Archive for March 20, 2011


March 20, 2011


The Party

This spring night belonged to the dancers.

Much can be said about Italy’s Fabio Genito’s spirited set that delivered robust afro-beat/latin/90’s house/current deep-house/funk/soul and disco flavors of heated beats marinated on a fruit-based laptop connected to a smoking mixing deck. After a rousing opener by Tambor’s founder and resident, Stan Zeff, the packed room of bodies was ripe with anticipation for some Italian delight.

Fabio appeared on stage decked out in a dinner vest, a popular cartoon sketchedduck on a white graphic tee and low-riding blue denim. With the music silenced, the room fell to an uncomfortable hush. Suddenly, an a cappella tenor arose from the DJ stage like a soaring phoenix. The raspy voice from none other than vocalist Michael Watford cried for much needed “PEACE & HARMONY.” Actually, “Michael’s Prayer” blasted from several Peavey speakers and JBLs positioned about the room and not from the DJ stage as earlier thought thanks to the wonderful sound system by Kevin Donovan. Immediately, cued from CD player two, tribal beats fell on the densely populated room that greeted several curious visages. Slowly, dancing feet began to sway left to right. Then as afro-beat gave way to tinged latin percussions the same feet salsaed front to back.

Throughout the night, special tech EFX of flutters, reverbs, fade-ins and fade-outs reigned supreme. The mixer’s “kill” switch dropped bass lines. The mixer’s knobs were tweaked to unbalance EQ levels and enhance the highs and lows of several tracks played. For those with sensitive ears these overstated techniques might have seemed gall. But it was all good. Even the frequent musical build-ups and break-downs during songs kept dancing feet on their p’s and q’s. Sorry, folks there were no miss-steps here.

Afefe Iku’s, “Mirror Dance” raced into action at high speeds after a few EFX shutters of infections afro-beat. Front there afro-beat transformed into straight up Chicago house with Steve “Silk” Hurley’s presents The Voices of Life with, “The Word is Love (Say The Word)” (Silk’s Anthem of Life Mix) that made way for some great disco dance moves.

Dynamic movements sprung to life as a huge dance circle formed in the epicenter of the rectangular dance floor. Dancers showed off various acrobatic poses while fancy footers showcased lightning speed footwork. Several video recorders and numerous cell phone owners ran to the arc to capture the extemporaneous footage. At that moment, the crowd exploded with eager applause as the room’s energy boiled over.

From there, Chi-town house gave way to Motown soul. Stevie Wonder’s classic, “My Love Is On Fire” lit the room with nostalgia as dancers slid and spun in circles across the floor.

Immediately, thereafter, a pumping four-count club thumper leveled the speakers. The beat much too hard for today’s deep house felt more from the likes of Chicago’s golden house music era than the current climate of South Africa’s beating cowbells. Sure enough the classic goodie came from UK soulsters, Simply Red remixed by a native Chicagoan. To keep the blue-eyed soul in effect, George Michael’s, “Careless Whisper”(Abicah Soul Remix) with vocals hovering barely above a faint whisper seemed to fall on deaf ears. Realizing the response or the lack thereof, the song was quickly mixed out during the second hook before the song had time to simmer. Unfortunately, by this point the MeDEEPerraen DJ transitioned in and out of songs so quickly it left little time for engaging listeners to catch the groove. Other snippets included Tambor’s prior guest headliner, Timmy Regisford along with Adam Rios interpretation of “At The Club,” Ultra Nate’s, “Free” the gay anthem that had all the shirtless pumping fists in the air, singing with joy and 1999’s favorite Moloko’s, “Sing It Back” (Boris Musical Mix). Wait a minute was that Bob Marley and Wailer’s, “Exodus?”

