The Big Unkle

Jazz Funk Fuzion

African American Music Appreciation Month

On May 31st President Obama declared June African American Music Appreciation Month. This may not be news to you. Although Jimmy Carter declared June 1979 as "Black Music Month" Barack wanted to be P.C, so he renamed it "African American Music Appreciation Month" Check out his proclamation below:

 A vital part of our Nation’s proud heritage, African-American music exemplifies the creative spirit at the heart of American identity and is among the most innovative and powerful art the world has ever known. It accompanies us in our daily lives, and it has rung out at turning points in our history and demonstrated how our achievements as a culture go hand-in-hand with our progress as a Nation. During African-American Music Appreciation Month, we honor the artists who, through this music, bring us together, show us a true reflection of ourselves, and inspire us to reach for the harmony that lies beyond our toughest struggles. 

Songs by African-American musicians span the breadth of the human experience and resonate in every corner of our Nation - animating our bodies, stimulating our imaginations, and nourishing our souls. In the ways they transform real stories about real people into art, these artists speak to universal human emotion and the restlessness that stirs within us all. African-American music helps us imagine a better world, and it offers hope that we will get there together. 

This month, we celebrate the music that reminds us that our growth as a Nation and as people is reflected in our capacity to create great works of art. Let us recognize the performers behind this incredible music, which has compelled us to stand up - to dance, to express our faith through song, to march against injustice, and to defend our country’s enduring promise of freedom and opportunity for all. 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2016 as African-American Music Appreciation Month. I call upon public officials, educators, and all the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate activities and programs that raise awareness and foster appreciation of music that is composed, arranged, or performed by African Americans. 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth. 


It's no secret that African American Music has influenced everyone connected to The Big Unkle. From the band members to our spouses and even our Social Media Manager! In celebration of this month, here's a mix of some of our favorite artists. 


We'll miss you Maurice


We're saddened by the loss of Maurice White. Founder + Leader of Earth, Wind & Fire who passed today at 74. 

Earth, Wind & Fire drew inspiration from funk, jazz, R&B and Latin music – along with Sly Stone and James Brown.  They set the tone for soul music in the Seventies. One of their biggest hits was Shining Star," which White co-wrote, got them their first Number One. Rolling Stone included the group's smooth 1975 single, "That's the Way of the World," on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

 Earth, Wind & Fire won six Grammys over the course of their career. In 2000, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

We'll miss you Maurice! 


Happy Birthday Etta James!!

One of the most smooth vocalists we know, Miss Etta James was born today in LA in 1938. Most known for hits such as “At Last,” “I’d Rather Go Blind,” “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” and “Tell Mama” she crossed many genres including blues, R&B, soul, rock and roll, jazz + gospel. Here's one of the funkiest collaborations we could find. From The 1982 Grateful Dead NYE show, here's Etta doing her thing. Enjoy the full half hour encore!


Happy Birthday Paul Butterfield

Paul Butterfield known best for his group "Paul Butterfield Blues Band" recorded several successful albums and were a popular fixture on the late-1960s concert and festival circuit. He was the only performer to play The Monterey Pop Festival in '67, Woodstock in '69 and The Last Waltz '76.

They became known for combining electric Chicago blues with a rock urgency as well as their pioneering Jazz fusion performances. After the breakup of the group in 1971, Butterfield continued to tour and record in a variety of settings, including with his mentor Muddy Waters, and members of the group The Band.