The Music and Life of Bob Marley Class
Matt Jenson, assistant professor of piano at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA has created a class entitled “The Music and Life of Bob Marley” takes an in-depth study of his life, maintaining the utmost respect for the soulfulness of his music and for his message of LOVE and resistance to oppression.
Find out where the ensemble is performing here: SCHEDULE
The story of Bob Marley’s life, despite the many contradictions and hard to understand realities that surrounded him, can be seen as one of a true modern day sage who remained committed to his vision of raising consciousness through music. His music is so powerful and expansive that it transcends the very idiom from which it came because it has the ability to communicate regardless of language, race, gender, religion or nationalistic boundaries. The recordings and performances of Bob Marley and his band represent near perfection in terms of groove music and spirit-ful production. Rhythmic layering, one of the legacies of the African musical Diaspora, is presented in such gritty precision that its study is imperative and a great joy to experience.
This one semester class at Berklee consists of 15 auditioned singers and instrumentalists who come from around the world! In a lecture-demonstration format, Matt takes the students on a biographical tour of Marley’s fascinating life, and then rigorously coaches the ensemble as they prepare for performances.
Aided by inspiring audio / video examples, students learn about the evolution of Marley’s career and the socio-political circumstances from which his music and ideas arose. Students also learn the discipline of playing reggae music in a large ensemble where the emphasis is on working together as they layer specific rhythmic and melodic parts. Matt has written meticulous arrangements taken directly from Marley recordings and include some additional horn parts, some subtle reharmonizations and some new introductions and endings.
Ultimately, students take from this class a deeper understanding of Marley’s life, of how to play reggae music, a greater understanding of the inner workings of great pop song writing, a broader understanding of both current and historical global and local politics, and a notion to think seriously, through Marley’s example, about what it is they are saying with their own musical talents.
Matt also offers the class in a customizable format ranging from a three day to one week long intensive. Contact Matt to find out more.
The repertoire includes some of Marley’s bigger hits but also moves into some of his lesser-known works: Trench Town Rock, Could You Be Loved, Waiting In Vain, Get Up Stand Up, Work, So Much Trouble in the World, Kinky Reggae, Positive Vibration, Rebel Music, Wake Up and Live, Rastaman Chant, Dem Belly Full, Craven Choke Puppy, Heathen, Lively Up Yourself, Rat Race, Chant Down Babylon, Exodus, Slave Driver, Roots Rock Reggae, Crazy Baldhead, Turn Your Lights Down Low, So Much Things to Say, Misty Morning,
Check out this student produced video documentary about the ensemble performing at the 2011 Charlemont Reggae Festival. (Thanks to Sara Pagiaro for this work!)