvine committed suicide outside of EAB Plaza and in front of the Nassau Coliseum located in Uniondale, New York on April 9, 2002. The location was chosen because it was the offices of his record company who were in part responsible for his desperate financial situation through refusing to pay him an advance. In 2004, Madlib produced a tribute to Weldon Irvine, A Tribute to Brother Weldon.

As Leader

1972: Liberated Brother (Nodlew) 
1973: Time Capsule (Nodlew)
1974: Cosmic Vortex (Justice Divine) 
1974: In Harmony (Strata-East Records)
1975: Spirit Man (RCA)
1976: Sinbad (RCA) 
1979: The Sisters (Saucerman) 
1994: Music Is the Key (Luv N Haight)
1995: Keyboards Wild DJ's Smile (Tuff City Records)
1998: Embrace the Positive (Nodlew)
2000: The Amadou Project: The Price of Freedom (Nodlew)


As Sideman


zand said...

Vel_Kam!!! You pick up the singers great! As usually! You choice is always interesting and instructive! Thank You very much!

The Basement Rug said...

Check out my special post on The Amadou Project

azizi said...

Thanks for that information about Weldon Jonathan Irvine, Jr. (Master Wel). Before reading this post, I didn't know who wrote "To Be Young Gifted And Black".

That song still appears to be highly regarded and well known among African Americans. But I don't think its considered to be "the official Civil Rights anthemn). Actually, I don't think that there's any "official Civil Rights anthemn". But if there were one, it'd probably be "We Shall Overcome".

Vel_Kam said...

Tnx,The Basement Rug , for link.

verge said...

HEy, I finally recovered another copy of that Embrace The Positive LP and will rip it and leave a link here for yall hopefully within the next week or two, been real busy, sorry.

verge said...

Here's a song off it i put on youtube while ya waiting:

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