Posts Tagged ‘Ian Friday’
A steady down pour could be heard beating against the car’s windshield on the way to Tambor. The pitter patter claps of drip drop provided the trip’s soundtrack as black wiper blades lazily moaned, “Swish Swash” in a predictable game of back and forth. The night was off to a wet start as the day’s earlier sunny sky succumbed to evening clouds and precipitation. Sadly enough the thermostat reading fell too, giving way to cooler crisp temperatures. Normally such active conditions don’t befall a Tambor party but this night would yield so. Here’s to hoping the Tambor Tribe will mandate full attention and force given the outdoor obstacles. Translation: Oh I can’t go out in the rain cause I can’t get my hair wet. Sigh.
Already the warmth of the dance floor created a stunning visual improv by those assembled in motion, welcoming those entering the room. Someone installed a new programmable lighting feature. Right center, in the middle of the dance floor, dancers writhed in incandescent techno lasers of green and red mocked tattoos. The surrealism resembled a cyber rave straight from the late naught. The dance space was in the midst of a unique revival as the city’s dance crews were in full effect. From the likes of HDA to a b-boy/b-girl battle next door, faces of all colors exchanged names and phone numbers for future meet-ups. This party was for the spirit of the dancer and who can argue that dancers rule the night. Who better else to jumpstart a dance ritual other than Tambor’s daddy, DJ Stan Zeff by playing percussion driven afro-house under Wyoma’s vocals on At One’s, “African Healing Dance“. South African DJs, Goldfish featuring vocals by Monique Hellenberg on, “Call Me” (Culoe De Song Mix) spit out a gravitational pull that engulfed the heart a flame in dance right before song bird Jill Scott’s stunning prayer of “Hear My Call” (David Harness Harlum Mix) brought tears to the eyes as additional heart felt emotions cried, “Oh I (Miss You) (Atjazz Love Soul Mix) by the Muthafunkaz featuring Sheila Ford and Marc Evans singing a comforting tribute of one day seeing again the many recent souls that have transitioned from this life to the next. On that note the floor shook as Stan Zeff worked the mixer, looped the vocals, dropped the backing instruments and delivered a music drop that made the dancers rejoice with unbridled praise. The party was off to a serious celebration as the night’s headliner had yet to arrive at the event.
It’s no wonder the Tea Party Music moniker had changed to Global Soul Music. Could one really conjure the imagination of the soulful house community standing up to yell, “The Tea Party is coming to town?” Boy, you’d better run out of town faster than the speed of light. Global Soul Music’s mission is to showcase the world’s talented community of singers, songwriters, producers and DJs by moving out from the shadows of Brooklyn, NY and into the limelight of the world. Label founder Ian Friday was sure to test the theory at Tambor. It was his first embarking back to the never-cease-to-amaze event since his brand’s metamorphosis.
Soon enough from behind the black corner curtain walked out the Global Soul Music ambassador with Tambor’s assistants nearby carrying some serious hardware. After a brief sound check and set up by the sound engineer-that caused an ear squealing pitch that scared the room shitless- the real business was set to begin.
Ian Friday stepped up to the colorful control decks of shiny knobs and glossy crossfaders. The musical dashboard sprung to life in the twinkling of an eye. Its control panel announced, “ALL SYSTEMS A GO!” For what seemed as a few trivial seconds transformed into minutes of sound explosions. Speaker boosters exploded as subwoofers revved up the room’s RPMs (Revolutions per Minute) into combustible energy. By far this was the best musical opening statement from a DJ since who knows when……
Wait a minute. Was that Osunlade’s, “Idiosyncrasy?” With all the hype in the room surrounding the song, it was difficult to hear over the screams but yes, the deep-tech track worked its charm over a bed of sweaty dancers. Minutes later, Marlon D’s tribal banger, “Jesus Creates Sound” bounced into action as dancers dropped to the ground on knees and sprung forth on two feet and spun around in circles all in four count time. Saxophones screamed over eight-count thumps as a medley featuring Geroge Kranz’s, “Trommeltanz” bought additional heat. What was this Ian Friday up to? The New Yorker didn’t stop there but kept the dancers on their heels with vocals by Malehlokwa on “Falling” produced by South African DJ Kent and a fitting tribute to the late Whitney Houston with the Jellybean Benitez produced, “Love Will Save The Day” with both vocalists riding over deep beats to create exclusive edits. The stunning Miranda Nicole, standing on stage, shined with not one but two hits. The Ian Friday Libation Remix of, “Kissing You” and the soon to be released hit, “Looking For Love.” After a brief rest and fresh air the latter pulled the people back onto the dance floor with its sexy grip. Couples two-stepped, men’s and women’s hips swayed from left to right in provocative gestures as Miranda’s soft vocals chimed, “Looking For Love.”
