Miami being 2 weeks behind, it’s now time for us to fully do what you expect from us while providing you with a comprehensive review of the event. Global impressions ? An increasing amount of parties (some of them being cancelled almost at the very last minute) added to some heavy humidity at some time, not to mention the usual excitation. The M3 Summit undoubtly successful on its challenge to find its own niche facing WMC’. More live P.A.’s often in top fine quality as demonstrated by Tortured Soul amongst others and, on the front of the new releases, a noticable good amount of aural pleasure.
House music is far from having said its last words, even though we’re in the middle of a real mutation in terms of promotion, as shown by a growing volume of CD’s replacing the good ol’vinyl format…
MIAMI SPECIAL Pt I (IT’S PARTY TIME !)
Yaow, yaow, yaow ! Time to fully get back in action while delivering our most awaited review of that Miami event known as the Conference. Gotta say that it took us quite some time to recover this year due to the amalgamation of 24/7’s and the local humidity which, as a matter of fact, ended up killing our resistances from a day to another while reaching its peak on that Sat 03/26. Not to mention the noticable enthusiastic welcome we received for which we have to thank all of those we’ve chatted with here and there in the streets of Miami. One shame though as I wish we would have had more time to speak, but it’s Miami at the end of the day, isn’t it ?
Networking looks like definitely on its way and there’s nuttin’ we have to complain about. Miami has probably been bigger than ever despite the current situation having many actors suffering from it one way or another. This said, only the strongest are up to survive and it looks like the scene is coming into a new era committed into some deepa projects.
I’ve seen myself so many people in France incl. reputed observers saying that house music is dead. Ironically, none of’em was there. Anyway, let’s hope that we’ll proove’em altogether how wrong they are and how far they are from the expectations of an ever growing crowd, judging by the increasing amount of you visiting us on a daily basis.
Hard times have this advantage of seing people trying to get out of’em while trying to provide us with the very best they have on purpose and it has definitely been the case this year with real good parties, interesting DJ sets and dope new choons opening for numerous album projects and this doesn’t only apply to the NY scene, which we really have to enjoy, but the whole scene reaching new levels productionwise.
We wish we would have been able to attend the Underground Collective Party this year as an opener. Alas, nuttin’ had been done for us on the guest list although we’d been cueing since the first hour, so we stayed at the Re-Union Party and there was nothing to say but the good about it as Alma NYC resident DJ True was in full versatility effect and DJ Romain really rocked the floor with his typical blends of soulful house and revisited classics, which ended to be the ideal path for us to step into the Miami atmosfear…
Although many of you might think of us as sort of spoilts chaps being paid for chilling, tanning, partying and drinking under the sun, life ends up being quite different when in the shoes of some supposed observers whose job is to deliver as many infos as we can. In other words, not content with partying all nite, we also had the same kind of thing to do starting sometimes from 12.00 am then wander from a place to another one til the morning lites which, at the end of the day (or shall I say the beginning of the following one), made quite a whole on its own, having us reaching the reasonnable amount of 8 parties a day at some time !!!
We started then the day after (on Tuesday then) making a first stop at the Dub Fu Promo Session party where we eventually would meet our said ‘cousins’ - the Canadian community - as friendly as usual and busy as ever from Therapy honcho jojoflores and family to head of Montreal’s Inbeat record store Christian Pronovost, Rise Ashen, Fred Everything and Alain Vinet (amongst the latest commissionned by Cirque du Soleil to give a contribution to their remix album). Nice atmosphere, fine musical selections and a bunch of good new releases which we’ll talk to you about on our Miami Special Pt.2 report.
A couple of blocks further South and a radical change of environment by the likes of UK soulful house dons Bobby & Steve having their annual gathering at the Clevelander on Ocean Drive. Somehow too crowdy for our tastes which would have us going to the lounge where Jephte Guillaume was dropping Afro tinged tribal grooves with the help of a percussionnist in front of a happy gang of connoisseurs incl. Soundmen On Wax CEO Shuji Hirose who’s to reactivate his label any day now. No time to stay any longer as the arrival of the night was the sign for me to pay my duties while dropping some beats at Flute alongside Jellybean who I saw on his way back from the place, Romain and Mike Clark amongst others. I ended up spinning for almost 4 hours due to the late arrival of the one who took my seat and didn’t have the time to attend as I’d previously expected to both the 5 Beats party and the Therapy Gotsoul fiesta (too far from each other) and had a quick recovery snack inbetween. We then ended up going to the latest which was in the same area having some of our heroes - Glenn Underground and Julius the Madthinker - in full effect (as usual). We decided this would be our final spot for the night due to the crazy schedule of the day after.
