Photo: Black Rock Coalition (Santana Retrospective Redux) @ Joe’s Pub, NYC – April 8

Photos by Eddie Pearson

The Black Rock Coalition brought together a dynamic tribute to Carlos Santana at Joe’s Pub. The show featured an hour and a half of Santana’s biggest hits as well as some special guests, including Vernon Reid (of Living Colour) and local Brooklyn Guitarist Marcus Machado.

Throwback Thursday: Leon Thomas & the JB’s @ SOB’s – June 20 & 21, 1990

 

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For this week’s Throwback Thursday, Giant Step President/CEO Maurice Bernstein takes us back to the very first Groove Academy show with Leon Thomas and The JB’s in June 1990.

This was the very first Groove Academy show. Before I started working with my original partner, Jonathan Rudnick, I was doing clubs and parties in New York. And where possible, I tried to incorporate live music into my events. There were really only a couple of nightclub venues that had the live music capability, though – MK and Nell’s.

I’d often fly around on my roller skates to drop off show flyers promoting my parties. During one of my runs, a friend of mine who owned a boutique in the East Village told me about a musician friend of hers who looking to make a comeback. And once she told me her friend was Leon Thomas, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. Leon was a jazz singer who’d worked with artists like Pharoah Sanders and Santana. He also had his own albums on the Flying Dutchman label in the 1970s, but you really needed to be a bit of a crate digger to know who he was.

Read the rest after the jump

Rest In Peace, Chico Hamilton

 

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Legendary jazz musician and leader of the Euphoria ensemble Chico Hamilton has passed away.

Coming up as a rising jazz drummer alongside other heavyweights such as Charles Mingus in high school, Chico played with Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday, Gerry Mulligan and others, cementing himself as a force to be reckoned with early on.

In 1987, he helped found the New School University Jazz & Contemporary Music Program in NYC, a place dear to many of our hearts.

His ensembles helped develop talent like Gabor Szabo and Larry Coryell, amongst many others. Chico is also credited as an influence for many contemporary talents such as Carlos Santana, Joe Claussell, Jose James, Mark de Clive-Lowe and Thievery Corporation.

Honored as a “Living Jazz Legend” by the Kennedy Center and as an NEA Jazz Master, Chico Hamilton was seminal to the jazz community, culture, and history. Material from his October 2013 recordings with his Euphoria ensemble will be released as the The Inquiring Mind in early 2014.

We are grateful to have had Chico as part of our own history here at Giant Step as well – he will be sorely missed.

The ongoing event series, Celebrating the Life & Music of Foreststorn ‘Chico’ Hamilton will continue on December 15 at Drom in NYC. Come out and pay homage to one of the greats.