After Grammy nominated Jazz vocalist Gregory Porter’s, “1960 What?” (Opolopo Kick and Bass Rerub) played the music lost a bit of its bite. Like a slow burn the party seemed to fall to stalled feet. Maybe, the cause was the sleepy afro-beat that provided not enough kick or the house music ballad that brought yawns and closed eyelids. Whatever the case, the dancers took note. Some took seats at tables or on the stage where a sizable group of six gathered to take rest. What a sore sight to see for a party that started off with an electric shock to the heart. Doctor, doctor, a defibrillator was needed and one was needed fast. A professional DJ knows how to rescue such dilemma and Ian answered the call. Former Blaze member Kevin Hedge with lead vocals by Rick Galactik provided the inspirational, “Follow Your Heart” that reignited sleeping feet and brought a wave of rubber soles back to dance. Tribe Records Zepherin Saint with vocalist Nathan Adams on vocals with, “Love Of My Life” kept up pace. Once again, Miranda Nicole’s encore presentation of “Looking For Love” filled the empty pockets on the dance floor with sexy gyrating bodies. The song capped the end of the house music session and marked the transition to two recent celebrities that transitioned from life’s journey.
Whitney Houston’s 1990 classic, “I’m Your Baby Tonight” produced by wonder duo L.A. Reid and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds roared through the speakers as Ian dropped the music to allow the crowd to match the songstress’s God gifted vocal range. (Good luck) Despite all, the crowd went crazy and shouted with adoration as a few dancers took seats on the stage. Up next, Soul Train’s founder Don Cornelius sat in the hot seat with the MFSB Gamble and Huff 1973 produced cavalcade, “TSOP” (The Sound of Philadelphia). Right before the dancer’s eyes a Soul Train line formed as the Tambor tribe leaders marched down and dancers showcased vintage moves from yesteryear. A few songs later, Ian’s signature tune The Jackson’s, “This Place Hotel” tore up the room as people danced to mirror the song’s lyrics of what would become one of the night’s stand-outs. Then bang the sound went out. Oops. Who was to blame? Every head turned to find the culprit. Was it Tambor’s visual engineer bent over, clueless at the lack of sound, packing up equipment after an exhaustive night of providing acid washed Tambor visuals of looped African dancers? Oh well. Who cared? As the music restarted the dancers left standing picked up where they had left off and continued dancing without missing one beat.
After the final note played, the Tambor family gathered for group photos with the Libation curator. They were all smiles as voices yelled, “Tambor” and digital cameras flashed. Outdoors the rain had traveled to a new destination and the air felt cool with a hint of loneliness as footsteps walked in the path of the moonlight to say goodnight.
Photography by Carlos Bell
Mr. Tea Party opened with his stellar crowd pleaser, Anto Vitale’s fiery, “Theorema Del Faya” (The Tea Party Vocal). Next up, Radiohead’s, “Everything In It’s Right Place” (Afefe Iku’s Mix) with lush synthesizers slowly built to a startling crescendo. Then came Peven Everett’s scorcher, “Burning Hot” that sent flames up and down the dance floor. Talk about burning the disco out, the track was on fire! Black Coffee’s heartfelt, “Superman” came to the rescue with soothing vocals by Bucie that cooled off the heated dancers with peaceful rains. After the downpour the dance floor was left flooded in sex oils by sexy siren Jill Scott’s, “Crown Royal” a white label demo provided by Shelter’s famed Quentin Harris and Timmy Regisford. Then Ian pulled out the old school radio sing-a-long of Rufus & Chaka Kahn’s, “Do you Love What You See.” The party people classic, “Off The Wall” by icon Michael Jackson followed suit for more dance and disco nostalgia. From the shores of North America to the coasts of South Africa, Culoe De Song featuring Thandiswa, “Gwebindlala” rang loud and free with deep tribal influences. South African’s current house reign continued with Black Coffee’s insane, “Crazy” by Manchester Englander, Charles Webster Slightly Deeper Mix. Ian’s own rework of Byron Moore’s classic, “Life Starts Today” (Tea Party Vocal Mix) jumpstarted the party as if the party needed more juice. Next the crowd lost it with Ian’s self-produced “Found Myself” (Yoruba Soul Mix). Immediately thereafter, house legend Kenny Bobien’s falsetto reigned from the heavens singing a soul stirring, “Don’t Be Afraid” (Libation Mix) another Ian Friday rework. Yet, the voice of another angel resounded gracefully this time from the late Jimmy Abney with “More of You” (Ian Friday’s Tea Party Vocal). Then the crowd was swept into its own “Heaven” (Marlon D & Groove Assassin Mix) with Detroit’s soul crooner Kem leading the way. Dance classics consumed the night with 1989’s “People Hold On” by Coldcut with British soul diva Lisa Stansfield. The Jackson’s, “This Place Hotel” made the room cry, “joy” while a downtempo jazzy number of Ultra Nate’s, “Twisted”(Re: jazz Mix) made dancers plie and triple spin around in circles. That wasn’t all, Manoo’s, “Kodjo” with its crashing cymbals and four-count thumps made the tribesters leap for joy in spiritual dance circles of breakers and fancy footers. The night’s closer and surprise, Elton John’s, “The Beenies and the Jets” knocked the socks off the music lovers scattered about the room. Needless to say, the venue’s once pristine dance floor resembled a worn torn aftermath culminated from Ian Friday’s catastrophic rampage.
WOW! What more was left to say? The diversified label owner and songwriter that seemed to have crafted half of deep house music’s lengthy catalog rocked Tambor into the next stratosphere. Needless, to say Tambor would never be the same from that night forth. What a Tamborific time!
Photography by Carlos J. Bell