Remember that very popular track by Dire Straits? (listening to it as I type this post, as a matter of fact, it’s on repeat). I grew up watching MTV religiously, as well as BET’s Video Soul, VH1, and other similar music video shows broadcasted all day and into the late night. It was an era when such shows bridged the hit songs you heard on commercial radio with their video debuts that we were all very excited to see. This videos, many times, were everything from conceptual works of art to live performances of the singer and/or band that performed the song. There was a certain excitement brought by the host of the show segment that sometimes had you on the edge of your seat clamoring for this hot debut. As a bonus, your host would actually interview the artist or band. Here’s a favorite video of mine – Donnie Simpson on Video Soul interviewing The Time, Pt 1. Donnie Simpson on Video Soul interviewing The Time, Pt 1.
This video shows not only brought the visual aspects to the records we loved, right into your living room, so to speak, but gave the records an entirely different dimension of the song, but there were also the live music shows prior to the “MTV era”. I was a musician growing up in the 70s, picking up the guitar in 1977 and having these following shows on TV were paramount to my early development and growth as a guitarist:
Soul Alive (the local NYC Soul Train copycat)
Don Kirschner’s Rock Concert (DKRC)
All these shows brought the live artist/band concert vibe, again, into your living room. I can remember watching both DKRC and Midnight Special well into 1am when they were finishing up. What I liked about both those programs were that they featured many rock acts that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise had either show not existed. After some time, both DKRC and Midnight Special began to feature more R&B/funk acts but it was Soul Train and Soul Alive that held the trophy for featuring R&B/SouL/Funk and disco acts regularly. It was actually Soul Train that made me want to become a guitarist.
Fast forwarding to today, it’s evident that YouTube killed the MTV/live music show era. The 24/7 format is obviously convenient but many things have changed along the way, including the charm that inhabited that same era. It was definitely a fine time of musical and cultural development across the board.
On Thursday, 18 Aug 22, I had the distinct pleasure of catching the opening show of Jazz Funk Soul at Blues Alley in Washington, DC. Earlier in the month, I caught Instagram updates from Jeff Lorber, and Paul Jackson, Jr, the keyboardist and guitarist for supergroup Jazz Funk Soul, saying they’d be at Blues Alley on that date through Sunday, 21 Aug. I immediately purchased two 8pm show tickets for myself and my wife and shortly after, my music production/business partner purchased two for he and his wife. We were set for a show that was undoubtedly going to be good.
Jeff Lorber – Keyboards, Paul Jackson, Jr – guitar, and Everette Harp – Sax. Joining them that night were DC’s own bass guitar phenom, David Dyson, and on drums, Lionel Cordew
Here’s a shot from Jeff’s IG feed showing the one and only soundcheck they did on the afternoon of August 18th.
We arrived about 20 mins before the show started and the club was pretty much full. We ordered dinner and shortly afterwards, the band entered the stage. Jeff, in his cordial way, talked about the history of the band, including the debut album members, Everette Harp, guitarist Chuck Loeb, and himself. They ha ve three previous releases, and their current one, “Forecast”, was recently released. More information about the first three projects can be found at Discogs.
The setlist for the show was:
Speed Of Light (from the self-titled debut release, “Jazz Funk Soul )
Monserrat (from the Jeff Lorber Fusion release, “Galaxy”)
Life and Times (from the third release, “Life and Times”)
Hustle (from the current release, “Forecast”)
Serious Business (from the self-titled debut release, “Jazz Funk Soul” )
Going Thru Changes (from Everette Harp’s release “First Love”, written with G. Duke)
Forecast (title track from “Forecast”)
Tune 88 (from Jeff Lorber Fusion’s release “Water Sign”)
Lionel Cordew and David Dyson were really good in holding down the bass and drums for the group, providing that phenomenal groove foundation for the entire setlist. The highlight of seeing the band was finally seeing the incomparable Paul Jackson, Jr on guitar. His immense session work as a guitarist across multiple genres, and as a solo artist, has caused him to be a major influence on me as a guitarist. Here’s a point in the show where he cuts loose.
Everette Harp, groovin’ the melody to Jeff Lorber Fusion’s classic track, “Tune 88”
A few photos from the set
Jazz Funk Soul’s latest release, “Forecast” can be found at Amazon and similar outlets, as well as on all major streaming platforms.
