Throwback Thursday: Gangstarr & Masta Ace @ SOBs – Dec 17, 1990


Today, we continue with our new Throwback Thursday series! Join us as we dig into our archive of flyers to give you the lowdown on the get down from back in the day. In case you missed it, last week we covered a show with The Roots from 1994.

This week, Giant Step President and CEO Maurice Bernstein shares the background on a 1990 show with Gangstarr and Masta Ace in 1990.

That was Giant Step’s Christmas party. We started the Giant Step weekly club in September of 1990 on Mondays at SOBs with the resident DJ as DJ Smash. Occasionally Jazzy Nice played as well. And to be totally honest, it was not an instant hit at all. We kind of struggled through the fall and the early winter; A lot of times, we’d have more musicians on stage than we’d have people in the actual crowd.

We managed to get the opportunity through Gangstarr’s managers, Patrick Moxey and Neale Easterby. Patrick now runs Ultra Records and Neale is a successful manager in England. I knew those guys and we were very much into Gangstarr because of their music and their song “Jazz Thing” from Mo’ Better Blues. And they said, “Would you want to do a holiday show with Gangstarr, with Masta Ace opening?” Masta Ace was an artist they also managed.

So, we did the holiday show and it was the most crowded Giant Step had ever been. It was a fantastic, fantastic event. My biggest memory of Gangstarr was the size of the entourage they came in with, which must have been like, 50 people – Guru and Primo and Big Shug and Jeru The Damaja and all these other people. Those were days of blunts and forties.

It was an amazing show and it was also our opportunity to really expose more of a hip-hop leaning audience to the jazz-infused hip-hop we were doing at the club. I think we gained a larger awareness, but to be quite honest, it wasn’t like they were groovin’ on it immediately; because, you know, that sort of audience is very traditional in what they like. But it was good exposure and it was the first time we actually got the club in front of a lot of people.

That was also the last time we did Giant Step on a Monday at SOBs; in the beginning of the following year, 1991, we moved it to a different venue so we could get a Tuesday night.