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Month: August 2019

soulBlog: Not D’Void of Funk, 8/31/19 (TSS will be preempted today, but there is a plan)

WYEP is preempting TSS on 8/31/19, but I cooked up something to tide you over. I held back on delivering two archives of The Soul Show’s sister program for a day like this. Here are six hours of programming, and maybe this will be the first time you’ll hear the WTJX program. It’s also listener-supported radio, but with even fewer breaks. When the show started a year ago, I broke the listeners in slowly, with more classic soul and less edgy material, but the break-in period ended around May 2019. It’s now full-fledged TSS. Enjoy.

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soulBlog: Shows of Note through Labor Day (including a West Coast Get Down member); the Bill Henry Band interview

soulshowmike’s Shows of Note

Here are the events I’ve compiled on the Concert Calendar through the holiday weekend:

  • Sembéne Film Festival presents “Nigerian Prince” at City of Asylum, 8/26
  • Kenny Peagler at Katz Plaza, 8/27
  • “A Taste of Soul” Jam Session at Genuine Pub, 8/27
  • Thumbscrew at City of Asylum, 8/28
  • Interval Jazz Night at Spirit, 8/28
  • Experimental Guitar Night at Brillobox, 8/28
  • Art In The Park at Penn Ave. Parklet, Wilkinsburg, 8/29
  • THA JUICE Official Release Party at Thunderbird (Starship Mantis, Clara Kent), 8/30
  • Jazz Night at Parkway Theater (McKees Rocks), 8/30
  • Musicalidades VIII at Spirit, 8/30
  • Tony Campbell Jam Session at Wallace’s Whiskey Room, 8/31
  • End of Summer Soul Food Fest at Market Square, 9/1
  • Afro Yaqui Music Collective at Highland Park, 9/1
  • GH3 at Wallace’s Whiskey Room, 9/1
  • Smooth Groove Sunday at Rocks Landing, 9/1
  • The Flow Band at Fox Chapel Yacht Club, 9/2
  • Flying Lotus at Stage AE, 9/2
The West Coast Get Down installment of TSS (US Virgin Islands edition)

If you’ve been following the West Coast Get Down action figures who have passed through Pittsburgh (Cameron Graves with Stanley Clarke at PIJF 2019, Kamasi Washington awhile back, Thundercat at Roxian Theatre, then you can check off another box with Flying Lotus. I devoted a TSS episode to this California jazz/hiphop/pop movement.

The Bill Henry Band interviews

In celebration of the Bill Henry Band’s freshman release “Ride,” we presented a three-segment conversation on The Soul Show (8/10/19). Here are the archives for your on-demand enjoyment:

BHB Part 1a
BHB Part 1b
BHB Part 2
BHB Part 3

….and here’s the entire episode. Enjoy.

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soulBlog: Barson, Funky Fly Project, Elias at Flood; ssm’s Shows of Note for this week

Jazz on the Steps: (1) Ben Barson (2) Funky Fly Project

Jazz on the Steps is a summer institution at the Homewood branch of the Carnegie Library, delivered by Dr. Jacqueline Young and Jazz Workshop. Two notable performances were Ben Barson (and compatriots) and Funky Fly Project. A nice touch: FFP brought Kool’s “Summer Madness” to its show.

Elias Khouri, Flood City Music Festival

Many months ago, I received an inquiry from Flood City’s management about one of Pittsburgh’s hottest commodities, and so it turned out that Elias Khouri’s band opened the 2019 festival. Notably, it was the first performance on the Community Foundation Oilhouse stage since new acoustic treatments were installed. It was good to see the band has retained the keyboard and sax additions that I saw last fall at PumpkinFest in Homestead.

A contact at Flood commented after the festival that they were “impressed by Elias’ poise in taped interviews and other contexts. Beyond his musicianship, he has a real talent for self-promotion, among many other intangibles. It will be exciting to watch his career develop.” 

