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: Leon Thomas & the JB’s @ SOB’s – June 20 & 21, 1990

 

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For this week’s Throwback Thursday, Giant Step President/CEO Maurice Bernstein takes us back to the very first Groove Academy show with Leon Thomas and The JB’s in June 1990.

This was the very first Groove Academy show. Before I started working with my original partner, Jonathan Rudnick, I was doing clubs and parties in New York. And where possible, I tried to incorporate live music into my events. There were really only a couple of nightclub venues that had the live music capability, though – MK and Nell’s.

I’d often fly around on my roller skates to drop off show flyers promoting my parties. During one of my runs, a friend of mine who owned a boutique in the East Village told me about a musician friend of hers who looking to make a comeback. And once she told me her friend was Leon Thomas, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. Leon was a jazz singer who’d worked with artists like Pharoah Sanders and Santana. He also had his own albums on the Flying Dutchman label in the 1970s, but you really needed to be a bit of a crate digger to know who he was.

Read the rest after the jump

Throwback Thursday: Blaze @ SOBs – August 22 & 23, 1990

 

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For this week’s Throwback Thursday, Giant Step President/CEO Maurice Bernstein tells us about Blaze’s 1990 shows for their debut album. What were some of your favorite Blaze tunes?

We started out the Groove Academy in June of 1990 with our main focus on shows highlighting older funk & soul artists, but the third show we did was with a new group called Blaze from New Jersey.

Representing the New Jersey underground house scene, they were heavily influenced by 70s soul, dance music, and gospel. Signed to Motown by Timmy Regisford, Blaze were pegged as the next generation of the label (in the spirit of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”).

We were really excited to work with them, especially with Blaze being a band that I was very keen on and the fact that Motown had really gotten behind them. Their tune “So Special” was a big hit in NY house music community.

Read the rest 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: Jimmy Castor @ SOBs – March 13, 1991

 

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For this week’s Throwback Thursday, Giant Step President/CEO Maurice Bernstein shares with us about our March 1991 show with Jimmy Castor. What do you remember about this monumental show? Your favorite Jimmy Castor sample?

Jimmy Castor was on our list of artists to track down for our Groove Academy concerts. He was an artist who wasn’t really playing in New York anymore. In fact, this show was his first New York appearance in 10 years.

I don’t exactly remember how I managed to get his phone number. But once I got his number, I called him up and the first thing he said was, “I’d like to meet you.” I remember he drove into New York from New Jersey and we met him at one of those traditional Spanish restaurants next door to the Chelsea Hotel for dinner. He was interested to hear our proposal about a show, but also wanted us to understand where he was in his music career and why he was pretty much retired from the industry and very disillusioned with the business.

After a lot of talking and hearing him do his “Bertha Butt,” “King Kong” and “Troglodyte” voices, and a lot of persuasion, we were able to get him on board along with the “original” Bunch, which was his band. We wanted to hear the whole band do their parts when they performed the song “Potential” at the show.

Although Jimmy hadn’t put out any new music in years, he was, however, heavily sampled. Back then, a few of the many were “Gangsta Gangsta” by N.W.A. sampling “Troglodyte,” “Pump Up The Volume” by M|A|R|R|S, and “Watch Me Now” by Ultramagnetic MCs sampling “It’s Just Begun.” He’d also been working on new music, which he had us hear, including a track called “Firecracker” and one where he rapped about the fact he was heavily sampled.

Read the rest after the jump