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NYC Summer 2010 Pt. III - Tools of War's Christie Z Talks About the True School NYC Summer Park Jam Series

Posted by Billyjam, July 1, 2010 02:04pm | Post a Comment
True School NYC Summer Park Jam, Week 1

Unlike California's seasonal changes, especially SoCal, where the shift from one season to another is relatively subtle, New York goes throuGrand Wizzard  Theodore gh dramatic extremes in the change from winter to summer. The East Coast's freezing cold winters are typically a period when you simply have to stay indoors much of the time and are so severe that by the time the polar opposite hot New York summer rolls around, everybody automatically rushes outside to spend as much time outdoors as possible.

In the late spring and summer New York City's streets and the parks come back to life, with cafes setting up on the sidewalks again and block parties, park concerts and events jumping off everywhere you wander in the NYC. And for hip-hop fans, especially appreciators of the old school, there is no shortage of outdoor events. Of all of these, the True School NYC Summer Park Jam Series is the ultimate annual must-attend event.

Now in its eight year, this Tools of War (TOW) produced free summer Park Jam series sets up stage at a few different NYC parks every Thursday evening, June through August. It's clearly a labor of love by TOW's Christie Z Pabon, who works along with a strong support group that includes her husband, legendary hip-hop Park Jam Tools of Warfigure Jorge FABEL Pabon, aka Popmaster Fabel. Long rooted and well connected within New York's hip-hop circles, TOW manages to enlist some amazing artists. Last Thursday I attended the Park Jam at East Harlem's White Park on 106th Street and got to see/hear many artists, including GrandMaster Caz of the legendary Cold Crush Brothers and DJ GrandWizzard Theodore -- the veteran Bronx DJ who created the scratch. As the classic breaks and hip-hop music boomed from the JBL speakers, b-boys, poppers and lockers got busy in a most entertaining and impromptu fashion. 

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NYC Summer 2010 Pt. II - SummerStage Brings New York City's Parks to Life with Free Concerts

Posted by Billyjam, June 30, 2010 03:11pm | Post a Comment
DJ Kool Herc
Considering hip-hop got its start during the 1970's in block parties and in various parks in the Bronx, it is more than fitting that the man credited with creating the genre, Jamaican transplant DJ Kool Herc, will be headlining this evening's free concert in Crotona Park in the Bronx. During the 70's and 80's many pioneering hip-hop figures performed at informal hip-hop jams and several scenes for the seminal hip-hop film Wild Style were filmed back at the park in the day. Tonight's show in the "Boogie Down" Bronx park is just one countless (mostly free) outdoor concerts in the wonderful SummerStage concert series produced by New York's City Parks Foundation. Each year in June, July, & August the foundation stages an impressive 100+ musically diverse concerts plus theater and dance performances in various parks in NYC's five boroughs: Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. Many days there are two or three events happening simultaneously in different parks & boroughs, so it is impossible to catch everything, but there are still oodles to choose from. This summer shows include acts such as The Specials, Public Enemy, EPMD, The Metropolitan Opera, Gil Scott Heron, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Jimmy Cliff, Pharoahe Monch, Doug E Fresh, and the two-day Charlie Parker Jazz Festival featuring such acts as James Moody, Jimmy Scott, and McCoy Tyner.

A few days ago I talked with DJ Kool Herc, who said that it is "a nice feeling" to be DJ'ing in Crotona Park in the Bronx again all these years later. And as for the music he will be spinning? "I'm playing music to reminisce [about] then and now, extremely then and extremely now." Herc emigrated to America from Jamaica and took the Jamaican sound system style of DJing with him to the Bronx, where essentially created hip-hop itself by being the first DJ to isolate the "breaks" parts of records and play two versions back to back to extend these "breaks." Of this pioneering act he says, "I'm like a shepherd. I'm watching my flock. I'm watching my audience, and I like to dance and I would notice that people who liked to dance would wait for particular parts of the record to come up and play before they would start to dance and I am always observing. So one day I thought I would put all these parts, these breaks, that I have together and I am going to call it the merry go round. All the good parts -- get right to the yolk and everybody just ranMcCoy Tyner with it."

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