In our third edition of WHAT’S GOOD(?) we highlight Dan Wilkins: jazz artist, accomplished saxophonist, composer, bandleader, and educator. His influences range from Dexter Gordon to Pujyashri Deepakbhai Desai. Profile by Griffin Woodard.
If you were to see the titles Transfigured, Ebb and Flow, Of Distant Lands, Unraveled, and Soar, you might think you were about to read the treatises of a world explorer, Buddhist monk, or mystic poet. Although he may have certain qualities from each, Lehigh Valley, PA native Dan Wilkins is first and foremost a jazz artist; an accomplished saxophonist, composer, bandleader, and educator. His influences range from Dexter Gordon to Pujyashri Deepakbhai Desai, for example. Wilkins’ sound is like a breath of fresh, cold air which carries the distant majesty of ancient, candle-lit castles; his melodies speak like noble tales of warriors and pilgrims, ever on a journey.
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Hailing from Philadelphia, global DJ, cultural ambassador, and foodie (among many other hats), Skeme Richards has established himself as a connoisseur of cool for over 30 years. Whether it was with his former imprint Hot Peas & Butta or his new venture Nostalgia King, Skeme is known globally as a tastemaker with roots in hip-hop, martial arts, and blaxploitation films.
As someone who’s been involved in the culture for so long, Skeme’s natural ability to connect people has allowed him to take advantage of the changing landscape that’s come with the spread of the internet and social media. The self-proclaimed “pop culture preserver” says “I want to be the connector. In the past, I feel like different scenes were so segregated. I’m into 10 different things, so I want to connect people from those 10 different communities into one.”
With all of his ventures, his role as a DJ is still his bread and butter. For example, he recently spun at the Marvel and Netflix collaboration, Marvel’s Luke Cage, an event that brought together the worlds of hip-hop and blaxploitation style television. This is an extension of one of his most popular outlets, his all 45” vinyl parties originally known under Hot Peas & Butta.
SHAOLIN JAZZ (interview via Myk Blauuw) recently had a chance to talk to Skeme on his career and how he’s seen things change over the years, as well as his favorite burger (he recently started his hamburger reviews in a section, on his website Nostalgia King, called “The Drop – A Conversation Over Beef”) and the one record he’s still on the hunt for.
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