Catfish Collins RIP

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We were sad to hear about the death of Phelps “Catfish” Collins, guitarist and brother of “Bootsy.” I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Catfish in the very early days of Giant Step / Groove Academy back in 1990. I managed to track down Bootsy at his mother’s house in Cincinnati, my goal was to persuade him to come to NY and do a rare show. After speaking to Bootsy on the phone (or William as his mother called him) I was forwarded to Catfish to make all the arrangements. He was a true gentlemen and we quickly got down to the logistics of bringing “Rubber Band” to NY literally. They drove down with full sound system and Horny Horns too! It should also be remembered that Catfish was an integral part of one of James Brown’s funkiest bands responsible for “Sex Machine” and “Soul Power”. The young band that included a teenage Bootsy on bass was drafted in when the old band went on strike on the eve of a major tour. James Brown (not one to negotiate) called the bands bluff and had Bobby Byrd go to Cincinnati rehearse the young funkateers and have then ready in 48 hours! The rest is history and funk and soul music is a better place thanks to Phelps “Catfish” Collins.
- Maurice Bernstein, Co-Founder / CEO & President of Giant Step

Giant Step’s 20th Anniversary: Groove Academy Flyers (1990-1996)

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.

Soul Power Featuring James Brown, Bill Withers, B.B. King and more, Opens in NYC & LA

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Soul Power, a documentary by Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, depicts the legendary music festival in Kinshasa, Zaire in 1974 which sprouted from the excitement surrounding the epic fight between Mohammad Ali and George Foreman. The award-winning film features original footage of performances by James Brown, Bill Withers, B.B. King, The Spinners, Celia Cruz & The Fania All-Stars, and many more…