J Dilla Ensemble rehearsal
That’s right there is such a thing! Berklee College of Music has a new addition to its ensemble curriculum. It’s a class celebrating all things Dilla and it may have one of the coolest professors academia has ever seen. Former Berklee student, now teacher, Raydar Ellis started the J Dilla Ensemble last fall when he convinced the head of the department that if they trusted him to design the class of his choice they wouldn’t be sorry. Raydar kept his word by constructing the Dilla Ensemble and holding a recital at the end of the year that was swarming with not only students, but the general public and media galore. The special guest of the event was Mrs. Yancey aka MaDukes, Dilla’s mother, she was in the audience donning an “I (heart) Dilla” tee-shirt and beaming with pride.
Ok enough of the general speak… I was there, I was a part of it, and I will never forget it. It all started when a friend of mine in
Mrs. Yancey and I traveled to
The day of the recital was magical it was one of those days where everything went right (think this) I saw a Boston Phoenix article that read:
“Sporting an “I ♥ Dilla” T, Ma Dukes smiled through the whole set. Her sweet and flattered affect was a portrait in motherly pride. Marinating in her son’s rhythm might not compare with holding him tight, but it’s clear that Ma Dukes connects through hi-hats, bass lines, and horn smoke.I smile-cried through much of this. Between witnessing tender intricacies from Dilla’s gems materialize and watching Ma Dukes glow, I found the show to be at moments overwhelming — especially during the Tribe medley and the gloriously smooth rendition of the Pharcyde’s “Runnin’.”
I have to whole heartedly agree it was a bit of a spiritual experience. When the recital ended MaDukes did an intimate meet and greet and Q&A session with the students and guests. *Highlight of the night, as she was talking her phone rang with a loud booming Busta Ryhmes ringtone, to which she hurriedly switched it off and said in the softest, sweetest motherly voice “Opps sorry guys, how embarrassing… but Busta is my boy!”
The Dilla Ensemble is working on it’s recital for next year and rest assured you won’t want to miss it, there’s talks of Common, Badu, Mos Def, ?uestlove and more!
Enjoy this video of the performance!
For more info: www.Berklee.edu