Rest In Peace, Ronny Jordan

 

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UK guitarist Ronny Jordan has passed away at the age of 51. The acid jazz pioneer helped lead the way in blending R&B, hip hop, and jazz, cementing his influence on music history. He received a Grammy nomination for his 2000 release, A Brighter Day.

After the jump, watch two clips of “The Jackal,” a popular song Ronny did in collaboration with Dana Bryant (a former Giant Step artist). The first clip is the music video for the track, while the second one shows the track featured front and center in a lip sync on the beloved TV series West Wing.

Watch “The Jackal” after the jump

Throwback Thursday: ‘New Music Nights’ in NYC – July 21-23, 1993

 

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For this week’s Throwback Thursday, Giant Step President/CEO Maurice Bernstein tells us about the three New Music Nights we hosted for New Music Seminar from July 21 to July 23 in 1993. Be sure to catch music from some of the great artists we presented after the jump! And as always, feel free to share with us your favorite memories from these nights and of these artists!

The first night of the New Music Seminar we presented under our Groove Academy name. We held it at the New Music Café, which later came to be known as the Canal Room.

Weldon Irvine was on the bill. He was a very well respected funk and soul artist from the 60s and 70s, was Nina Simone’s musical director in the 1960s, and co-wrote “Young, Gifted, & Black.” He also put out a number of very influential albums in the 1970s on RCA, which were heavily sampled and were very, very rare.

I met him when he came to the Giant Step club in 1991 at the Village Gate and introduced himself to me; I was totally blown away – I didn’t even know he was still alive! At that point, he’d been putting out music under the name Master Wel with his own band. Also important to note is that he trained a lot of the great funk and soul musicians who came out of Jamaica, Queens in the 1970s, like Marcus Miller, Don Blackman. In fact, Don Blackman was in his band.

Read the rest after the jump

Throwback Thursday: ‘Giant Steps, Vol. 1′ Record Release Party @ Supper Club – December 9, 1993

 

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For this week’s Throwback Thursday, Giant Step President/CEO Maurice Bernstein takes us back to our record release party for Giant Steps, Volume One at Supper Club in December 1993.

By 1993, the acid jazz scene was garnering much more awareness in the US and labels here were beginning to take notice with the success of Jamiroquai and Brand New Heavies. Most of the larger UK acts on majors were coming out of imprints on Polygram such as Talking Loud and FFRR. A subsidiary of Polygram US was London Records, which also had Payday Records. Payday Records was run by Patrick Moxie, who at the time also managed Gangstarr – he’s now the owner of Ultra Records.

Given that acid jazz was one of our primary areas of specialty, Patrick approached us about putting together a compilation for him. Naturally, we wanted to the name to be in line with our brand, so we called the compilation “Giant Steps,” adding the “s” on the end to differentiate a bit from “Giant Step.”

Read the rest and hear select tracks after the jump

Throwback Thursday: New Music Seminar Showcase @ Sweet Jane – June 17-20, 1992

 

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For this week’s Throwback Thursday, Giant Step President/CEO Maurice Bernstein takes us back to the 1992 New Music Seminar series of events we held at Sweet Jane, which culminated in a huge night with Atlanta band Arrested Development.

For a period of time in the summer of 1992, Giant Step weekly relocated to a venue called Sweet Jane that is today the Jane Hotel (legend has it that that was where survivors of Titantic where brought after the fatal accident). There was a large room, which was a like an old ballroom where somebody ran a club – I don’t remember his name, but he was a shady guy at the best of times. Actually, I think his name was Guy (maybe some of the old timers can jog my memory).

Every summer in New York there used to be something called the New Music Seminar, and that year we put together four nights of Groove Academy and Giant Step shows. This was our second year putting on events during New Music Seminar – the first year we had held our events at the Village Gate and will feature that one soon in this series.

It was a pretty big undertaking putting together four nights of music. The first night we had ED O.G and da Bulldogs, a live hip-hop band called SSL, which stood for Smoking Suckers With Logic, a band called Lovehead who were a local band, and Pal Joey, the DJ who produced the track “Hot Music.”

Read the rest after the jump

Throwback Thursday: Digable Planets @ Supper Club – Nov 10, 1993

 

For Throwback Thursday this week, Maurice recounts our first Digable Planets show! Get the scoop below.

I first found out about Digable Planets around 1992. I received a call from Dennis Wheeler, President of Pendulum Records, which was an imprint on Elektra. He knew what we were doing at Giant Step and told me he wanted to send over some demos of a new band they’d signed to hear our response. So, they sent me the demos and I thought it was very Tribe-esque [see: A Tribe Called Quest]. I ended up meeting with the band and the label to explore how Giant Step could help Digable Planets, and this actually became a very early marketing project for us without really realizing it.

Digable Planets finished “Cool Like That” and brought the test press of the track to the Giant Step club, which was then in the basement at Metropolis Café. We tested the song out on the Giant Step crowd – first time that record was ever played in public – and it went down brilliantly; people went crazy. Inspired by the response from the crowd that night, the guys went home and they made The Crashing Giant Step Mix, which was on the original 12” of “Cool Like That.”

Read more after the jump