With more than 30 parties featured on our diary section, that Wednesday was undoubltly the most busiest day of the event ; our first stop being made at the National by the beginning of the afternoon to attend the part 1 of the Defected reunion. There, we met quite a big amount of Detroit bros & sis, from Maurice ‘PirahNa Head’ Heard (who, as a matter of fact, was the subject on our curiosity on our weekly interview section), his sisters (Diviniti and DJ Minx), but also Kevin Saunderson who’s to be in charge of the most awaited event known as DEMF in Detroit at the end of May, meanwhile one of the Lavinière brothers (sorry, can’t tell you if it was Bobby or Steve) was playing a tune which caught up my attention, based on a Teddy Pendergrass 1980’s classic called ‘Come On & Go With Me’. Everything was definitely around to have this event as one of the best reminders of the Conf’ when a tropical shower interrupted the whole, having us going to some other party and honour some other pals.
Next stop would be made at the WDC Baltimore party which we didn’t have the chance to attend last year. There, we would spend some time with Ultra Nate and her Sugar team, then give a hook to DJ Oji whose partner in crime - DJ Pope - was mastering the ceremony in an awesome soulful set. Alas, the clock was runnin’ too fast and, an hour later, we was on our way to make a quick stop at Alex Escollier and Hanna Hais’s Sounds Of House party on Ocean Drive where GoGo Music honcho Ralf Gum was in charge of the aural environment. There, we ended up being said that Ron Trent had cancelled his plans at the very last moment. Was already time for us to keep on our Wednesday parties review when DJ Pierre made his appearance, ready to take the centerstage for a selection which, according to the ones who had the chance to be there, ended up to be explosive.
We arrived quite late, as opposed to the previous years, at the MAW party which took place this time at Nikki Beach. There, we could see noticable reminders of the rain which interrupted the outdoor events in the afternoon. Alix Alvarez and Franck Roger were busy inside meanwhile Jazzy Jeff provided us with a consistant selection of disco/soul/funk gems outside, showing his incredible hip hop DJing skills in front of a conquered crowd. Just had the chance to have some extra contribution from Glenn Underground inside before thinking of our following destination ; the West End party which, remembering last year’s edition (at the same place) we wouldn’t miss for a fortune.
Tons of sweet souvenirs got back on our minds while on our way to the St Augustine Hotel where our friends were having their reunion. I then would learn from Mel (Cheren) that he was thinking about giving a part 2 to his book, that Dennis Ferrer was putting the final touches to his debut album, that Ibadan CEO Jerome Sydenham was working on an electronic tinged CD mix as a part to his label 10th Anniversary celebration, before meeting the winner of this year’s West End contest. I gotta personally say that I very much prefer the intimacy of that kind of party, allowing us to go from a place to another and get news from the people we’re talking about on these pages from a month to another, as opposed to those parties where you can’t move a single toe. We then had a short dinner prior going to the Jellybean party where Melting Pot NYC resident Kervyn Mark was moving the crowd in fine style eventually giving us the pleasure to listen to a piece of music which to me stands as one - if not the one - of this year’s Conf’ tunes. An atmospheric delite called ‘Sampu’ which I’ve been said is the work of Joe Claussell and is awaited on defunct NYC Dub Spot record shop’s owner Makoto Ki’s label.
