It’s the NFC Championship game on the 22nd Jan 2017 between the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers. As traditional before a sporting event in the US, the national anthem was performed. This was a special one with saxophonist Mike Phillips stealing the show before the opening kickoff. 0
Hear how he uses the blues scale at 0:44 add a different ‘flavour’ to the anthem. He doesn’t play the anthem in strict time but instead emphasises different parts of the melody (0:37 for example) by adding extra notes and using particular saxophone techniques. He builds the anthem at 1:06 and uses a technique called circular breathing to extended the note on the word ‘free’. One of the reasons Mike Phillips’ version is so special is because you can hear that this is his clear interpretation of it. He isn’t trying to copy anyone else. He’s played with the late great Prince,  Stevie Wonder and countless other superstars but always retains his unique sound and energy.
National anthems, hymns or other songs with deep meaning do not have to be played in a solemn or sombre way. By watching this video and others like it, children can begin to understand that any song can be interpreted by a performer in any way, and like Mike Phillips demonstrated, if you can do this well, people will remember it forever.

Go Falcons!!

Reblogged from www.nateholdermusic.com



Jim Brown


Jim Brown (17th Feb 1939 – )

Jim Brown is best known for his 9 year stint playing Fullback for the Cleveland Browns, in which he set numerous records. In addition to being selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971, he was also elected to the Lacrosse and College Hall of Fame. His list of accolades is staggering, including being a 9x Pro Bowl selection, 4 time NFL MVP, and having his number #32 jersey retired by the Browns. Even though he retired in 1965, he still holds NFL and Cleveland Brown records, including never missing a game for his whole career. As Richard Pryor once said, ‘Now they got m***********s that get hurt in practice’. Richard Pryor often spoke about Jim Brown being one of the people who was there for him during his darkest days being addicted to drugs.

Brown appears in many movies including 100 Rifles alongside Burt Reynolds, which was one of the first films to feature an interracial love scene. He also appears in Mars Attacks!, Any Given Sunday, and The Dirty Dozen. He was also the subject of a movie by Spike Lee entitled Jim Brown: All-American.

Brown was on the of the first and most successful Black NFL stars but didn’t shy away from the issues of race in the 1960’s. He helped to develop the BEU (Black Economic Union) and organised a summit, held in 1964 of some of the top Black Athletes, promoters. He, along with Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, stood behind Muhammad Alis refusal to fight in Vietnam. Brown formed a strong bond between himself, Ali, Sam Cooke and Malcolm X during the 1960’s, before Malcolm and Cooke were assassinated and killed in suspicious circumstances respectively.

First row - Bill Russell, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul Jabbar

First row – Bill Russell, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul Jabbar

When watching Jim Browns game tape, you see a Black athlete, running through defensive lines with strength and purpose – a fitting metaphor for his strength and purpose during the African-American Civil Rights movement.


The Rooney Rule

The Black athlete has often times been the first to break colour lines, with the Brooklyn Dodgers starting Jackie Robinson on first base in 1947, to Jesse Owens’ feat in the 1938 Olympics in Munich. The physical prowess of the Black athlete has never been in question, but it took a long time for the Black intellect to be recognised in sport.

Dan Rooney & Mike Tomlin

Dan Rooney & Mike Tomlin

Rooney Rule – since 2003

The Rooney Rule was established in 2003 for the NFL, and states that teams must interview a minority candidate for a head coaching or senior footballing operations job. Even though Black athletes make up about 60% of the total athletes in the NFL, at the time of the Rooney Rule, there were only 2 Black head coaches (the NFL consists of 32 teams). In 2006, the overall percentage had jumped from 6% to 22%. Currently, it stands at 12.5% which compared favorably to the 12.4% of total African-Americans in the US. It could well be more, but as long as Black athletes keep beating their wives, kids and can’t stay Off the Weed, the sterotypes and prejudices will remain.

In England many people like Paul Ince and Chris Powell are calling for the Rooney Rule, as it seems that even though there are qualified coaches and managers with eperience, they aren’t being considered for the top jobs. Or maybe there aren’t so many potential Black managers out there. Many like Chris Kamara, Stan Collymore and Robbie Earl choosing to become TV personalities and pundits. Do they do that because they know their chances are slim? Or is the small number attributed to better oppurtunities?

Perhaps the implementation of the Rooney Rule can stop someone like John Terry getting a coaching job one day. God forbid.