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The Art of the LP Cover- Twin Towers

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, September 10, 2011 01:15pm | Post a Comment

Rakim, EPMD, Lord Finesse, Jazzy Jay, & Cold Crush Brothers Among Those Doing Free Concerts In NYC's Parks This Week

Posted by Billyjam, August 21, 2011 09:57am | Post a Comment
The summer ain't over yet. Still lots good stuff happening in NYC. And sure, New York City in the summer can endure some extreme and unpredictable weather shifts that can unleash some unbearably hot and humid weather or thunderstorms that come out of nowhere, but that's all part of what makes it New York in the summer. Another defining factor is the jaw-dropping amount of amazing & free outdoor cultural events, especially all the music concerts in the parks. Of these there is no shortage of hip-hop free shows by legends of the genre such as the free SummerStage show in Central Park today (Aug 21) featuring Rakim, EPMD, and DJ Funkmaster Flex or the free Digger's Delight park jam on Tuesday evening (Aug 23) in St Nicholas Park up in Harlem with hip-hop icons Lord Finesse, GrandMaster Caz, Jazzy Jay, and Red Alert. Then on Wednesday evening of this week (August 24), there is a free concert by highly-influential and legendary hip-hop act the Cold Crush Brothers who will be downtown Manhattan on the bandshell in the East River Park.

Today's free SummerStage show, which starts at 3pm and goes til about 7pm, should be a goodie since it features Rakim, who many have called the greatest emcee in the history of the genre. It is also the 25th anniversary of Eric B & Rakim’s iconic album, Paid in Full which is considered to be among the top ten greatest hip-hop album of all time. EPMD's debut album, Strictly Business, is another golden-era hip-hop classic that makes many best of lists, as does their follow up Unfinished Business.  Funkmaster Flex will DJ at the start of the day and throughout the afternoon for which it is likely special guests will stop by. Last summer, I caught Public Enemy in the same spot. Earlier this summer, I saw Brazilian rapper Marcelo D2 on the same Central Park stage. Also this summer, I made it to two park jams at Queensbridge Park (another legendary spot in hip-hop's formative years) to see concerts from both N.O.R.E. and Kool Moe Dee. Each was really good, especially Kool Moe Dee. Then two weeks ago, I trekked over to Tappen Park on Staten Island to catch the Sugarhill Gang. While disappointing overall due to the fact that they spent most of their set doing covers of other old school acts, it was worth it to hear them do "Rapper's Delight" and it was free! Like today's Rakim & EPMD show, these were all part of the public funded City Parks Foundation Summerstage Series, which puts on a wide array of shows in the parks of each NYC borough every summer.

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R.I.P. Willy DeVille

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, August 7, 2009 07:50pm | Post a Comment
willy deville
The former frontman of Mink Deville passed away yesterday from recently found pancreatic cancer; he was 55. Making his initial splash with Mink Deville during the mid/late 70's in the early days of the CBGB's scene. The band, like many of their contemporaries, got lumped in with the then-fashionable punk scene.  For Mink Deville this was especially ridiculous, as their whole schtick was about as far from the Dead Boys as you could get.

Their first LP, produced by Jack Nitzsche and called Cabretta, is an important piece of the late 70's NY puzzle. To me, it gives the listener a real street level glimpse of the time period that few other records from the era can match. Kill City by Iggy & James Williamson and Lou Reed's infamous ranting on Take No Prisoners cover similar bar sleaze territory, but Cabretta tempers all that with soothing background singers, classic pop songwriting and great percussion arrangements. Willie also brought to the mix a true believer's approach to mythmaking and storytelling that keeps songs such as "Venumink devilles of Ave. D" from falling into camp territory. I've spent many a drunken evening listening to him spin his street tough yarns on both Cabretta and its follow up, Return To Magenta, but I never acquired a taste for his more polished 80's & 90's work. "Spanish Stroll," featured on Cabretta, was a top 20 UK hit and his song "Miracles," featured in the Rob Reiner film the Princess Bride, was nominated for an Academy Award. Willy even performed it at the awards ceremony.  His live performances were legendary, pleading on his knees and pouring his soul into heartbreaking ballads.

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Chico Mann

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, June 28, 2009 01:59am | Post a Comment
Chico Mann, aka Marcos Garcia, has a new album. However, like many releases these days, it is only being released digitally. However, Amoeba Hollywood was fortunate enough to get a few CD copies of the tour edition of his latest release, Analog Drift Muy Esniqui, straight from the man himself.
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Analog Drift... recalls the days back in the 80's when musicians from the U.S. and England started listening to African and Cuba music. Artists such as The Talking Heads, Grace Jones, Hector Zazou and even Michael Jackson had elements of African music in some of their biggest hits. Chico Mann merges his love of funk and freestyle with Afro-Beat and Afro-Cuban music making this an infectious low-key dance record.

Part of this album's appeal is its marriage between lo-fi and hi-fi. On one hand we have Marco with the Casio and hand claps; then you have collaborators such as Victor Axelrod (better known as Ticklah), who is a highly sought remixer as well as a former member of Sharon Jones And The Dap-Kings and current keyboardist for Antibalas adding his thing to the mix. Also, the album is vocal rich, with Marco performing most of the vocal duties with help from Mayteana Morales (Akoya Afrobeat, The Pimps of Joytime) and Vinia Mojica, who sang back-ups on many classic 90’s Hip-Hop albums by artists such as A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Jungle Brothers, and last but not least, Mos Def and Talib Kweli.

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TECHNO IS BLACK!

Posted by Mike Battaglia, February 2, 2009 11:00am | Post a Comment
       Larry Levan at the Paradise Garage        Ron Hardy at the Music Box

Even five short years ago, many clubbers, ravers and dance music fans would be hard pressed to recognize the names Ron Hardy or Larry Levan (above, R-L), let alone acknowledge African American influence on the music they get freaky to on the weekends. Even in the black community, whole generations seem The legendary Paradise Garagecompletely oblivious to this part of their musical heritage. Thankfully, that's changing. With a renewed interest in disco, 80's uptempo R&B aka boogie, techno and early house music over the past few years, knowledge of dance music's history and the role blacks (and gays and latinos) played in its inception is growing. Nightclubs where the music was allowed to evolve, like Levan's Paradise Garage (right) in New York, Hardy's Music Box and Frankie Knuckles' Warehouse in Chicago (the latter being where the name House Music was coined) and Detroit's Music Institute remain legendary not because of the venues themselves or the people who owned them, but due to the DJ's who made those places immortal by performing an aural alchemy that transformed the American soundscape.

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