Sunday, July 26, 2020

Dolphin Dance

As more than 500,000 hip-hop fans watched Snoop Dogg perform “Doggy Dogg World” in a rap battle with DMX on Instagram on Wednesday, July 22, a dozen viewers enjoyed OJT’s rendition of “Take the Three” on a Facebook stream from the Kansas City jazz venue Black Dolphin.  The staggeringly divergent numbers don’t tell the whole story.  The simultaneous free live broadcasts offered wildly different experiences not limited to the immense chasm separating confrontational popular music and comforting old-school organ jazz.

As with all Verzuz broadcasts, the static shot of the rappers was plastered with advertisements and scrolling comments from celebrity wellwishers like Keyshia Cole, J Balvin and Method Man.  The comparatively clean Black Dolphin streams feature multiple camera angles managed by a producer attuned to the band’s grooves.  The club’s signature mood lighting enhances the music.

Snoop and DMX rapped over pre-recorded backing tracks.  Fans of the genre are accustomed to tinny sound fields.   The majority of quarantine-era free livestreams of jazz performances also sound terrible.  While I regularly tune in to catch big names like Cyrus Chestnut and Nicholas Payton, I’m rarely impressed by the technical components of the offerings.   The production values of Black Dolphin’s efforts are superior.  The crisp fidelity is matched by excellent visuals.  Don’t just take my word for it.  See and hear for yourself.  While I choose not to live that lifestyle, Black Dolphin welcomes patrons at its live presentations.  Feel free to give me a wave.

(Screenshot of Black Dolphin livestream by Plastic Sax.)

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