While the aforementioned were cut short, other songs were left to play in their entirety. Shaun Ecoffery’s, “Days Like This” (Spinna & Tickla Mix) played as the vocals were “killed” to allow the audience to sing, “I Love Days Like This/Yeah/Here Comes The Sun” at the top of their lungs. The people cheered with praises as the next song, Element’s of Life featuring Lisa Fisher and Cindy Mizelle’s, “Into My Life (You Bought The Sunshine)” showered dancing hearts with love. One Tambor family member even hopped on the DJ Stage and gave a personal performance to Mr. Fabio. The latest hit from Reel People featuring Darien on vocals, “Sure” (Frankie Feliciano Classic Vocal Mix) sounded refreshing with its sing along melody that paved way for what was to come next.

The night’s musical journey cusped with a hair raising live performance by Atlanta’s own Robin Latimore’s cover of Gladys Knight’s & The Pips, “Neither One Of Us” re-titled, “First To Say Goodbye” remixed by South Africa’s DJ Micks. The jazz songstress belted out heavenly vocals over rapturous beating percussions driven under warm pads that sent the audience into the stratosphere. Not to outdo herself, Robin threw in some classic references singing Crystal Water’s, “Gypsy Woman” with the crowd and chanting “It’s Time For The Percolator” by Cajmere. Needless to say, the people ate up the performance like authentic home-cooked pasta.

To jumpstart the mix again, the disco break of Michael Jackson’s, “Get On The Floor” punched through the JBL’s to reveal an exclusive re-edit of the icon’s disco dance floor anthem. Other dance floor killers came courtesy from Germany’s dance musician George Kranz, “Trommeltanz” or “Din Daa Daa” that shut the party down (with that same Tambor family member back on stage waving her arm and swinging that derriere in the air) and the night’s final house number from the fabulous Sweet Pu$$y Pauline’s, “Work This Pu$$y with the XXX male emasculating material too explicit to explain on this page.

Once the venue’s house lights besieged the darkness there were still thirty or so dancers spinning in circles and two-stepping to Michael Jackson’s, “Rock With You.” Back on stage, Fabio appeared hesitant to give up the limelight as the clock unfortunately signaled 3 am. There, seemingly nervous Stan Zeff stood by Fabio’s side bidding adieu to the night’s guest at the request of the venue’s owner. However, there was no need for concern as the dancers had a wonderful time of Italian delight at Tambor’s expense and would soon take the dance outside underneath the starry March sky and that rare, beautiful supermoon. Once again, thanks Tambor and Fabio for the dance.

Photography by Carlos Bell Photography


March 19, 2011


Love it or hate it. It can’t be denied the Europeans have their own style and definition of DeeJaying. Actually, it’s this distinct flair of recognizing overseas talent that Tambor needs to embrace its burgeoning global presence. Also, worth noting, the beat of the drum travels not only domestically but globally. It is this rhythmic journey that treks across all lands, seas, cultures and villages delivering the language of music. No matter the language barriers and/or cultural barriers a person speaks or holds, music speaks the same language. Music captivates the heart, stirs the soul and moves the body to dance. It is by this same language that house music has impacted the world. After all, music is the universal language.

This communication explains how a person living in a distant land known for art, fashion and food is impacted by sounds created and crafted in far away places. It’s this phenomenal process which drives a youth to pick up turntables and mix records. It is through this transference; a person creates and records music in a basement or bedroom studio. It is this experience which drives the passion for some to become worldwide-traveling ambassadors of music.

Hence, Tambor’s recent headliner, the DJ/producer from the country shaped like a boot, brought to the table a pooh-pooh platter of audio tastes ranging from afro-beat/latin /deep -house/house/soul/funk and disco. Unfortunately, the above positives might have been overshadowed by murmurs. Lest we forget, when it comes to house music/deep-house/afro-beat/latin-beat/ancestral, or whatever the latest categories, music is music!

Personal taste or regional flavors of music cannot be allowed to solely dominate as to cut off the overall experience needed for purposeful measurement. Certainly, personal taste or regional taste may favor some genres of music over others, but by no means does this define superiority of one preferred form of music over others. Neither should another form of music be categorized as inferior. The often quoted and misinterpreted statement, “that’s not soulful or soulful enough” is highly regarded as scripture. Again, what moves the soul of one may not move the soul of another or vice versa. So too this proverbial statement leans less to proven fact but more towards personal interpretation.