10:15pm, Friday night. The day part was long, and busy, so I am definitely appreciative of this part. I’m sitting in the studio…really chillin’. As usual, I’m thinking of projects that need to continue, get finished, or get started, but tonite…I’m relaxing, and catching up on blogging (*yawn*).
They say when it rains, it pours. It’s been doing that figuratively and literally (more figuratively then literally). For the longest time, I, and my biz partner, Dan McCollum, have been working on our CD project….the longest time is a time I care not to divulge, but hey…life get’s in the way. The CD is entitled “What Love Is”. We are known as After Six Productions. It started out, and still is, a labor of love project, as opposed to one created to get a record deal. We have a record company established under which A6P falls, Hall Effect Records. While we are now down to pretty much nearing completion of the project, we’re really seeing how much work it entails. Our only desire, be it lofty or not, is to put out songs that can stand the test of time. A bit ambitious…maybe…but in light of what the urban music industry is offering, we feel it’s high time for a change….we’ll see. We’re coming.
I won’t bore ya with my humble beginnings, but just let you know what the journey has been like over the last year. I’ve had the studio running for quite some time. This year there have been other projects like recording a four-voice ensemble to a welcome song written for our church mass choir. The result of that demo CD drew similar artists in, with songs of their own from time to time (I have three in the queue currently). Having *clientele* like this is not something I expected at this point, but it gives me an idea what it really takes to produce and learn the recording hardware and software I have.
Over the last few months, I’ve begun a remote collaboration project with two other very talented musicians AND friends I have on twitter: @fave (in Houston) and @toddkelley (in Cali). Fave and Todd have been doing collaboration songs back and forth that I’ve been fortunate to hear. These tracks, everyone, have been slammin’. Down the line, we all started talking about collaborating to some extent. Fave came around and seem to set the wheels in motion, farming out some incomplete tracks to Todd and I to work on, Todd doing the same to Fave, and Fave feeding what Todd and he did to me, for the guitar work. So far, tracks done, and released to the public to hear, have been met with great enthusiasm. The name of the project is called C3 or deeper still, “contempojazzsoulhop”, a name that describes the flow of all three of us combined as one. Here’s Fave talking about the origin and development of the project (yeah, man…we both owe u inputs! LOL):
I’ve been working on my own tracks for years, under a project entitled Songs From The Future (SFTF). While I won’t get into my whole workflow, inspirations and such, songs come to me in many different ways, different times and are often built from a little as something like this. My plan is to get under way with my CD in 2010, as soon as we drop “What Love Is”
Within the last, what, almost two months, I got the grand opportunity (again via Twitter) to be asked to do remixes (seemingly a life long dream), for one VERY funky and soulful artist by the name of Philip Clark. Via some tweets read about the development of “contempojazzsoulhop”, he got wind of the fact that I produce my own music and was always interested in doing a remix. After a little discussion, he approached me and asked if I wanted to do some remixes of tracks from his debut album. Of course I jumped at the chance to do so and picked the track “Granted”. Happy to say that after hearing the rough version, he is pleased with it….but not more pleased that I to know he’s diggin’ it. I plan two other remixes of the track. He’s a pleasure to work with and has displayed a great mind for the business as well. I like what he has in store for the remix project as a whole. I applaud that, as well as his musical flow. Definitely check out his tracks. His official site is here. Much thanks to the shout for my podcast.
As far as live music, I’ve been playing in my church’s music ministry with all the various choirs since 1994 as well as with a band, 150East for a few years now. Here’s a short vid of the band:
Since 150East, I’ve started teaching guitar, as well as studying jazz guitar under a Washington DC guitar instructor and recording artist, Dave Mosick. The latest project about to kick off is with a local sax player and good friend, Kelvin Wilson.
So, needless to say….busy for sure. Just tryna make it happen, and that always starts in ‘The Lab.
I won’t say what time it is now…but, I will say…thank for reading….The weekend is here…let’s go…
Hope all is well. Here’s a quick clip of the band I’m in, 150 East, performing at DC Metro area wedding reception a year ago. This is our edition of Jeff Lorber’s “Reflections”. Your’s truly on guitar.