Archive for February 20, 2011


February 20, 2011


What does a master create when he/she weaves the magnetic fabric of the human voice coupled with unparalleled musicianship that exhibits a body of art and defines soulful house music? A masterpiece.

Famed New York City’s club-night Shelter founder, Timmy Regisford crafted a moving mosaic of music that wooed music loving disciples to the dance floor or at best to the club. Fresh faces arrived from up and down the east coast and even from neighboring Canada to enjoy the sights and sound of the acclaimed international DJ/producer/artist.

Timmy the song master, not merely content with playing songs/tracks with the norm mix-in and mix-out DJ mixing technique blurred the litmus where a cappellas dance with beats. Many of the night’s vocals juxtaposed the new-skool, Maroon 5 with the old-skool, New Edition that rocked to beats by Sting’s International Mix of Peven Everett’s, “Church” or Quentin Harris’ galloping drum loop remix of Leela James, “My Joy.” At times, the master maneuvered between three songs at once, on two CD players and a mixer without the help of a laptop (mind you). One layer of vocals piped over a thumping beat used for the intro that segued into another different beat as was the case with Peven Everett’s, “Burning Hot” (Timmy Regisford & Adam Rios Mix) meets The Detroit Experiment’s, “Think Twice” (Henrik Schwarz Mix). This overlay created a euphoric sensation of a never before heard remix. Folks we’re not talking mash-ups here, but a master DJ working the very DNA of songs to the core displaying rare artisan endeavor in today’s youth-driven DJ culture. Such skills only a master of the trade could teach to contemporary apprentices.

With a melodious marriage of a cappellas and club-ready beats the maestro transformed Tambor into a tectonic hot spot. So prepare yourself as we embark on a magnificent journey into Timmy’s masterpiece.

By 10 pm several New York City Shelter devotees, as well as Tambor family members form a small line in the above average temperature for a winter’s night, eagerly waiting to discover what lay behind the venue’s brick and mortar wall. A soundscape of deep beats pound the concrete pavement that welcomes each and every guest. They arrive from NYC, Virginia, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Florida and even as far away as Toronto, Ontario. However, before entering the sanctioned master’s studio, their event tickets and door fees are collected, examined and processed by two utterly classy, lovely ladies working the front door. Their cash register sings cha-chings as its tray opens and closes making merry melodies.

Once inside the master’s studio, a potpourri of activity buzzes about like a busy production factory. Several bartenders clad in black tees scurry with delight to concoct flavored libations for bar patrons. Here and there, sound technicians make sure every speaker pumps at optimal volume and every thinly sliced licorice wire is tightly secure and properly plugged into power outlets. There are guests buzzing about to and fro trying to secure prime dance floor real estate. A few souls dare to dance as others warm up by stretching leg muscles in dark corners. Up front and center stage the opening DJ BE puts the love in the air that paves way for the arrival of the night’s headliner, Timmy Regisford.

An hour into the experience, Timmy, with braided hair and wearing a winter white shirt with denim, appears on stage to craft his colorful musical mosaic of vocals-meets-beats.

To start off the epic magnitude, we hear Timmy brilliantly brushstroke the vocals of Donnie McClurkin’s gospel anthem, “We Fall Down” with Zakes Bantwini featuring Xolani Sithole, “Clap Your Hands” which the people indeed do before Ce Ce Peniston’s, “Finally” (Choice 12’ Mix) arrives which plays over streams of deep house beats to unabashed screams and mouths open in song.

The next scene develops into a whirlwind of flurries exploding from several speakers and subwoofers strategically placed around the room. The beats- the beats are crazy. The funky yet fresh thumps range from afro-beat to house. They keep coming like looped instrumentals punching quick jabs at the audience. During the excursion of four counters, Jill Scott’s, “Spring Summer Feeling” vividly paints the room spring green while Maroon 5’s, “She Will Be Loved” excites the heart with rushes of lush dark reds. Both vocals perfectly ride over deep beats that make for happy feet.

An hour into the vibrant body of art, what a few bet would never happen, actually happens. Timmy reveals yet another masterpiece, this time by removing the white shirt he wears to reveal a sculpted mocha Trinidadian physique equipped with protruding pecs and chiseled biceps to a thunderous applause. Oh my! Cameras fly in the air to capture a snapshot or film the spectacle like tourists at an art museum marveling over a famous nude statue which would never happen because electronic devices are banned. Just as so, maybe one day people in nightclubs and concerts will favor dancing more than playing with their electronic toys.

