The Standard Culture recently conducted a wonderfully thoughtful interview with Giant Step President/CEO Maurice Bernstein about the start of Giant Step.
Maurice discusses his early affections for soul and jazz music growing up as a Manchester native, his entry into the NYC music scene and the first Giant Step show as Groove Academy, the launch of Giant Step records and how it relates to the company's venture into marketing, as well as a couple funny tidbits about a call to Bootsy Collins and a miscalculated road trip.
Nickodemus takes us way back with his first mixtape he did for Giant Step in 1995 back when we were Groove Academy. Hear and download below as well as get Nickodemus' nostalgic recollection of a legendary time:
In 1995 I passed on a mix tape to Groove Academy (Giant Step) Marc Labelle at an outdoor stage that was rocking with DJ's Jazzy Nice, Chillfreeze + Groove Collective & Nappy G live. They soon took me on as a 3rd DJ in the weekly rotation of the legendary Giant Step parties. The club vibes were HOT! There was a mix of hip hop, jazz, funk, live instrumentation, paintings, tap dancers as well as a very funky & sexy dance floor! Needless to say, I was hooked & thanks to Marc, Maurice Bernstein & Jonathan Rudnick, I stayed in the Giant Step crew for many years after. We pushed the sounds from Acid Jazz/funk, Hip Hop/Trip Hop, House & Drum & Bass- all with live musicians taking it to another level. I've also had the opportunity to DJ at shows for Jazzmattazz, Tricky, K&D, St Germain, Pharcyde, Groove Collective, Massive Attack, Gil Scott Heron & all the greats who passed through NYC at that time. Here's the 1st mix-tape I did for Giant Step in 1995. It featured artwork by BLUSTER! #MixTapeDiaries with more mixes & stories continue on www.mixcloud.com/Nickodemus ENJOY & please share this moment in time!
As most now know, the great Gil Scott-Heron passed away late last week. The revolutionary poet, musician, and author has been a long-time favorite of Giant Step, having played many of our earliest shows under the Groove Academy banner in the early 90's. The image headlining this post is the flyer from our 1992 show. After the jump, you'll find a few more vintage Giant Step concert flyers from shows we've done with Gil; you are welcome to download the flyers and add them to your collection.
Our friends at The Revivalist have put together a beautiful post detailing Gil's journey and his contributions along the way. We encourage you to give it a read - the man's influence and reach is both expansive and inspiring.
We would like to leave you with a lovely one-hour mix by Twit One entitled, A Salute to Gil Scott-Heron.
This short video collage chronicles the shows and events from 1990 through 1996 of the company that preceded Giant Step: The Groove Academy. This is the first time that the flyers and posters of Groove Academy shows have been digitized.
The concept behind The Groove Academy was to give an opportunity for the masters of funk and groove to perform their craft in front of a young audience and new generation of fans as most only knew these artists from samples used in hip-hop and rap. At this time, many of the originators were in fact forgotten in the USA and had to go to Europe and Japan to make a living. The Groove Academy was determined to help re-launch careers in the States and give them their just props!
As time went on and Giant Step was born, The Groove Academy became the concert wing of the company and helped to introduce new artists. By the mid 1990s, The Groove Academy came to an end, putting all events under the unified umbrella of Giant Step.
Stay tuned for more memorabilia as we celebrate our 20th Anniversary and please share any memories, feedback, or your own photos from this historic time. To see the individual flyers and posters from this video, view the album on our facebook page.