Archive for April 14, 2015

THE JEDTHAI KNIGHT IN TAMPASIA 10.04.15

April 14, 2015

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Not too long ago in a land not too far, far away….

Invitations were transmitted across the galaxy to fans, family, and friends to attend a born-day celebration like none other.

Hosted by Serious Soul,

Scheduled guest Tony Humphries was to play an out-of-this-world extended four-hour music set.

Titled: Serious Soul Private Series #2, only 150 tickets would be available to purchase.

This event was not to be missed.

So with a click of a button, tickets were purchased, and the space cruisers were fully charged.

It was time to party.

21:55 Galactic Time

Two Alliance members of the House Music Excursionist Crew trekked to the land of palm trees and rolling sapphire waves. Their traveling feet stopped at the stairs of a Spanish Deco casa with a courtyard patio filled with overdressed collegiate yelling over “Trap Queen.”

“ATLANTA?!?”

“Yes. We come from the Atlanta Republic.” The two HMEC members announced to a couple whose mouths dropped while they waited in line.

“No entry till 10 pm,” announced the gruff baritone from a hulking gatekeeper. His barrel frame blocked a door that slightly opened ajar as loud thumps seeped out.  

The HMEC’s mission was further explained.

“We come to celebrate the born day of the JedThai Knight,” said the male house dancer.

“And to hear Tony Humphries play.” Lady Socialite interjected to the locals dressed in a button down short sleeve and a little black dress most appropriate for the humid air. For a few minutes, time crawled to a stop as the four pecked away at the screens on their electronic devices.

Then the door opened. The gatekeeper looked on, his demeanor now less authoritative. “You may proceed.”

Enter the aphotic room that was all empty besides ten figureheads including bar staff. “The locals call this Velociti where house and techno music lives,” explained the local wearing the short sleeve shirt. The male dancer wiped his eyes. He was hard-pressed to believe that before him stood his house music hero.

Theory of Thaisoul

Legend foretold a Disc Jedi must master five tests before knighthood. In the Disc Jedi Order of the underground house movement only select vanguards have faced and conquered all five feats. A lofty ambition, not for the posers but for the purists who are brave, disciplined, and determined. One Disc Jedi not only prevailed but excelled at all five tests: “The Trial of Skill:” the ability to slice ‘n’ dice elements into one harmonic voice, “The Trail of Courage:” exposing a musical movement to his hometown with grit, “The Trail of Flesh:” the ability to craft music that evokes a “Beautiful” homage to the passing of the most important loved one in his life, “Trail of Spirit:” the ability to defeat adversity with his inner sinews, and “The Trial of Insight (or Knowledge):” the ability to craft tomorrow’s sonics today. He is Jask-and rightfully so deemed-a JedThai Knight who is the master of Thaisoul.

The Theory of Thaisoul dates back to Jask’s birth. Born Jack Merideth, at the age of thirteen-when Darth Reagan ruled the Republic with an iron fist during his Strategic Defense Initiative-the lad took to the 1’s and 2’s guided by a Public Enemy rage. Music became a cynosure as he perfected his craft. He played it all; rhythm & blues, rock, electro, new wave and house music, the latter he discovered transmitted from faraway provinces. After his inception to acid jazz, he introduced the burgeoning sound to his hometown Tampasia Republic. Work as a resident Disc Jedi led him to notoriety, steady income, and pouty-lip admirers. His work as a music producer garnered support and hailed praise from DJs and house purists who heralded him a mystic JedThai for championing an Asiatic voice into the house of soul. Often crowned the king of smash-ups, his remixes and productions are resilient yet weighty. With a discography that reads like a DJ Order of underground house music, DJ’s namedrop Jask. To know Jask is to understand the sum of his passions: Galactic battles and….  

23:10 Galactic Time

Sade!?! Yes. Where there is Jask, there is the music of Sade. That explained the familiar refrain from an earlier hit of the band that welcomed guests to the born-day celebration. As lead vocalist Sade Adu’s alto disappeared into the mist that-already?-straddled the ceiling before dancing to the floor, the House Music Excursionist Crew male dancer questioned, “Why must there always be someone who lights up in my dance space?” Unbeknownst, a puff of smoke in the face would be the party’s least of concern.

