#Offline, A True Slice of NYC DJ Culture

 

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Words by Korby Benoit

Whenever I listen to music enthusiasts describe New York City’s hallowed nightlife history, I’m often reminded of how this city has a storied past as an incubator for cutting edge music on a global scale.

In the early days of hip-hop, partygoers would travel from parts remote corners of the five boroughs and greater tri-state area, all in the name of pure and undiluted DJ culture. Foreigners would come from abroad to get a glimpse of the likes of Afrika Bambaataa, Jazzy Jay and Red Alert display their skills and extensive knowledge of music.

In 2014 New York is saturated with an assortment of smaller bars and lounges; many of which do not place an emphasis on music culture. DJs hired by these venues can easily feel stifled since many of these establishments require their DJs to play a strict regimen of top 40 tunes. Perhaps the playing field is also made a bit more difficult by a few less than polished DJs who haven’t honed the visceral mechanics of engaging a crowd through sound.

#Offline, Q-Tip’s weekly Brooklyn party is by all means a destination for people who simply want the DJ to take them on a ride. Tucked away in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, Output is a DJ-centered venue that boasts one of the best sound systems in all of NYC. On my visit to last night’s installment, I caught an eclectic and immaculate set performed by resident opener Natasha Diggs, who gracefully ushered in our main man as an expert vibe setter.

It was a true pleasure to witness Q-Tip perform in his hometown as the master dance floor conductor he is, playing a vigorous set of funk, disco, and soul, over and over compelling a packed dance floor to stay on its toes. Output’s sound system reminded me how professional recordings are designed to perform at venues, as the sounds cut the air strong and clean, establishing musical atmosphere. And I definitely wasn’t alone in my appreciation as the venue attracts a crowd of people who also appreciate the music and how it is being presented.

If a true slice of NYC DJ culture is what you seek, take a visit to this Wednesday night gem and trust that you are in good hands.

GPWW 1/12/11: Teena Marie Tribute & Worldwide Family Mixtape by Groove Merchant, SF

This week brings another double GPWW episode, half tribute to the late Lady T, half vinyl diggers’ mixtape by the Groove Merchant crew out of San Francisco. Leading into the Teena Marie dance party, Gilles plays a bit of Jyoti, Koreless, James Blake and more. This Saturday night Gilles Peterson will host the real Worldwide Awards, live in London: get more info here.

After the jump, listen to a bonus Worldwide Awards soundcloud mix from our man DJ Left0, who’s got a compilation coming out with DJ Simbad, to be released on Gilles’ record label, Brownswood Recordings.

Part 1
 

Part 2
 

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More Info & Tracklisting

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“Lovergirl” – Teena Marie Tribute from Sy Smith and Mark de Clive-Lowe + MP3

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We were deeply saddened to hear about the loss of the legendary singer Teena Marie, who passed away on December 26th, 2010 at the age of 54. Giant Step was lucky to work with Teena, including her 2009 album, Congo Square, a long way from her past as a Rick James protege. She spent much of 2009 and 2010 touring in support of the new album, and delighting fans with her super-hits like “Lovergirl,” “Ooo La La La” and “Lead Me On.”

In one of many many artist tributes, Sy Smith teamed up with Mark de Clive-Lowe to release a syberized version of “Lovergirl.” Check out the Bandcamp page to read words from Sy Smith about the track and the importance of Lady T.

Stax Records Releases Teena Marie’s Congo Square Today

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The thirteenth album and Stax Records debut from internationally-renowned singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Teena Marie, Congo Square marks a deeply personal milestone for “Lady Tee.”

Like most of Teena Marie’s classic albums, it is a largely autobiographical journey that cruises smoothly from southern soul and smoky jazz to dance floor funk. Along for the party are special guests Faith Evans (on the first single “Can’t Last a Day”), Howard Hewett (on the steamy duet “Lovers Lane”), MC Lyte (“The Pressure”), Pastor Shirley Murdock (“Soldier”), the jazz trio of pianist George Duke (on the title track), drummer/co-composer Terri Lyne Carrington and bassist Brian Bromberg (on the cinematic ballad “The Rose n’ Thorn,”) and Teena’s daughter Rose LeBeau (“Milk & Honey”). Congo Square is a nod to all who came before and to the ones who will follow in her footsteps, firmly reiterating the obvious: there is only one Teena Marie.

The iconic soul music star and Rhythm & Blues Awards Lifetime Achievement recipient penned and produced all sixteen tracks on Congo Square, whose title is a reference to the sacred area of The French Quarter in New Orleans where slaves were allowed to dance and sing in the wardrobe of their mother country on Sundays.

Stream tracks from Congo Square

Teena Marie Furnishes Congo Square For Stax Records And Embarks On US Tour

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The 13th album and Stax Records debut from internationally-renowned singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Teena Marie, Congo Square (out June 9th) marks a deeply personal milestone for the iconic soul music star and Rhythm & Blues Awards Lifetime Achievement recipient.  In support of the album, she begins her US tour today in Washington D.C. at the Constitution Hall.

“Each song I was coming up with began to sound like the style of some favorite artist of mine from the past… Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye, Billie Holiday, the old Chicago soul of The Emotions and the new Chicago vibe of Kanye West… Ice Cube’s bumpin’ in the trunk vibe and of course, Rick James. It’s all in there.”  Along for the party are special guests Faith Evans (on the first single “Can’t Last a Day”), Howard Hewett (on the steamy duet “Lovers Lane”), MC Lyte (on the sexy opener “The Pressure”) and others.

Congo Square is a nod to all that came before and to the ones who will follow in her footsteps, firmly reiterating the obvious: there is only one Teena Marie.

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