Throwback Thursday: Nuyorican Soul Fiesta (Winter Music Conference) @ the Shore Club, Miami – March 24, 1997

 

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For this week’s Throwback Thursday, Giant Step President/CEO Maurice Bernstein takes us back to the legendary 1997 Winter Music Conference party for Nuyorican Soul at the Shore Club! What do you remember about the epic daytime party? For those that missed it, catch a video clip as well as the backside of the invite flyer after the jump.

Back in the 90s, the Winter Music Conference (WMC) was a global affair where house DJs from all around the world would come and invade Miami for a week. Back then it was purely an industry event, which inevitably also brought out only the most serious of dance music lovers.

For this year particular year, we decided to throw a big daylong event as a teaser for the forthcoming Nuyorican Soul album that we were releasing – the album was of course produced by none other than Kenny and Louie aka Masters at Work.

We held the party at the Shore Club – the “old” Shore Club with the huge outdoor space and pool. It was a largely coveted event. We had a great live set from Luis Quinteros who brought along some local Miami musicians to play with him. Special guests included Roy Ayers, India Arie and of course Louie Vega, and Kenny Dope, amongst many, many others.

Read more + catch the flyer & video after the jump

Throwback Thursday: Freestyle Fellowship @ Metropolis – May 6, 1993

 

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For today’s Throwback Thursday, Giant Step President/CEO Maurice Bernstein shares his memories of our May 6, 1993 show with Freestyle Fellowship. And as always, we’d love for you to join us in reminiscing on the night and sharing your favorite Freestyle Fellowship memories!

Out of Los Angeles, California, Freestyle Fellowship were from the same era of LA rap groups like The Pharcyde. They were signed to 4th and Broadway and had a very jazzy hip-hop feel to them – kind of like the west coast juxtaposition to De La and Tribe. Their “Park Bench People” track in particular was a big hit for us down at the club. Jose James actually covered it many years later on The Dreamer.

This show was at Metropolis, which was the classic Giant Step venue. Metropolis was in the basement of what is now Blue Water Grill. It held about 250-300 people but we’d get like 400-500 people, all smoking and drinking. In this day and age, so many people would never be allowed in a club like that – those are times that are totally gone.

Freestyle Fellowship had a young manager named Kedar who was very impressive and also quite pushy, which definitely helped him get my attention quite early.

After managing Freestyle Fellowship, Kedar went on to manage D’Angelo, helped discover Erykah Badu, and eventually became the President of Motown Records where he signed India Arie. He’s also someone who took credit for coining the term “neo soul.” Like I said, a very impressive guy.

Having Daddy-O from Stetsasonic as a guest was a very nice addition to the bill. He was actually introduced to us by Kedar as his brother. For those that are not familiar, Stetsasonic were a hip-hop band from the late 80s/early 90s. One of their most popular tracks was a song called “Talking All That Jazz” that sampled Lonnie Liston Smith’s “Expansions,” which also was a big hit at the club.

It was a very memorable show – a hot, sweaty, sticky late night downtown. Great band to see live.

Exclusive Interview: Ester Rada Opens Up Before Her US Debut

 

Next week on March 11, we will be introducing folks in NYC to a major new talent from Israel named Ester Rada. In the meantime, we got some interesting bits on the unique artist in the interview below. Read up!

Giant Step: Your heritage is that of a very unique Ethiopian-Jewish people. How does this background and being raised in an Orthodox tradition affect who you are today?

Ester Rada: I was born in Israel, and my family raised me in a religious house and tradition, as this was what they were used to from Ethiopia. When my parents moved to Israel they were “put” in Kiryat Arba, a very religious city. We moved from there when I was 10 years old, due to the security issues there.

GS: Coming up in one of the rougher neighborhoods in Tel Aviv, what it was like growing up?

ER: I was actually growing up near Tel Aviv, in Netanya, and it was a big change for me. Coming from a more religious village, you can call it the country side, to a bigger city, was a big move for me. I also became secular and not as religious as we used to be. But this change was blessing, and I started to know what freedom is like. In the neighborhood I had good friends.

GS: Your sound evokes qualities similar to Erykah, Jill Scott, Janelle Monae. Are these intentional influences? Who would you say are your influences?

ER: I am influenced by a lot of artists. Of course the ones you named, and also religious Jewish music from my early days, as well as Ethiopian and Amharic music such as Mahmoud Ahmed, Mulat Astatke, Muluken Melesse, Israeli music, jazz and soul legends such as Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, Marlena Shaw, and contemporary music such as Corrine Bailey Rae, Nneka, Keziah Jones, India Arie and more.

Read the rest of the interview & get show details after the jump

New Release: Khari Cabral – ‘Clementine Sun’

 

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Talented musician and bass player Khari Cabral today released his beautifully tuneful new album Clementine Sun. Some may recall Cabral as the leader of Jiva (who were signed to Giant Step Records) and member of India Arie’s band. Fun fact: Khari was actually the one that initially linked us up with India and Donnie back in 1997!

Preview “Never In Your Sun” featuring Indie Arie above and soak in happy thoughts of the weekend ahead.

After the jump, you can also find the Tauriva remix of a classic throwback track from Jiva called “Stars.”

Purchase Clementine Sun on Amazon

Official Site

Hear “Star” by Jiva after the jump

New Stevie Wonder Special Tonight featuring India.Arie

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Tonight at 8pm, PBS presents Stevie Wonder in Performance at the White House, with hosts President and Michelle Obama. The event, featuring performances by various artists, is a celebration for Stevie Wonder’s receipt of The Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. They’ll have live performances by India.Arie, Tony Bennet, Diana Krall, Mary Mary, Will.i.am, Martina McBride, Esperanza Spalding and more – including Stevie himself!