“The party is in the main room!!!” A Tambor guest observes. Her hazel eyes scope the vast lounge and concert hall. The event space dazzles underneath its natural lighting. In case this much is forgotten, Tambor is an event, an experience in and of itself. Haters are silenced. And bloggers be hushed. A surprise looms in the air.
Close to four years ago, a DJ led Atlanta’s House Music Movement to church. Where would this same DJ drive the movement, if he were to play tonight? Church? The Promise Land? Or NYC’s Funkbox? All guesses were subject to personal interpretation.
Right off the bat, the music flies from the speakers with a clean and clear appeal. The music swings not too bass heavy. But has the right amount of kick for the space. Rumour has it Quentin Harris returns to Tambor. That rumor turns true. The DJ/remixer/producer/songwriter appears onstage ready to score. First up, Adele’s “Rumour Has It” hits a homerun! The Quentin Harris Fuck What You Hear Re-Production clocks a safe 4 minutes and 45 seconds, however, Quentin plays the song double time.
Guitar chords break the surge through the sound sphere. Disco house enters the playing field. A familiar pitch delivers the drive to Chaka Kahn’s” Live In Me.” Quentin takes the DJ Spen Edit to another level. He loops, “Groove with the Motion, Let’s Take It To The Top” for what seems like minutes. “Tambor let’s take it to the top.” DJ Stanzeff cheers. And so the party continues its ascent into the outer field.
Subtle bongos play. Cautious ears must take note. In the background “Ahamdulillahi” plays. Who? Not who, but more like what? This is the sampled intro to JT’s “Let the Groove Get In” off The 20/20 Experience Part 1. If you blinked, you missed it.
Quentin Harris travels to his Midwest roots to bestow the dancers with some good lovin’. Chicago house legend, Cajmere along with Chicago vocalist legend, Dajae represent on “Satisfy.” As people sing the hook and their feet shuffle over baby powder the song plays entirely too long.
Onstage, Quentin’s tattooed sleeves that weave between a laptop, a mixer and a sequencer look nice. However, some hard bodies paid to see the Sacrifice tat. Quentin pays no mind. Although hard at work, he appears all too relaxed dressed in an “Open the Games” black tee that stays on his back all night. His body language eludes pose and refinement while the music screams, “sex.”
“Is this Prince?” A voice yells. The eruption of horns blaring over a guitar sounds so. Actually, the Purple One takes a back seat on this track to let his former girl group, Apollonia 6 sing, “Sex Shooter.” People scream amazed at the execution of rocking the old school. “Satisfy.” Again, the Cajmere song reappears? “Are You Satisfied?” Dajae sings. “Yes and enough.” The crowd answers.
Moving on. A gospel house track plays; sadly, the vocals are mixed too low to make out the lyrics and that’s said by the people dancing in front of the speakers.
Quentin digs deep into his back catalog. He pulls song number eleven from his debut opus, No Politics. A titled aptly needed for these days. Time treks back to the year 2006. Soul songstress Tina Broussard’s “Joy” (Quentin Harris Mix) breaths life into these troubled times of polarized views. Quentin plays the song in its entirety, allowing his signature production work of electric beeps that pong over spacey beats, to shine.
What does the world need? More joy! Amid the news of a large municipal filing bankruptcy, racial tensions and protests, Quentin seems to be in a happy place. Or so speaks his message, he delivers through the music. Lord knows, the crowd could stand to hear some more positivity. So the in-demand music producer delivers nothing less-than-his-stellar, his mega anthem that has won over global dance floors, his interpretation of Leela Jame’s “My Joy.” The melody bouncing over soft percussions ignites ears. Hands fly into the air. Bodies jump up and down. Even upstairs, the very important people sway from side to side. But before Margaret Grace sings one lyric the music vanishes into thin air.
“I’ve Got A Deeper Love.” A smokey alto wails over no music. Quentin pays homage to his Detroit’s Mrs. Aretha Franklin with her early nineties Pride anthem, “A deeper Love.” All of a sudden, the boys appear dressed in ribbed shirts and tanks that reveal toned biceps and protruding pecs. The grown and sexy rush front and center stage. They all sing “Welfare Don’t Need.” Queen ReRe’s a cappella flutters on. The beat to “My Joy” drops with a bang into the mix. The vocals and music play together in perfect harmony and peace. People of the world, please take note.
Quentin Harris is no stranger to the world of house music. He’s heralded to command both American soulful house dance floors and European music festivals alike. So when he drops a dirty beat of pure tech house, heads pay attention. Bells ring as the four on the floor dissipates. The music stutters on reverb. His two hands take the helm of the Bozak and lifts the sounds to a climatic build and then drops hardcore thumps onto the screaming house heads. Quentin shows-off, playing big room beats that builds and drops into frantic states. The musical styling puts the T into Tambor.
A male’s voice sings the blues that only pain produces. The voice complains about a woman who deceives him and cheats on him. He calls her out. She’s a “Millie Vanillie.” Cajmere’s green haired alter-ego, Green Velvet featuring Russoul shows face on the whimsical track.
A house music party without playing a Peven Everett song is like a house music party with no subwoofers, the two go hand-in-hands. The famous Timmy Regisford and Adam Rios concoction falls from the sound ware. “Burning Hot” rejuvenates. The former Timmy Regisford study lavishes by extending Peven’s vocal hold for more seconds than needed to make the crowd shrill with ecstasy. The room’s temperature flies off the meter.
“Tambor let’s give it up for the infamous Quentin Harris.” DJ Stanzeff announces with a proud smile.
The Tambor Party founder works his own surprise. Daddy Tambor starts his music hour off “Perfectly” with Shea Soul’s raspy vocals singing over the Layabouts’ signature beats. DJ Stanzeff rocks the crowd with a mixture of deep, spatial, and stretched out themes that unite the elements of the night.
What a surprise! Quentin drove the party to the edge of amazement. For the ears wanting to experience a different sound, Quentin delivered. For two straight hours, the Funkbox NYC resident banged the beats. He never drifted to one subgenre or slowed the beat down. The music played at the right tempo, the drums kicked a harder four on the floor all to construct a heavier sensation. Some songs played too long and certain segments looped too often but that is Quentin’s choice style of play. Let’s be real, “Let’s Be Young” plays for an Olympic ten minutes. Sadly, the track was not included in the party’s playlist. If people complained after this Tambor installment, perhaps their pulses and heartbeats need to be checked, because this experience could not be dismissed with a callous nod. Better yet, Quentin would say, “Kiss My Black Ass.”
Visuals & Words: AJ Dance