Monday, August 11, 2008
The Man Who Defined "Cool"
Isaac Hayes was the epitome of cool. It wasn't just his deep sexy baritone, his brilliant musical compositions, the magnificent "Shaft", the fact that he was the first African American Composer to win an Oscar for Best Musical Score or even the fact that he was a King in Ghana. It was more than all that.
Some people are tall, some are small, some are happy, some sad, but Isaac was cool. I saw him perform a few years ago with a large band. There were guitarists, drummers, horn players, saxophonists and more. They were all great musicians. They had played several numbers with other performers and the audience had enjoyed the performances, but when Isaac stepped onto the stage they all became cool.
The horn players stood differently, more relaxed, more laid-back, more ... cool. It was the same with all the rest: the way the guitarist strummed, the rythm that suddenly began to come out of the drums, the way the backing vocalists swayed as they sang into their microphones - they were all just so darn cool.
And when they played "Shaft" and Isaac conducted, we in the audience began to feel cool too. It was infectious!
So, to summarize, Isaac Hayes was cool incarnate.
He left his body yesterday and to those of us who believe in the existence of the human spirit, we know that although his body has stopped funtioning, Isaac is not gone. So we wait in eager anticipation for the cool to return.