The universal language of music speaks, “Music Is Music.” From Stevie Wonder to Moloko the language of music remains unchanged. Therefore, the focus should not be predominately based on the style of the music or the song selections chosen but rather the letting go of complacency and allowing the unfamiliar and the unique to solicit a new heartfelt experience. If the heart is open without prejudices then the discoveries of new, hidden and fascinating treasures await to satisfy the hunger of the soul. Also, it is up to the individual what he or she makes of the experience. Remember, if you contribute nothing then you receive nothing. If you put in your best then the best will be returned to you. There is much to be said about these lessons and we as pure music lovers should strive to learn from it.

The appreciating of a new musical language or at least furthering the understanding of the music we appreciate can provide additional enlightenment. For example in linguistics, one never stops learning or improving their native tongue and even learns other languages. The wise dabble in continuous learning with appreciation. Rather it’s the study of challenging vernacular, grammatical correction or improving complex spellings. The wise know they have not been taught all or KNOW all. Wisdom lays the foundation and from that it is built upon. The wise do not grow complacent in one particular discipline of study but rise to the occasion to study the unfamiliar and unknowns.

The same must be said of true music lovers. We can never allow ourselves to stop growing in music. Often times, the mentioned, “music evolves and therefore, we must evolve” serves as a firm reminder. Not to say, to deny your favorite song or favorite genre is recommended but to become stagnant with a favored musical format or song from yesteryear silences the heart’s capability to discover the new. To not be open, stunts growth, hinder movements and divides tribes.

Therefore, we music lovers must not fall victim in sticky entrapments of personal tastes that silences the universal voice of music. It should be duly noted we are vessels to extend the arms of music’s reach to those who are unfamiliar or uneducated with what we musically love. Especially, in this day and age where a new generation has not experienced the power of certain genres of music we were blessed to experience. Certainly, there is no time for bickering, strife and division. So without presumption, let’s come together, unite and create a positive synergy that showcases to the world the brilliancy of the power of music in an impacting way.

Love it or hate it. It can’t be denied the Europeans have their own style and definition of DeeJaying. Actually, it’s this distinct flair of recognizing overseas talent that Tambor needs to embrace its burgeoning global presence. Also, worth noting, the beat of the drum travels not only domestically but globally. It is this rhythmic journey that treks across all lands, seas, cultures and villages delivering the language of music. No matter the language barriers and/or cultural barriers a person speaks or holds, music speaks the same language. Music captivates the heart, stirs the soul and moves the body to dance. It is by this same language that house music has impacted the world. After all, music is the universal language.

Photography by Vanessa Bagshaw/Remixed by AJ Dance

TOMMY LARGO 04.03.11

March 5, 2011


The Dutch may not be famous for eloquent cuisine or musically inclined palettes as they are for wooden shoes or tulips but Tommy Largo showed BPM Sessions how to musically “bake a cake” from scratch.

DJ/producer Tommy Largo hails from one of Netherlands larger municipalities Arnhem, known for its greenery and parks. Arnhem’s population of over 700,000 situated between the Veluwe nature reserve and the Rhine river, located in the eastern region of the country may not be known for jackin’ house music but a quarter of the city’s population belongs to the creative arts industry, fit for the sounds of funky house to jack form Tommy Largo’s stereo system. Although the Dutch are described as being very reserved and respecting of privacy, Tommy Largo “gezelligheid” (had a great time) the small group of gatherers assembled for the monthly installment of BPM Sessions at the Music Room.

The Music Room sits underneath the warm smells of a pizzeria where sixteen lanes of concrete interstate divide the Old Fourth Ward district from downtown. Safely nestled within the pizza eatery’s basement, Music Room’s interior appears a bit snazzy walking down a flight of steps that provide a grand overview of the brown- washed room. This is the see and be seen stairwell that makes for an extravagant entrance and gives the impression you are “IT” as heads turned to eyeball your descent. A lavish birthday celebration was set to begin next to the exhibitionist stairwell in a quaint cozy lounge where red balloons attached to leather chocolate lounge chairs and chocolate sofas danced in the air. The cozy lounge appeared very welcoming and unassuming until a note read, “reserved.”

