Thursday, October 8, 2009

New Book by Clive Stevens + Drummer Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez

Hello, Friends!

Ever since moving to NYC in '76, I've always considered myself a New Yorker. And, face it - being a New Yorker is really more about a certain attitude and manner of thinking and living, rather than simply an identification with having, by chance, being born there! I many New Yorkers are actually native-born in Manhattan or any of the other boroughs? Truly the capital of the world, it's vibe and energy adopt those who move there to make a difference in their own lives as well as to leave their mark on the culture of our blue and green globe.

Yet, alongside of this love for the Empire State, I have always considered myself to be a planetary citizen. I can't remember when I began to answer the question of, "Where are you from, man?", with a response that always went more or less like, "Well, I'm from New York, although I was born in D.C. and raised in Puerto Rico...but, who knows where I'll die, so actually, I'm from Planet Earth!"

There's one cat, however, whom I've known for years and consider family (he was actually married for a long time to a cousin of mine!), who I've always considered to think and exist in a plane beyond the constraints of our planetary dimensions, as they are conventionally understood by most people. This "undiscovered" Renaissance man that I would like to make mention of is the British-born composer / musician / producer / spoken-word artist / poet who most often goes by the name of Clive Stevens.

Part of the NYC east-side underground music scene during the 80's with a raw but sophisticated band he christened as "Brainchild", Clive has been consistently composing and releasing his own musical product for decades. And, for all of his artistic uniqueness / eccentricity, the highest caliber of musicians have always gravitated to his side, seeking to collaborate and/or participate in Clive's projects...and I'm talking about cats such as Steve Gaboury, Tony "Thunder" Smith, Lincoln Goines, Billy Cobham, TM Stevens, Mino Chinelu, Roy Venkataraman, Kenia, Teruo Nakamura, and many more! I feel lucky to have participated on his CD, "Language of Secret Hearts", which has been previously featured on this blog!

Clive Stevens in Rio de Janeiro
Photo: Alexandre Campos

But, I mention Clive, at this moment, in order to bring to attention his latest release of a new book of poems titled, "Stardust Transmissions", which is available on

Stardust Transmissions Cover

Here are some of the reviews that Clive's poetry book has received on Amazon....

5.0 out of 5 stars A true bohemian spirit, June 27, 2009
By Rachel
I love this book! It's a compendium of poems, lyrics and experiences expressed freely by Clive Stevens. Clive is old-fashioned in that he is a romantic whose sentimentality is never treacly, always from the heart. Simultaneously, he is beyond modern: he is futuristic. This world traveler and lover of life has a world vision that goes beyond globalism out into the galaxy... Sometimes earthy, sometimes classic and sometimes with all the cosmic love of a raver on ecstasy, Clive Stevens definitely has his own voice. He has gathered together the experiences of a fascinating life and thrown them all up into words of beauty.

5.0 out of 5 stars Protean, June 17, 2009
By Ronald J. Boocock (New York NY)
Clive Stevens is unique. He will change his shape and answer only to someone who is capable of capturing him.
He has a universal way of describing the interactions and interrelations of the natural forces that occur in the world and beyond. His poetry is forceful, yet the tenderest of all. It must be read.

And, while I could talk about Clive's music for a long time, I'd rather post one of his videos and just let you soak it in and enjoy the entire experience.

And, of course..........MORE DRUMS!!!

This precious clip is from the movie, "Calle 54", a film directed by Spain's oscar-winning director, Fernando Trueba. Featured here is the badass trio led by pianist Michel Camilo, which includes Anthony Jackson on electric bass and Horacio"El Negro" Hernandez on drums. In my opinion, this is the most polished performance in the movie for, as you will easily see, the level of musical execution is beyond outstanding! Each one of these cats has mastered their instrument to the point of breaking new ground and creating a new definition as to what is artistically possible...all the while grooving hard....digging in....and radiating pure bliss!

Check out Horacio "El Negro's" multi-dextrous independence in his drumming! After years of religiously shedding 8 hours per day, he effortlessly divides the rational side of his brain into four parts, being able to express (at least) four different rhythmic and melodic manifestations simultaneously, each emanating from a different extension of his body. And it's become so effortless that he`s able to consciously enjoy his own musicality as well as enjoy the music and love that his bandmates are broadcasting, as well. As a drummer, I can`t tell you enough how beautiful this pure musical communion is...!

The joy is excitingly contagious.... I just now relaxed, sat back and enjoyed this performance once again.... and, my whole body is covered in goose-bumps!

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