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Randall Grass

Randall Grass

Randall Grass has been involved with music for more than three decades as a musician, journalist, radio show host and record company executive.

As General Manager and A&R head of Shanachie Entertainment he has worked with such artists as Rita Marley, Culture, Leela James, Angie Stone, Third World, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, the Skatalites, Sonny Fortune, Lucky Dube, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Bunny Wailer, Soweto Gospel Choir and many others. As radio show host, he created and presented the "Roots, Rock, Reggae" and "World Beat Dance Party" shows on WXPN-FM in Philadelphia from 1979-1991.

As a journalist he has written about music, especially reggae music, R & B, world music and jazz for such publications as the Village Voice, Spin Magazine, The Beat, Musician, Downbeat, The Philadelphia Inquirer and many more; he was also a contributor to the books Reggae International, The Rolling Stone Record Guide, The Alternative Papers and Reggae, Rasta & Revolution. His book Great Spirits: Portraits Of Life-Changing World Music Artists, published in 2009 by University Press Of Mississippi, profiles such artists as Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Nina Simone, Sun Ra, Bob Marley, Augustus Pablo and others.

As a musician, he has performed with bands in American and Africa; he has performed with the Philadelphia-based band Philly Gumbo, which mixes New Orleans R & B, reggae, funk and blues. As a commentator or guest he has appeared on NPR's Fresh Air, PBS's the McNeil Lehrer Report, MTV's Liner Notes, CNN and various regional radio and television outlets. He was a contributor to the nationally syndicated radio shows Artbeat and Crossroads. His wide-ranging musical sensibilities have been informed by his travel or sojourns in more than thirty countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean and Latin America.

8 articles

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Fela Kuti: Fela: Return of the Afrobeat Rebel

Profile by Randall Grass, Musician, October 1983

KANO, NIGERIA, 1974: Sitting in the midst of a spacious, immaculate patio surrounded by manicured shrubbery and the graceful curved stone-and-glass walls of a post-modern restaurant, ...

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band: New Orleans' Revenge

Profile and Interview by Randall Grass, Musician, April 1984

PROPELLED BY a polyrhythmic shuffle from drums, the hot, festive chorus of horns danced into muggy night air through the open doors of Tipitina's down ...

Fela Kuti: Fela Anikulapo-Kuti: Live In Amsterdam (Capitol); Perambulator (Lagos international)

Review by Randall Grass, Musician, January 1985

NIGERIA'S FELA Anikulapo-Kuti was the presumed messiah to break African pop internationally, just as Bob Marley had broken reggae. He sings in comprehensible pidgin English. ...

Fela Kuti: Fela: Rebel On Ice

Special Feature by Randall Grass, Spin, May 1985

The King of Afrobeat enjoyed a reign of sex, hemp, jazz and rock 'n' roll — then the empire struck back, trumping up charges to ...

Fishbone: Fishbone (Columbia)

Review by Randall Grass, Spin, July 1985

THIS NEW Fishbone record has a great set of titles: 'Ugly', 'Another Generation', 'Party at Ground Zero', 'Lyin' Ass Bitch', 'V.T.T.L.O.T.RD.G.R.', and '?'. Now, any ...

Teddy Pendergrass: Workin' It Back (Asylum)

Review by Randall Grass, Spin, January 1986

ONCE, IN church, the lady next to me, looking plain and 30 and man-less, felt the rapture so powerfully that she made Jesus her lover, ...

Fela Kuti: Fela Freed!

Interview by Randall Grass, Spin, July 1986

Nigerian authorities thought 18 months in jail might silence the rebel king of sex, hemp, and Afrobeat. They were wrong. ...

Eric B & Rakim, Masters of Ceremony, Salt-N-Pepa, Stetsasonic: New albums from Stetsasonic, Masters Of Ceremony, Eric B. & Rakim and Salt 'N' Pepa

Review by Randall Grass, Musician, October 1988

Stetsasonic: In Full Gear (Tommy Boy); Masters Of Ceremony: Dynamite (4th & Broadway); Eric B. & Rakim: Follow the Leader (UNI); Salt 'N' Pepa: <i>A ...

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