Rumours are flying on forums here and there about the announced death of the vinyl format. Well, judging by the numerous promos which we’ve been provided with on CD, it looks obvious that our good ol’pieces of black wax have their golden age behind them, eventually replaced by mp3’s as notoriously demonstrated on traxsource.com but also on Kevin Hedge’s recent decision to have his West End label’s efforts concentrating on that direction, although there’s nothing to replace THE thing in the minds of a vaste majority of those who were born with the vinyl…
Already Thursday and another bunch of festivities to attend, the first of which being The Soulflower Party as an opener to the M3 Sunset Sessions by the poolside of the Surfcomber Hotel which ended up to be the ideal space for networking the way we used to do back in the daze at the Fontainebleau. Friendly atmosphere - thanks to Jodi Blea who hosted the event - no attitude and good selectors such as Eric Kupper, Kerri Chandler and Matthias Heilbronn, to be followed a little bit later on by Chicagoan Greenskeepers weird live performance on stage mixing about evrything but the kitchen sink in terms of influences… Light years away from Jersey Soul Groove label’s party where we would go right after, being offered the right to have a fine taster of those typical NJ soulful soundz by the likes of Shaheer Williams (thanks to Sweet Sarah for her cool welcome), taking the time to have a short conv with Kenny Bobien and Madame (Stephanie Cooke) both working on their respective forthcoming albums.
With another three parties on our agenda, our marathon was far from being ended on that same day. After refuelling our bodies at some Peruvian restaurant, we had planned to start what was our Thursday tour d’horizon Pt.2 with what was supposed to be Sound Beneath Atlantis on our minds and ended up being the Back To Paradise party, being provided with a bulk of 70’s classics and rarities (the famous ‘Street Players’ by Chicago amongst others) by Victor Rosado at the top of his form, meanwhile the SBA party was just happening on the other side of the street at Buck 15. Quite a change of atmosphere indeed from a place to another, discovering one of those environments (redesigned for the circumstances by the likes of Puma footwear) and atmospheres much reminding of what you may see on UK magazine Straight No Chaser’s pages. Atlanta MJQ Concourse resident Kai Alce was just finishing his work sound to be replaced by Chicago vet Chez Damier doing his first appearance behind the decks after a 7 year hiatus. An absolutely not to be missed event where I got introduced to Puma North Amercia’s representative Khairi Mdnor by Rude Movements co resident Tyler Askew telling me that their Rude vs Puma party which was supposed to take place the night after at Nocturnal alongside Aquabooty 05 had been relocated at the very last moment at Opium Gardens.
We put an end to nightlife tour makin’ a last stop at the Roots party featuring Kevin Hedge, Louie Vega and his band and some South African friends of theirs by the likes of B.O.P. and despite our late arrival (thanks to the people at the door who asked 3 members of our team to pay 5 Bucks per person, by the way !!!), the place was still packed. I managed to meet Greg of famous S.A. radio YFM who talked to me about their festivities due to happen the week after, having Franck Roger on their line up amongst others. Then I saw the latest at the bar, obviously tired after so many efforts here and there DJwise since the beg of the week.
We was happy not to have to go downtown but instead at the Opium Gardens on Friday to attend the relocated Rude vs Puma/Aquabooty 05 party, being offered a couple of fine live performances from hip hop band Platinum Pied Pipers and Osunlade, another fine selection by Rude Movements 1/3 Karl Injex and a compact groovy set by Kerri Chandler with some added tunes by Roy Davis Jr at some time. And ooops, was to forget that wonderful package which I got offered by Khairi Mdnor (of Puma) under the form of a stunning limited 5X12’’ package for the event which I’m now watching out as a pure jewel.
By the end of the afternoon, it was time for us to make a stop at the deepaSUENOS party, but we unfortunately arrived there a bit too late. The reason being too many people we’ve met on our way, incl. Shelter Records A&R Freddy Sanon accompanied by singer Ambrosia (remember ‘That’s How Much I Love You’) and other friendly faces.
Unable to see Danny Krivit at the Delano because of wearing some afternoon bermuda, I then decided it was time to take a break and make a visit to long time friend percussionnist Sammy Figueroa (who I happened to play at a couple of parties in Miami in 2002 and 2003) having a live perfomance at the Van Dyke Cafe alongside a pianist, a drummer, a trumpeter and a saxophonist and what a demonstration those jazz musicians made that night ! Litteraly awesome, having our hairs dressed as needles at some time.
