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KUNM to feature spoken word artist Justin Bailey

UNM student hits airwaves to promote `The Primatives'

KUNM will feature local spoken word artist Justin Bailey and his new album release, The Primatives, tonight in a half-hour interview with Cynthia Hern†ndez.

Bailey is a UNM student and lyricist of many media, including plays and folk and country music. He was introduced to the idea of using his talents for spoken word when Mike Dillon, who received a degree in jazz bass from the California Institute of Arts in Santa Clarita Valley, asked Bailey to accompany him for part of a gig he was doing at a cafÇ in Taos, N.M., where Bailey and Dillon grew up.

"We were sort of bonded as siblings in a way, which is alluded to in `The Little Miracle,' and I performed for about 20 minutes of Mike's gig and people really responded positively to what I did," Bailey said.

The Primatives, which consists of 17 improvisational spoken word tracks featuring Bailey as the lead vocalist, took three years to make. Seven musicians, Omar Rane, Jason Weisfeld, Jack Wilson, Mike Dillon, Christian Mayer, Matt Wasowski and Blake from L.A., provide back-up to Bailey's free-style poetry with a jazzy and occasionally mellow instrumentation.

"I show up to the studio with notebooks and manuscripts of my writing, a mood is set and I go off, improving and making stuff up as I go," Bailey said.

The project started in 1998 when Rane, a jazz musician who met Bailey at a gig in Taos, invited Bailey and Dillon to his recording studio in Carson, N.M., to lay down a few tracks for free.

"I was flat broke, working construction," Bailey said. "The fact that there was a studio that would record me performing my poetry for nothing was a godsend."

Bailey recalls being "blown away" while listening to the playbacks of the five tracks after the session was over.

"I remember saying, `I'm gonna put this out. I'm gonna put this out,'" Bailey said.

The tracks from the first session, "The Little Miracle," "Mexico Country," "Mexico City," "Quick Shots" and "It's Alright," would remain idle for a few months before Rane's 8-track ADAT recording equipment was put to use in another session - this time with Christian Mayer on the didgeridoo and Blake from L.A., who Rane said was a former percussionist for Santana.

"He was a really good hand-drummer," Bailey said. "I don't know if he played for Santana or not. He had his heart broken in Taos and ran back to L.A. without telling anyone what his last name was."

The three sessions that followed were completed last year with Taos-based drummer Jason Weisfeld and electric bassist Jack Wilson at Rane's new state-of-the-art studio in Taos.

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Bailey said his influences are Amiri Bakara and Jack Kerouac.

"And of course I was exposed to the Beat Poets, because it's kind of hard to do something like this and avoid them," he said.

The Primatives is available for $13 at Natural Sound music store, at 3422 Central Ave., SE 87106.

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