Giant Step Presents Lee Fields and The Expressions, Fitz and The Tantrums, KING,
Saturday, June 25
Central Park SummerStage (Rumsey Playfield), New York NY
Summer is here, so once again it's time for our annual concert at Central Park SummerStage. This year we are going on the soul tip with performances from Lee Fields and The Expressions, Fitz and The Tantrums, DJ Rich Medina and, in their much anticipated New York City debut, KING will be joining the line-up, in place of previously announced Andreya Triana due to unexpected visa delays. It's a day that is all about music, friends, family and fun, kind of everything we love at Giant Step.
Over the years we have presented artists such as Femi Kuti, Lamb, Jamie Lidell, Janelle Monaé, Gilles Peterson, Q-Tip, Little Dragon, Chester French and Cinematic Orchestra. Last year was one of our best with live performances by Raphael Saadiq, Aloe Blacc, special guest TK Wonder w/ Moodswing Orchestra and DJ Vikter Duplaix.
As always, entrance is free and all ages are welcome.
Renowned throughout the global Funk community, Lee Fields has poured his grunts and screams over a legacy of funk and soul hits from the early seventies, including such 45 rpm classics such as "She's a Lovemaker", "The Bull is Coming", and "The Funky Screw", not to mention his well sought after "Let's Talk It Over" LP. This LP draws four digit bids from collectors worldwide. His recordings with the hard funk purists at TRUTH & SOUL, Desco, and Daptone Records in recent years has solidified his place as the King of contemporary funk music as well.
When Truth & Soul started as a record label in 2004, the first mission of label owners Jeff Silverman and Leon Michels, was to record a sweet soul record that would be modeled after the near perfect formula that bands like The Moments, The Delfonics, and The Stylistics had created. Michels and Silverman called in a few trusty associates, which included singer Lee Fields, and recorded the single "Do You Love Me" b/w "Honey Dove". What happened in the studio was pure magic and thus, The Expressions were born.
Since their first show at Hollywood's Hotel Café in December 2008, Fitz and The Tantrums have toured with Maroon 5, played to thousands at Colorado's world famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre, shared the stage New Year's Eve with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and performed on KCRW's esteemed show, Morning Becomes Eclectic. All this on the strength of their stellar five-song EP, Songs for a Breakup, Vol. 1.
Enter the Tantrums, Fitz's airtight ensemble keeping it real like it's 1969. Funky drummer John Wicks is a Motown B-side aficionado and prolific session player, Jeremy Ruzumna manned the keyboards for Macy Gray, while King and bassist Ethan Phillips backed De La Soul. Then there's Noelle Scaggs, the powerful voice behind Fitz's croons. Make no mistake, Scaggs is not just there for "doo-wops" and handclaps. She shimmies and flirts, she stokes the crowd and simmers them down, and she has no qualms about keeping Fitz in check. "She is not just a backup singer," Fitz says, "We have repartee. Onstage, we're Ike and Tina."
For some bands, it takes a lifetime to build this success, but few performers deliver an unrestrained blast of soul-clapping, get-down-on-the-floor, moneymaker shakers like Fitz and the Tantrums. Now with the release of their debut full length, Pickin' Up the Pieces [Dangerbird Records], the troupe is poised to get down in dancehalls across the universe.
KING are Paris and Amber Strother, and Anita Bias. Twins Paris and Amber began their musical journey by listening to favorites of their parents together from the crib, and once they were able to crawl found their way to the piano. Amber nurtured her gift for singing by absorbing everything musical around her, and in turn developed an intricate, magical tone and one-of-a-kind voice, as well as a unique skill for composition and songwriting. Through exploring a melting pot of artists, genres, musical ideas and movements, Paris found her own personal voice for the keys. The twins spent years unknowingly ripening their craft of writing together until they parted ways and left Minneapolis, with Amber to pursue studies in Chicago and Paris to enroll at music school in Boston.
A chance meeting with a young woman with a golden voice and incredible ear changed her life. Los Angeles native Anita Bias had fallen in love with music and art as a young girl, and spent years cultivating her voice, imaginative and vivid songwriting, and creative styling. Their Boston encounter stayed fresh in the minds of both, and when fate brought Paris to California and reunited them years later at a club in Los Angeles, they knew it was the start of something special.
During Amber's first trip to LA and the living room session that followed, the three realized that they were born to create together. At the first show of the unofficial and then-unnamed band, they, along with the audience, were said to have seen fireworks in the air. The unique blend of voices, engaging harmony, and detailed songwriting the group exhibited came completely naturally to them. Amber, who had been since moved back to Minneapolis, sent for her belongings. KING was born.
THE STORY EP is KING's debut project, wherein all songs are written by Paris, Amber, and Anita, and fully produced by Paris. "The Story", "Supernatrual", and "Hey" are the result of a year's worth of loving and learning, experiencing and experimenting, and ultimately finding the music within themselves.
There are few nightclub DJs that have accomplished as much on a global scale as Rich Medina. From his humble beginnings as a young b-boy-turned-DJ in Lakewood, NJ, to his current status manning the decks as one of the most popular DJs in Philadelphia NYC, Rich Medina has consistently taken multi-ethnic crowds on a sonic journey through hip-hop, house, Afrobeat, funk and soul, unearthing one musical gem after another, for almost 20 years.
Rich Medina cemented his name in the DJ world with his infamous 90's partnership with Cosmo Baker at The Remedy in Philadelphia. In 1998, his Fun party with DJ Language was part of turning the Lower East Side of Manhattan into the new hot spot for club life. Then came the mother lode, Lil' Ricky's Rib Shack, a weekly dance function that started out as a 20-person party at APT in 2001, and evolved into an irreplaceable mid-week NYC institution for over 8 years. There, he connected with fan and hip-hop legend Q-Tip in 2005, eventually combining forces to create the Friday night weekly called Open at the Andrew W.K.-owned Santos Party House in 2007, and was soon considered the hottest Friday night party in NYC for the next 2 years.
Never one to stop Medina keeps pushing forward creating classic parties in his wake. From the Jump N'Funk afrobeat dance party in 2001, to the Happy Feet party he threw with DJ Bobbito Garcia where they traded dance, salsa, and soul music at clubs all around the world all over the world music lovers know not to miss a club night when Rich Medina is manning the decks.