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.

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Interview: Q-Tip on His New ‘Offline’ Monthly Launching This Friday 6/15

 

As you must now know, the launch of our new monthly, Offline, at Irving Plaza with Q-Tip is now only a few days away. We recently caught up with Q-Tip to get the low down on this summer’s new go to party, amongst a few other juicy tidbits.

Giant Step: Congratulations on your new monthly party, Offline! How are you feeling about the launch?

Q-Tip: I feel good about it. Hopefully folks will come ready to dance, be open minded, and ready to enjoy different types of music. And you know, take it to a time where New York was bred for partying and not just kinda standing around – like a real dance party.

GS: What can partygoers expect to see and hear at Offline?

Q-Tip: They can hear any and everything, man. From a lot of dance and disco and boogie music, a lot of boogie music to lots of salsa, hip hop, dub. Old school hip hop, that is – a lot of that. A lot of funk. Afro Cuban, Afro Beat, rare groove. Electronic. Classic stuff! Also I had a DJ booth specially designed which is an art piece. The creator is a wonderful artist called Susan Linss. At each party she will add a new piece of art which is really exciting!

GS: Do you have a certain philosophy around the music you put play when you DJ?

Q-Tip: My philosophy depends on the type of party, but usually for my type of parties my philosophy is to keep people dancing and exchanging that energy coming out of themselves. You know, you work all week or you go through what you go through not to come and stand around and Twitpic or Instagram stuff and put it on Twitter. You come to be offline, to experience it, to dance, to feel the music. So my philosophy is to encourage that.

GS: When you think about great NY parties of the past what were some of your favorites?

Q-Tip: My favorite parties were like Mars, Studio 54, Red Zone, The Garage, Bassline, Love Light (not Limelight) – Love Light was dope, the original Nell’s, The World, Life, Save The Robot. So many places.

Read the rest of the interview after the jump