Surprise! For the disco lovers, Sylvester’s, “You Make Me Feel Mighty Reel” rains 1970’s glitter and gold on the house heads below. The people cheer with unbridled restraint. Plus, the old-skoolers, which was about 90 percent of the room, really enjoy the rare treat. To the crowd’s delight, more nostalgic music follows that possesses the people singing with camera-ready pearly white smiles plastered on jovial faces. But what happens next truly unifies every soul in the packed room that proves this is a true master at work. 1980’s pop phenomenon, George Michael’s, “Careless Whisper” (Abicah Soul Mix) slowly comes alive to thunder over the crowd like dense cigarette smoke as Timmy mutes the chorus to let the crowd sing the hook. Boy, do the people show off as they shout, “I’m Never Gonna Dance Again/The Way I Danced With You.” Imagine an entire army of voices chanting at a concert in Madison Square Garden and you get the picture. The crowd goes into a rushed frenzy as people jump up and down in the air as Timmy drops the bass and music back on the crowd with George resuming singing duties. The remix continues with its highs and lows of steady build-ups that work the crowd into more hysteria. People dance about in dance circles, as arms fly in the air while others spin around doing triple spins on baby powder concrete. The true underground sound captures the soul and its grip was far from letting go.

From nowhere, Larry Heard’s, “Can You Feel It” thunders through the room or maybe it’s Robert Owen’s, “Bring Down The Walls,” to a generous applause. The looped beat precedes the unprecedented 1990 hit, Quincy Jones’, “Secret Garden” the quartet featuring the late Barry White, El DeBarge, James Ingram and Al B. Sure! performing vocal duties.

The collage of 1990’s male soul ballads meets house music continues with Joe’s, “I Wanna Know” the heartfelt Aaron Hall’s, “I Miss You” and the inquisitive New Edition’s, “Can You Stand The Rain” all of whom one time worked with Timmy as Artist & Repertoire at MCA Records. But where was the group Guy?

Throughout the masterpiece the wave of musical euphoria presents the uplifting Dennis Ferrer’s and Kenny Bobien’s, “Grateful” driven by a church choir and Sunday service handclaps. Peven Everett’s, “Feeling You In and Out” (Shelter Mix) makes for perfect couples two-stepping with that organic sound of organ chords and nominal drums. “Don’t You Worry” by Timmy’s protégé, Quentin Harris with Georgia Cee on vocals delivers just enough tech of automated beeps and zippy vrooms over soft percussions reminiscent of an industrial factory assembly line churning out manufactured pop. But wait! Hold on for one minute. Was that Copyright featuring Song Williamson’s, “He Is” (Ferrer & Sydenham Inc Vox) thrown in for good measure?!?

Soon, a scatting piano riff tickles the room packed wall to wall with bodies. It’s the sound of The Detroit Experiment’s intro to their 2003 house banger, “Think Twice” remixed by Henrik Schwarz that sends the dancers once again into dance-teria. But wait. As if that weren’t enough. Timmy, the catalyst, paints the room fire red as Peven Everett’s, “Burning Hot” (Timmy Regisford & Adam Rios Mix) falls like fire and brimstone on the house heads below over The Detroit Experiment’s build-up of blaring horns and trumpet solo. Heads tilt back, eyes close and mouths open wide as if to drink every beat the master pours. The energy in the room boils over like volcanic ash spewing from a mountain top and falling to the ground below. At the song’s peak, when Peven sings, “Every day I Need You” and holds the note for twelve counts, Timmy drops the vocals and segues to another beat as the masterminded mix rides in a totally different direction. The congregants lose their minds and go out of control. They uncontrollably dance and shout at the top of their lungs. The spectacle resembles some catastrophic aftermath of distraught victims plagued by paranoia. There’s just no describing what lies before the naked eye but disheveled mass destruction.

Hold on! Wait one minute as though that weren’t enough. A looped slice of Dennis Ferrer’s, deep-tech “Hey Hey” welcomes UK soul singing sensation, Shaun Escoffrey’s vocals like brilliant sunrays on a fog ridden rainy London day. The master crafter implants, “Days Like This” (Spinna & Tickla Mix) into the heart stopping music mosaic that floods the heart with joy.

Of course, an artist has to John Hancock his/her work of art with a stamped approval and this the master does with looped cursive “TR” or “Shelter” initials by playing the self-produced “At the Club” (Timmy Regisford and Adam Rios Mix) and the decadent Jill Scott’s, “Crown Royal” (The Shelter Mix).

Last call and the venue’s closing time fades into the star-filled night. 1970’s soul classics are exchanged for earlier thumping house music. Near the end of the highly anticipated event, much of the crowd leaves or is in the act of leaving as a few hardcore dancers and stragglers keep the dance floor company until the very last note or until the club’s staff throws them out-bummer.

To sum up the experience in mere words would be an understatement. Shelter kisses Tambor was on the tips of tongues. Timmy’s carefully crafted music exhibition was for the hardcore, not the faint of heart. More so, the created work of art depicted a musical styling meant for music lovers with discerning ears. The task of creating a euphoric blend of addictive energy immersed in soul erupting confetti was accomplished. Alas, the completed masterpiece revealed; a true master playing timeless soulful house music.

Photography by John Crooms