Maurice Talks the Birth of the Iconic Giant Step Brand

 

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.

Read the entire interview on The Standard Culture.

Throwback Thursday: The Roots at Irving Plaza – Jan 23, 1994

 

As many of our readers know, Giant Step has a pretty epic history when it comes to breaking acts and producing landmark events in the New York music scene. Today, we’re proud to announce the launch of our Throwback Thursday series! Join us as we dig into our archive of flyers to give you the lowdown on the get down from back in the day.

Giant Step President and Co-Founder Maurice Bernstein shares the background on this early show with The Roots circa 1994.

This was part of a series we did for Dewar’s called Straight No Chaser – that was our first branded foray, series wise. At the time we were doing our club at the Supperclub, which was a great venue. And Dewar’s wanted to tap into the stuff that Giant Step was doing at the time.

We’d already worked with The Roots a few times at this point – this was not our first show with The Roots; we did their New York debut and ultimately, their first 10 to 15 shows in New York. And this was one of the biggest. We had the Groove Collective opening up – Groove Collective were the band that grew out of the Giant Step club, and at the time we were also managing the band. It was a great night, an iconic show. Beautiful venue. Definitely a night to remember.

Read more and watch another early Roots performance after the jump

This Wednesday: Gotan Project (DJ Set) In Los Angeles + Ticket Giveaway

On April 11th, KCRW, theLIFT and Giant Step join together to present the sexy dubbed out tango sounds of Buenos Aires by way of Paris with Gotan Project’s Philippe Cohen Solal. As spring is coming back, be ready for a fusion of bandoneon, tango, dub and house sounds in his rare three-hour DJ set and first LA appearance in over 2 years.

Enter our contest here to win free tickets.

$20 Advance Tickets

9 PM – 2 AM

3040 West Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 9002

More Info

March 19th: Dennis Ferrer’s Objektivity Night Kicks Off Giant Step’s New Monthly Series at le Bain – The Standard

Giant Step’s legendary Monday Nights are back. From the early days of the Giant Step Club to the Hudson Bar at the Hudson Hotel, Giant Step returns with a monthly night at Le Bain on the 18th floor of the Standard Hotel. Dennis Ferrer and Andre Hommen kick off the first party with a special Objektivity Night.

This rare New York appearance by Dennis Ferrer sees the DJ/producer/label owner dropping dancefloor bombs for your aural pleasure. Ferrer’s knowledge of the past and vision towards the future allow him to remain one of the true greats of house music.

Click here to RSVP. Entry strictly limited to one person per email.

Monday, March 19th
Doors Open At : 08:00 PM

Le Bain at The Standard
444 W. 13th St.
New York, NY 10014

Rest In Peace, Jimmy Castor

 

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Giant Step President & CEO Maurice Bernstein shares some words. After the jump, you can find an autographed poster thats hangs in our office from the show we did with Jimmy in 1991, including signatures from Jimmy and the original “Bunch”. Also after the jump, you can see some YouTube clips of popular songs. Above, is a live performance of a Giant Step favorite, “It’s Just Begun.”

Maurice Bernstein Reflects on the Legacy of Jimmy Castor

As I was enjoying my favorite holiday, Martin Luther King Day, I noticed a lot of my Facebook friends were posting Jimmy Castor tracks. “That’s nice,” I thought, “maybe it’s his birthday.” When one of the posts said RIP, I realized his passing.

Jimmy Castor is a very important, underrated and truly interesting artist in our music history. I’m also proud to say that he’s someone who I actually got a chance to work with (but that will come a little later). A musical child prodigy, Castor was brought up in Harlem NY and even has his photograph on the wall at Apollo Theater. At a young age, he joined Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers and took over for Lymon, who was too strung out. After leaving the group, Castor had his first major hit, “Hey Leroy” in 1966, which was the perfect Latin soul jam. The song showed his authenticity as someone who grew up in the hood, but also was full of the wit, characters and voices that found their way into his best known works from the 1970s.

Castor was not only a song writer, vocalist but also an excellent percussionist and saxophone player. As the 1960s rolled on into 1970s, Castor moved to RCA and released his best work. 1972′s “It’s Just Begun” is, for me, one of the greatest dance tracks ever made. The characters continued with “Bertha Butt,” “Troglodyte,” and “King Kong,” alongside other great tracks he continued to release, such as “Potential,” “Space Age,” “E-Man Boogie,” “A Groove Will Make You Move,” “Maximum Stimulation,” and “E-Man Groovin’.” Despite his success and playing huge venues, Castor became dislllusioned with the music industry. He hated having accountants in the role of record label heads making creative decisions about his music. In the 1980s, Castor stopped recording to spend time with his family in New Jersey where he also enjoyed riding his beloved motor bikes.

When we started Groove Academy in 1990 (a precursor to Giant Step), the idea was to find great funk and soul artists that were sampled and forgotten. Jimmy Castor was on the top of my list! I can’t remember how I actually got his number (this was before Google), but once I did, I immediately called him. Jimmy was reluctant to come out of retirement but was flattered by our interest and then became impressed by the persistence. He finally agreed to a meeting with my partner Jonathan and I over dinner in NYC. After his stories, voices and more stories, he agreed to do a show for us at SOBs with the full and original “Jimmy Castor Bunch.”

The show was amazing and the band sounded incredible, Rock Steady Crew were in the house and of course “busted some serious moves” during the performance for “It’s Just Begun”.

Now having has sadly passed, I sincerely hope Jimmy gets his true credit for his contribution to the music we love.

Official Site

Giant Step show flyer and some tracks after the jump