By the end of the week, many of us felt like they’ve reached the red zone and we had another couple of obligations to honour that Saturday. The M3 Sunset Session 4th of the likes with an awaited live performance by Tortured Soul which according to the half of our team who’s seen it will stand as one of this year’s Miami hilights. But also the 3° Global party at the Marlin Hotel where the members of that respected Chicagoan collective (incl. Julius the Madthinker) rocked the floor. Awaited to spin once more at Flute during the nite, I then made another stop at Uncle Sam record shop to get a couple of new 12’’ then did my thang at Flute before paying my tribute to Detroit artist producer Malik Alston who was having a live P.A. at l’Entrecôte de Paris, then went next door at Sofi Lounge to get my mind blewed by Detroit DJ/producer Keith Worthy who liiterally banged the party. An other hour later and it was fully time for me to think about packing my stuff and going back home with what was my 10th Conf’ added to my bell and definitely not the last one.
Peace, yall ! MFSB
- JOE CLAUSSELL Sampu (advance) enlighting
- KERRI CHANDLER Bar A Thym (King Street/advance) hypnotic
- STEPHANIE COOKE Love Will (West End) seducive
- Mr V Somethin' Wit' Jazz (SOLE Channel) everywhere
- MIKIEL Say It Ain't So (Slaag) mental
MIAMI BEST NITES
- WEST END PARTY
a true family affair in a cosy corner with warm vibes and educated people
- THE SOUND BENEATH ATLANTIS
a Panamerican affair featuring MJQ Concourse resident Kai Alcé, Cullen Cole Trackmode Recordings CEO Brett Dancer and Special Guest Chez Damier for the very first time back in action behind the decks after a 7 year silence with internal decoration provided by Puma
jojoflores intl night session in Miami made it under its own banner with the latest + Glenn Underground and Julius The Madthinker as usual in fuuuull F-ect !
- BACK TO PARADISE
A name that speaks for itself with genuine vibes provided by Victor Rosado amongst others
- 3° GLOBAL
Julius The Madthinker, Monna & FLX are no doubt one of the emerging forces worth to be ckeck out. Expect a new album of them as well under the 3° Global guise and if in Chicago, don’t miss out their Wednesday niter at Zentra Nightclub !
MIAMI BEST DJ’S
- DANNY KRIVIT classy
- JAZZY JEFF technically impressive
- GLENN UNDERGROUND groovy
- JULIUS THE MADTHINKER subtle
- KEITH WORTHY punchy
MIAMI BEST LIVE P.A.’S
- TORTURED SOUL (M3 Sunset Sessions) sensuous
- OSUNLADE (Aquabooty) conscious
- ELEMENTS OF LIFE (M3 Sunset Sessions) shiny
- JEPHTE GUILLAUME (Soul On The Beach) afrotribal
- LEFUNKEN featuring MIA (deepaSUENOS) soulful
- M3 SUMMIT : A young but dope organisation
- SAMMY FIGUEROA Concerts (Van Dyke Café) : A serious alternative as well as a safe break within all the house sounds around
- PUMA 5X12 MIAMI PACKAGE : A true piece of fine art
- JOJOFLORES & FAMILY : the know how welcoming guests
- TORTURED SOUL : house music is (a)live !
- Too many parties at the same time (more than 60 on Wednesday)
- Humidity rate going over 90%
- Too many promo snippets delivered as opposed to the usual full versions
- Lack of dedicated space/time in order to establish some real communication & still too much of a DJ to DJ thing
- Party cancellations at the very last moment and DJ’s not honouring their bookings (they know who they are) and even some of’em doing as if they didn’t know you (those usual short minded people should also recognize themselves)
Special thanks to Wilfrid De Baise of Word Star DJ’s for providing me with the flight and hotel accomodations in Miami. David Prince (M3 Summit) for his trust and support and Jodi Blea for coordination. Zuleica and Annette (MAW). Toni Tambourine (Defected) and Khairi Mdnor (Puma).
Deepest props to uncle Sundiata, Mel Cheren, Sammy Figueroa, Karl Injex and Tyler Askew (Rude Movements), brother Rob Wunderman, Michael Canitrot & KFK (So, Happy In Paris ?), Ron D and IDMW.Com Miami team members JC (for the pics), LC2long and Pouness.