At the mouth of the stairwell there sat a newly built, varnished, brown, hardwood, 6 feet by 8 feet dance floor lifted a couple of inches off the concrete floor. Upon that sat two giant speakers positioned kitty- corner on the floor next to mud-brown painted walls. The spacious square- shaped bar behind the dance floor saw little action. The people seated at the bar seemed heavily concentrated in conversations while others observed the opening DJ’s play in a custom built spacious DJ booth across from the bar against a brick wall. To the right of the elevated DJ booth, sat another open, spacious concrete area for dancers. There, a projector showcased a late 1980’s comedy movie against a white wall to the backdrop of funky house music. Those few engaged in the dance preferred this space of knee-hard concrete compared to the feet friendly wooden dance floor towards the room’s derriere. However, the space’s most compelling feature was the orthodoxies distributed about the venue. Several Jesus and Mary figurines and trinity fish symbols decorating the venue severed as sober reminders of the spiritual side. Not to mention the keeping at bay of evil spirits.

Anyways, shifting the focus back to Tommy Largo’s baking skills or it should be said mixing skills. The base ingredients needed to bake a cake from scratch start with flour, sugar, baking powder, butter, milk and salt. The mix’s framework or flour for the cake consisted of a mixture of unadulterated funky 4 count jackin’ beats that made the body jack for joy. Two eggs or in this case groove driven bass guitar lines provided the connecting structure needed to keep the mix together. Next, one and one third cups of sugar filled funky samples ranging from sexy saxophones to swirling keys provided the necessary sweetness of jack. A half teaspoon of salty electronic beeps and burps punched a bit of tech-house into the musical mix. Three teaspoons of baking powder for that Chicago acid house combined with the liquid of milky vocals definitely caused the room to rise with anticipated joy. Of course, a sweet isn’t sinfully decadent without some fat or phat. The one fourth cup of unsalted, buttered phat musical rhythms and the same amount of vegetable oil of phat melodies used for extra added moisture did the trick. However, the sole ingredient to not be left out-and if it is left out does the cake or mix no justice- is the one teaspoon of pure Chicago Jack extract added for aromatic flavor. Just a dab did the trick because a little Chicago Jack goes along way. Trust me.

Tommy Largo briskly mixed the ingredients (music) on the 1’s and 2’s using a state of the art mixer. The beats were baked fresh in preheated hot stereo surround sound speakers for 30 to 35 minutes. The toothpick test- stuck in the center of the freshly baked treat only to emerge clean and smooth-proved the beats were dance floor ready and jack worthy. After a 5 minute cool down session out came the whipped frosting of smooth funk topped with a few chopped strawberry vocals. Yes!!!!

It was the mix’s harmonious flavors from swing house to Tommy Largo’s own funky houser, “Bake A Cake” that made the room sway from left to right. Other notables included DJ Gemini’s, “Where Do I Go?” Tommy Largo’s upcoming, “More Love To Give” and the whimsical Chris Carrier’s ““Beat Du Matin.”

The end result was a melt-in-your-mouth morsel full of robust flavor of funky dance beats that jacked the body. Served up on a heaping platter of foot-stomping and hand-clapping rhythms the sounds fell fresh on deprived ears of jack lovers. The mix, so moist, fell from the speakers and fed the hungry mouths. The music, so easy to swallow, caused the once hungry mouths to moan deep, “hmmms” and soulful “yummms” of filled satisfaction. The cake proved this is what has been amiss in the city’s house music scene.

The night’s only sizable issue had nothing to do with the music but the crowd, or the lack thereof. For a fecund international DJ/producer to travel across the pond and deliver jackin’ house-worthy of industry attention the support of souls could have been far greater and more appreciative.

Photography by Luis V for Dynamite Entertainment Group DEG