Dec 25, 2015

The Suite Delight Best of 2015

To say 2015 is a year I'd otherwise rather forget would not be much of an understatement.  However, by doing so, I would rob myself of memories, moments and music that I would not want to forget.  I've lived and learned a great deal this year which is always a good thing even if what I lived or learned wasn't always good. As this year heads to the home stretch, let me acknowledge a few of the personal highlights. 
The Goods Present: Deano Sounds (Cultures of Soul)

It was a pleasure to know that the man associated with the World's Funkiest Covers compilation was the April 2015 guest DJ at The Goods.  I learned from another fellow crate-digger that he was in attendance at the Dreambeat Record Convention that day but fortunately I got to meet him before he took control of the turntables at Sala Rosa.   DJ Deano's set of jazz, soul, disco and Latin flavored tracks proved to be the best way to end an already busy day at the convention.  I, along with those in attendance, thank The Goods & DJ Deano for the music and making the night possible.

Lord Finesse - Under Pressure 

In 1989, on one of those historic trips to New York, I was up late in Brooklyn and scanned the radio dial in the hopes of finding a station playing hip hop.  To my delight, I found what was possibly The Awesome 2's radio show playing hip hop I naturally hadn't heard before. My first instinct was to reach for an audiocassette and hit the record button.  One song, if not the only one, I really remember from that night was what I'd learn to be Lord Finesse & DJ Mike Smooth's Keep The Crowd Listening.  I eventually bought the Funky Technician vinyl.  I bought the CD at my earliest convenience as well.  On the night of the Roc Raida tribute at B.B. King's, I heard Lord Finesse could/would appear a few years ago and bought the booklet and a Sharpie just in case. To my surprise, the Funkyman was standing outside the venue.  He was scheduled to perform that night but his performance was cancelled at the last minute. I got the booklet signed and to speak with him briefly.  He asked me how I had that booklet on me. I explained that once I knew who was performing at CMJ that year, I grabbed all of the CD booklets of the artists in the event I’d be lucky enough to get their autograph. I missed the opportunity to have handed him my Funky Technician CD booklet that he had already signed years ago. Had I been more prepared I would have handed him the booklet along with my From The Crates To The Files album to see his reaction. As for my reactions, I nearly went hoarse screaming the lyrics to Funky Technician and/or Bad Mutha. I was happy to know Lord Finesse was going to perform at Under Pressure 2015. I might have been a bit happier had he done a DJ set as I've learned he had been doing more of that in recent years.  However for him to have performed classics from his albums live was a great treat.

The Soul Motivators

Brad Slyde mentioned an Ontario funk band to me years ago and surely must have played a track or two for me to hear. I remember making a mental note about the band. He told me he would be opening for The Soul Motivators show at Bobards. Up until that night I had not seen or heard a live act most likely since Under Pressure. The opportunity to check out a funky music band live was overdue and welcome. I got to meet members of the band before, during and after their performance. I was grateful to have left the venue with their entire catalogue which will find its way onto The Suite Delight playlists in the upcoming year.

“I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You: Aretha Franklin, Respect, and the Making of a Soul Music Masterpiece” - Matt Dobkin

2015 could easily be the year of Aretha Franklin for me.  I managed to find all of her remaining Altantic Records studio albums that I was missing.  I was at Indigo bookstore and discovered there is an extensive book about Aretha Franklin. For whatever reason, I was drawn to it and finding out more about her time at Atlantic Records. I browsed the book briefly and the vintage photos of her and other Atlantic Records associates peaked my interest. I forgot I wanted to buy the book but remembered to borrow it from the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec along with another book that specifically details events leading up to Aretha recording her Atlantic Records debut album. 
I was proud to have finished the book and happy to move onto the next book I was renewing for weeks as well.

Prince - Bell Center

I'll admit I was a little leery about seeing Prince perform live again after his legendary Festival International de Jazz de Montréal performances at Metropolis in 2012.  Prince's show at Metropolis was possibly the best concert of my life and I didn't want anything to tamper with that night.  However, this is Prince we are talking about and I was not going to let another night of him performing his hits live slide by me. 

Jean-Michel Basquiat: Now's the Time - Art Gallery of Ontario

The name Jean-Michel Basquiat as an artist was synonymous with early hip hop culture but I never saw any of his work.  Ironically similar to my not seeing the iconic film Wild Style until April 2015, I got to see the AGO's exhibit a week before its closing in May 2015.
Similar to the Afrika Bambaataa Records Exhibit from a few years ago, I knew I had to go to the AGO to see the Basquiat exhibition. I remember a movie called Basquiat from a few years ago but paid it no mind.  Funny enough almost all of the actors in the film are among my favourites or become favorites since its release.  I took notice of the name Jeffrey Wright as he was winning awards for his performances in films and remembered he was in the film about the artist.

The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966, The "Royal Albert Hall" Concert

I made an impromptu trip to Ontario one weekend and just before I made my way back home, I ducked into a local record store. I recognized Bob Dylan's voice on what appeared to be a live recording.  I am a fan of Bob Dylan's 1960s music and hearing the live recording definitely caught my ear and attention.  The live recording was my soundtrack as I browsed the records and the more time passed was the more I was entranced by the music.
I asked the man behind the counter what we were listening to and he said it was Bob Dylan Live 1966.  Minutes later, I asked to buy the CD.  He told me it was the store owner's copy.  After another few minutes later, I asked him to call his store owner to ask if I could buy it. That didn't fly and I left the store with a new quest. I have already visited most of the music stores selling modern Music and haven't found one yet.  I’ve never been the biggest fan of recorded live concerts but there is something magical about the Bob Dylan Live 1966.

The Goods @ Piknic Électronik

It was a foregone conclusion that I was going to check out The Goods Soundsystem at Piknic Électronik.  It has been known for over a decade that the last Saturday night of the month at Sala Rosa is where you should be for a staple Montreal dance party.  I was given anohter opportunity to catch the duo DJ live and took it.  I was curious to know what they would play in the more electronic music milieu. 

Golddiggers @ Piknic Électronik

Michael Terzian & Rawsoul spun the type of house music I really enjoy listening to and made my afternoon a joy.

Ondatrópica @ Nuits D'Afrique

I have been a fan of Quantic's work for years since discovering his name.  I was fortunate to have caught one of his DJ sets in Montreal a few years ago.  When I learned he would be performing with Ondatrópica for Nuits D'Afrique, I knew I'd have to be there.  Quantic is one of those artists that I anticipate their next musical move. I was aware of the Ondatrópica album when it was released but didn't act on acquiring a copy. After one or two Latin/tropical flavored songs performed live, I made my way to the merch table. They had no vinyl but I resolved to get a copy of the album regardless of the format.

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