Small talk and “YO, BARTENDER OVERHEAR.” were distractors, largely ignoring Homero Espinosa’s “Blues In A Rose” (Unreleased Jazz Mix). A magnetic energy pulled a horde of bodies not to the dance area, but-sadly-to the bar. The ever-growing cast of characters resembled those at the Mos Eisley Cantina. Their faces smitten with gin grins. Their backs turned to the JedThai. The party girl who stuck out her rump and cavorted about like a horse who then wiggled her derriere for a peep show at her white panties for a friend to Instagram.

Jask sensed the Darkside nigh. His observation stayed keen and undeterred. In battle, a Disc Jedi uses two turntables, a mixer, and plays songs for a dance floor: In battle, a JedThai Knight uses computer software, digital downloads, air horns and cinematic drops-and whatever else is at his/her disposal-and takes the dancers on a journey as the music slays a dance floor. With his index finger held steady, Jask punched cue. “I Can’t Get No SleepI Can’t Get No Sleep.” The instantly recognizable Masters At Work anthem pulled several bar-huggers onto the cement. “Jus Dance” commanded Mr. V as additional bodies followed suit.   The Dario D’attis Mix ripped the dance area into two: “For Those Who Like To Get Down” and those who scratched their heads flabbergasted. The Marques Wyatt Deep Sunday Retro Vibe Mix rang true, “Don’t Get On The Back of the Folks That Like To Get Down.” After all, this was house music for a “Housenation.” Thirty-two bars later, the Hosemaster Boys Doorly Remix morphed into MD X-Spress’s “God Made Me Phunky” (HCCR) as Mike Padovani’s “It’s Alright” delivered hi-brow sonics. A final blow to the cranium occurred when Louie Vega & Jay ‘Sinister’ Sealee featuring Julie McKnight’s “Diamond Life,” dropped from the ionosphere. The JedThai played hardball and scored with a Hardrive that penetrated “Deep Inside” the soul. Anybody not coming to party with the birthday boy was damned.

“Love Will Save the Day. Music Will Save Our Souls” read the quote on the Frankie Knuckles tribute tee that Jask wore. A statement Jask personified throughout his opening mantra as he honored the timeless DJ Code:

Where there is emotion, in music there is PEACE

Where there is ignorance, in music there is KNOWLEDGE

Where there is passion, in music there is SERENITY,

Where there is chaos, in music there is HARMONY

&

Where there is death, in music there is the….

 

To be continued….

words by aj dance

illustration by aj art

MASTER TONY HUMPHRIES IN TAMPASIA PART II 10.04.15

April 12, 2015

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Tony Humphries

The Force

23:00 Galactic Time

If Jask be the JedThai Knight: Tony Humphries is the Master Jedi who sits on the twelve-member High Council of Classic/Soulful House Music where his pedagogy serves two-fold; by day, ranking as guardianship of the High Council of First Knowledge where he preserves house music’s origins and by night, educating Younglings of house music’s origins.

That night, dressed in his signature black tee, Humphries turned a deaf ear to the classics and opted for a contemporary inaugural: House of Funk featuring Oliver Night’s “You Got To.” Track number four from his latest Tony Recordings’ “Miami Uncuts 2015” tanked. Listening ears moved closer to speaking cabinets to interpret enhanced sound clarity. Therein the problem lied not in the club mix itself, but in the communication of wires and cords that snaked crisscross from gizmos to power strips cohabitating electrical outlets. As the first song, the second track limped along. Not until Lenny Fontana featuring D-Train’s “Raise Your Hands,” the sonics kicked into full throttle. Perspiring flesh that swayed from wall-to-wall failed to applause.

With the sound system intact, Tony flew across the motherboard on his space cruiser blasting Shea’s “Where Did You Go” (Atjazz Floor Dub), Tracy Brathwaite’s “Smile” (Casamena Alex Mix), and Neal Conway featuring Dana Weaver’s “Fading Away” (DJ Spinna Mix) that all played like a digital website’s Top 20. Rather Tony’s motive was to advertise his week’s top 10 was a different download altogether. Either way, the house alumni danced, the house freshmen danced, one veteran NYC house dancer broke it down, “Many of these people don’t get it.” Several fresh faces failed to grasp they gazed at someone who had never played in Tampasia, let alone someone who had been a Disc Jedi playing music longer than they had lived on Republic Earth.

