Photo: SummerStage w/ Shuggie Otis, Jose James, & Hiatus Kaiyote

 

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Photos by Seher Sikandar

Yesterday Central Park was glowing with piles of beautiful people of all ages. It wouldn’t be a true Giant Step produced SummerStage without the most adorable of children scurrying around and an eclectic bunch of young folks sprawled out soaking up the sun and an AsiaDog or three.

Hiatus Kaiyote, Jose James, and Shuggie Otis all put on brilliant performances leaving an ever attentive crowd cheering for more over and over. And DJ OP! held it down all day to many, many happy ears. Amongst the crowd were Salaam Remi, DJ Spinna, Jesse Boykins III, and TK Wonder. Check the day in photos below!

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.

Interview: Jose James Checks In Before SummerStage on August 11

 

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Before hitting SummerStage this Sunday, August 11, Jose James catches up with us about his relationship to Giant Step, his growth as an artist, and what’s up next.

Giant Step: How would you say Giant Step most influenced your music and/or career?

Jose James: Wow. It’s been so great, thank you guys. The first show was at the Hiro Ballroom in NYC opening for the amazing Alice Russell. Then we started the Brownswood Sessions at Nublu with DJ Moni and Taylor McFerrin. Beautiful times! Giant Step really paved the way for what I do, connecting hip-hop, soul, jazz and DJ culture. The London connection, Gilles Peterson, all that. It’s a global movement to present quality music.

GS: We’ve been with you from the start and it’s been a pleasure to see you progress; how would you say No Beginning No End Jose has evolved from The Dreamer Jose?

JJ: Well, I’m more well traveled. That influences you tremendously. When I made The Dreamer I was still in school and had only been to a couple places outside the US – now I’ve toured in 40 countries and counting. I’m actually in Mexico right now. You meet people and see how your music is loved worldwide and that’s a powerful thing. Now I have worldwide family and a great relationship with my fans. It’s beautiful. Musically I’m more comfortable expressing all the worlds I love – soul, R&B, jazz, rock, blues, gospel, hip-hop – and you can hear that on the new album, and in the collaborations – Robert Glasper, Pino Palladino, Emily King, Hindi Zahra.

GS: And where do you see yourself going next? Any challenges/goals you’re keen on tackling?

JJ: I’d like to reconnect with electronic music. I just dropped an EP on Blue Note with remixes by FaltyDL, Oddisee, fLako, and Taylor McFerrin. I lived in London for a year and went to Plastic People, Fabric, Cargo and met great DJs and producers like Benji B, Benga and Skream, Floating Points. So I miss that and want to do more in that world. I’m working on a new album now for next year called Desire.

Read the rest of the interview after the jump

NYC: SummerStage ft. Shuggie Otis, Jose James, & Hiatus Kaiyote – August 11 @ Central Park + VIP Passes

 

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SummerStage is just around the corner on this coming Sunday, August 11! For those living under a rock, our lineup includes Shuggie Otis, Jose James, and Hiatus Kaiyote. Make sure to come out and not kick yourself later; it’s always a beautiful, diverse crowd of friends and family, yummy eats, and tunes you can’t deny.

For those wanting to experience the show in style, we’re holding a contest for VIP Passes, which includes express entry and a special seating area.

Enter our contest for VIP Passes to our August 11 SummerStage show!

See you all Sunday!

New Release: Jose James – ‘Come To My Door’ EP

 

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Following up his Blue Note debut, No Beginning No End, the magical Jose James has just released a 5-song EP called Come To My Door. Highlighted on the album are remixes by Taylor McFerrin, FaltyDL, Oddisee, and Flako, as well the title track, penned by Emily King.

Also, gear up for Jose’s performance at this Sunday’s SummerStage show with the below behind the scenes video of him rehearsing for his No Beginning No End album release show!

Enter our contest to win the Come To My Door EP

Purchase Come To My Door EP on iTunes | Amazon

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