RIP Gregory Isaacs

Gregory Isaacs will be missed. Here are some of our favorites to remember him by:

“Night Nurse,” 1982
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“Hush Darling,” 1981
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“Material Man,” 1982
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Catfish Collins RIP

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We were sad to hear about the death of Phelps “Catfish” Collins, guitarist and brother of “Bootsy.” I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Catfish in the very early days of Giant Step / Groove Academy back in 1990. I managed to track down Bootsy at his mother’s house in Cincinnati, my goal was to persuade him to come to NY and do a rare show. After speaking to Bootsy on the phone (or William as his mother called him) I was forwarded to Catfish to make all the arrangements. He was a true gentlemen and we quickly got down to the logistics of bringing “Rubber Band” to NY literally. They drove down with full sound system and Horny Horns too! It should also be remembered that Catfish was an integral part of one of James Brown’s funkiest bands responsible for “Sex Machine” and “Soul Power”. The young band that included a teenage Bootsy on bass was drafted in when the old band went on strike on the eve of a major tour. James Brown (not one to negotiate) called the bands bluff and had Bobby Byrd go to Cincinnati rehearse the young funkateers and have then ready in 48 hours! The rest is history and funk and soul music is a better place thanks to Phelps “Catfish” Collins.
- Maurice Bernstein, Co-Founder / CEO & President of Giant Step

R.I.P. Francisco Aguabella

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We are deeply saddened by the death of Francisco Aguabella, great Afro-Cuban conguero and professor who played with the greats of jazz, rock, Latin music and everything in between. He recently passed away in his LA home of cancer. He will be sorely missed; gone but not forgotten. Enjoy this Aguabella classic, “Ramon’s Desire.”

RIP Guru

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We are saddened by the news of Guru’s death, his career with Gangstarr and Jazzmatazz is an integral part of the legacy and history of Giant Step. “Jazz Thing” was one of the first records we ever played and it became an anthem of our fledgling movement. In ’93, Guru chose Giant Step to first debut his Jazzmatazz project and we had the pleasure of presenting many of Gangstarr’s early New York shows, with many more to come.

Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and loved ones, music has truly lost a pioneer.


More vintage Gangstarr/Jazzmatazz Giant Step flyers after the jump.

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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