Many of us feel pain after hearing the news of Earth Wind and Fire co-founder Maurice White’s return to the Creator. The emotional outflow has been all over social media since last night, and for good reason.
Through EW&F, Maurice help to build an African-inflected, multi-genre sound that extended across astral, diasporic, rhythmic and poetic planes simultaneously, and this unique convergence informed the center of many people’s personal music soundtracks.
No one heard this kind of music before the EW&F’s arrival, and it’s likely no one ever will ever duplicate the group’s aeaeae. It’s only fitting to use such a unique word to describe EW&F, and we have White to thank for his beautiful contributions.
To those of you who can only think of EW&F as an R&B band, you may want to watch this video of the group’s January 10, 1973 live performance on the highly revered Soul! television show hosted by the late Jerry Bledsoe. The group’s set demonstrates how the group can be one and many things all at once. The explosive power of the bars played had the polish of arrangement to dispel any notion that these young men at the time were simply making noise. It’s amazing how the audience remained in their seats.
I extend ridiculous Love to my friend Cedric Nuff-Ced for sharing this footage on social media, and ultimate Love to PBS for archiving this document of the group’s incendiary early years …