Thirty five years? Thirty-six? Perhaps, thirty-seven? What is the definitive sum of Tony Humphries’ professional registry as a DJ? From his initial invite to play at a then new radio station, New York’s KISS FM, to becoming the program’s MixMaster-by the way, no easy feat for an up and coming with a name to establish- to his formal tutelage from Master Larry Patterson, Tony gained notoriety at Jersey’s famed Club Zanzibar during the decade of decadence. At the dusk of the century, Humphries was name checked from the streets of Newark to Manchester. His Jersey sound landed him a residency at London’s Ministry of Sound where he pleased European palettes. He remixed the icons: Janet Jackson to Nina Simone, he received gold records, his pager beeped constantly. Exhausted and restless, he refused remix work until encouraged by the late Godfather Knuckles to dive back into the studio. Today you will find Tony’s signature scribbled across the digital universe via Tony Records….

And at the JedThai Knight Jask’s birthday bash as Soulful Session featuring Lizzie Nightingale’s “Made For,” cooled sweat stains and chilled dancing feet like a gentle breeze on a humid summer’s night.

The heat index cranked up on Crackazat’s ”Candle Coast.” The House Music Excursion Crew’s male dancer intertwined with a local starlit in a dancing duel, minus lightsabers. Over the head. Around the hips. Through the legs. Fall to the floor. A rollover onto the stomach. A forward jump on the balls of the heels. Standing erect. Perfect balance. A light applause.

“I’m trying to keep you from falling over,” said a lady to a character who struggled to barely stand erect on the wooden floor. He was that guy. The guy with droopy eyelids, an unforgiving slur, and disheveled dress, his aim to dry-hump and score. “That is what happens when you charge $10 all-you-can-drink from hours 8 to 10 pm,” noted Lady Socialite.

“Time for some fresh air,” She suggested.

“And a change of shirt,” replied the house dancer.

The two slipped through a back door onto a spacious outdoor patio dehisced with Havana shirts, stilettos and rompers. Hip-hop careened the crowd; left to right, front to back, in semi-circles: so too the libations, poured from several bartenders to waiting cleavages and V-necks. Bronzed beings slouched in line for the powder room. A tan collegiate offered advice, “To your rear,” on how to exit the Cafe Courtyard. “Well, everyone seems nice enough.”

A Master Jedi does not always travel the path less followed strictly alone. At times his contemporaries even the playing field. As in the Kings of House which Tony is one-third member alongside David Morales, honored by playing The Face featuring Kym Myzelle’s “Lovin” (Disko Mix) that caused arms to flail upward and “Yays” to vesuviate from mouths, and Louie Vega who appeared the topic of Tony’s thought. Convertion featuring Leroy Burgess’ “Let’s Do It Again” A Louie Vega Interpretation (Dance Ritual Mix) turned the disco out, 3 Winans Brothers featuring The Clark Sister’s “Dance” (Louie’s Dance Ritual Mix) caused the crowd to yell, “Even in the bad times/I wanna dance”-and dance the crowd did-Louie Vega starring Duane Harden’s “Never Stop” (Instrumental) cooled the pulse of beating hearts, as Jet’s “Uncle Sam,” on Vegas Records, brought the beat to a tribal simmer.

02:00 Galactic Time

“EVERYBODY GET ON UP AND DANCE,” a diva commanded. Her vocals pierced over percolating percussions and a tambourine that possessed the sweaty air. At that instance, veteran house heads’ entered into trances. Their sweaty flesh thrown against the brick walls like rag dolls after child’s play. And playing with the crowd was the trick up the Master’s sleeve. Add Loleatta Holloway’s vocal riffs singing over Hamilton Bohannon’s “Let’s Start The Dance” and Warning: The Dance Floor Was Now A Danger Zone.  

The commotion continued for another ten minutes. This was Tony Humphries at his best; when he traversed the music galaxy and aligned the stars of garage, house, disco, techno, gospel, vocals, and tracks into a dancing astronomy. His ability to “Wow” hearts of the novice to the seasoned spoke of his royal Kingship. Whilst leaning against the ledge of the bar, a wide-eyed thirty-something surveyed the action. He had no words to speak for his T-shirt summarized the experience into two worthy adjectives, “Serious Soul.”

words: aj dance

illustration: aj art