Photos of José James at Hiro Ballroom, NYC

Our show with José James this weekend was a great success. José and his band were on point with their blend of classic jazz structures, experimental sounds and hip hop rhythms. Jordana de Lovely sang background vocals, providing a nice feminine counterpart to José’s smooth deep voice.

Between songs, José made sure to thank his major influences and collaborators, including Flying Lotus and Taylor McFerrin. He noted Nancy Wilson, Dinah Washington (and many more) after his version of “Save Your Love For Me,” and expressed his dedication to Billy Strayhorn before launching into “Lush Life.”  Overall, José and the band wowed the audience with various tracks from Blackmagic and a couple tracks off his upcoming project with Jef Neve on Impulse, For All We Know.

Enjoy the photos, and a big thank you to those of you who came out!

RIP Steve Reid

“Devastated by the news that my friend drummer Steve Reid passed away last night in New York – a true inspiration who will be greatly missed.” – Gilles Peterson 4/13/2010

We were lucky enough to have Steve Reid, the legendary drummer at a classic Giant Step 2005 event in NYC: Gilles Peterson Presents ‘The BBC Sessions Live’. The night featured Steve Reid and Kieran Hebden (aka Four Tet) with artists like Larry Mizell, Dwele, Bilal, Jazmine Sullivan, Amp Fiddler, Robert Glasper and Heavy. It’s a very fond memory for us, and it was a small but memorable step in the story of Steve Reid, a musical giant who previously played with James Brown, Sun Ra, Dexter Gordon, Gary Bartz, Peggy Lee, Lonnie Smith, Horace Silver, Freddie Hubbard, Dionne Warwick and countless others.

Photos by Donna Ward

Sunset Soiree Photos from WMC 2010 in Miami

A collection of photos from our three Sunset Soiree events at Delano during Winter Music Conference in Miami Beach this year: A Night of Latin Flavor with Gilles Peterson, Bobbito Garcia a.k.a. Kool Bob Love, Alex Barck of Jazzanova, Nickodemus and Chico Mann on Friday; Estelle, Rye Rye and more, Poolside on Saturday; and Gilles Peterson with Questlove at The Florida Room on Saturday. The three events were co-presented by Levi’s and Windows 7.

All Hail Badu: Live at El Rey Theater

We were very lucky to have Erykah Badu celebrating the release of New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh in LA and NY this past week. Giant Step co-founder Jonathan Rudnick was on hand to experience Erykah’s record release show in LA. Here’s what he thought:

“Naked or (preferably not !) when Badu rolls into town you know you’re in for something extra special and that’s exactly what we all got at LA’s El Rey Tuesday night at the album release party event. Badu’s on fire and for all the right reasons, and don’t get me wrong the all abuzz vid for instant classic “Window Seat” is a must see, but clearly her Badu-ness live is the way ! A 2 hour journey with full 11 piece live band and Badu with her own ‘toys’ tearing through the hits, plus treats like Sun Ra’s ‘Nuclear War’, and tunes from ‘right side of the brain’ steeped New Amerykah Part Two and it felt like a right on baptism!

A Part Two Badu, soul searching and in love, yet still clearly socially active and defiant, came across as part cheeky little girl, feisty teenager, empowering Queen rolled into one mesmerizing 21st century Goddess – All hail Badu – now get some clothes on girl !”


Photos: Giant Step, Less Artists More Condos and Erykah Badu present New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh Album Release

Erykah Badu‘s performance this weekend was live. Her medley of hits and fan favorites was a perfect set-up for the new album, which has been called a musical return to the personal love songs and organic sound of 1997′s Baduizm.  The new album, New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh comes out tomorrow. Pre-order here.