soulshowmike’s Shows of Note for this week

  • Tune It! Tuesdays at Black Forge Coffee Shop, 8/20
  • Thomas Wendt at Katz Plaza, 8/20
  • A Taste of Soul at Genuine Pub, 8/20
  • Ken Karsh at Flagstaff Hill, 8/21
  • Spirit Sessions at Spirit, 8/21
  • Gene Stovall at Spirit, 8/22 *******HIGHLY RECOMMENDED******
  • Art In The Park at Penn Ave. Parklet, Wilkinsburg, 8/22
  • Gladys Knight at Heinz Hall, 8/23
  • Rock Reggae & Relief at Market Square, 8/24 & 8/25
  • Tony Campbell at Wallace’s Whiskey Room, 8/24
  • Ronni Weiss & Friends at Riverview Park, 8/24
  • Yoko Suzuki Trio at Highland Park, 8/25
  • Ras Prophet at Fox Chapel Yacht Club, 8/25
  • George Heid at Wallace’s Whiskey Room, 8/25
  • Smooth Groove Sunday at Rocks Landing, 8/25
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soulBlog: Joe Tex, Chillent, Shanyse Strickland

Joe Tex

Twenty or so years ago, Pittsburgh’s Jason Martinko became enamored with the Joe Tex music in the Tarantino flick Reservoir Dogs. Fast forward to now: Martinko has written the definitive bio on Tex, has connected with the singing son, and introduced Joe Tex II to Pittsburgh for a show with Martinko’s Braddock Brothers band.

To get ready for that show, Jason and Joe II participated in an interview that aired on the 8/10 episode of The Soul Show (WYEP):

WYEP interview with Martinko & Tex II, Part One
WYEP interview with Martinko & Tex II, Part Two

Joe is excited about his upcoming Vegas show with the sons of Solomon Burke and Johnnie Taylor:


Pittsburgh’s resident Jewish funk band Chillent introduced their sophomore release at a Roxian Theatre performance in July. Solid performance as always, including a Marley cover and a lot of their own compositions. Sruli Broocker (harmonica) lives in FL now, and it is good to see that he’s still connected with the band. Keys were added along that way. That’s also real good.

A little while after James Street closed, a small team that included Broocker produced a showcase of four Pittsburgh bands. It was the last performance in the building, and was recorded with the intent of initiating a local series . The project stalled, but Sruli is hoping to revive the effort and complete the video editing himself. It is an important archive. Fingers crossed.

Shanyse Strickland

I was introduced to Shanyse Strickland by Chamber Music Pittsburgh’s director Kristen Linfante, and have had the opportunity to record her work and interview her over the past year. She is versed in classical flute and French horn. A graduate opportunity at Montclair State in NJ has resulted in her recent departure, but not before she presented Shanyse Strickland & Friends in July. Genre-traversing pieces were performed by a collective of instrumentalists, vocalists and a mime. Beautifully conceived.

Shanyse has been working on a recording project in 2019. Once in hand, the interview will be presented on The Soul Show with the album’s debut. Stay tuned for that. In the meantime, we wish Shanyse the best of fortune in the next phase of her training.

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soulshowmike’s Shows of Note for this week, + concerts on the horizon

Shows of Note

  • James Moore Trio at Katz, 8/13
  • A Taste Of Soul at Genuine Pub, 8/13
  • Art In The Park at Penn Ave Parklet (Wilkinsburg), 8/14
  • Steeltown Horns at Enix Brewing, 8/15
  • Flow Band at Wallace’s Whiskey Room, 8/15
  • Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. at Palace Theatre (Greensburg), 8/16
  • Soul Merchants at Portogallo’s, 8/16
  • Miss Freddye at Narcisi Winery (Gibsonia), 8/17
  • Monroeville Jazz Festival, 8/17
  • Tony Campbell at Wallace’s, 8/17
  • “It’s a Fête” at Spirit, 8/17
  • Richie Cole at Highland Park, 8/18

…and on the horizon

  • Rock, Reggae and Relief
  • Frank McComb
  • Flying Lotus
  • KEM
  • Arrrested Development
  • Rebirth Brass Band
  • Dom Flemons
  • The Midnight Hour
  • Sheila E
  • Brian McKnight
  • Ravi Coltrane

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Stovall/Marsalis at Wolfies finale; Vine Rewind’s homecomings

Wolfies Funk Factory finale

Wolfies Pub, in the Market Square corridor, has been working hard to supply good music offerings on weeknights. One of those offerings has been the Funk Factory jam session on Wednesdays. Despite the solid quality of musicianship, spotty attendance forced the announcement of 7/31 as the final show. Gene Stovall happened to be in town, so when word came out that he’d be performing, that was one more reason to attend the finale. The lineup for the evening also included Woodruff, Anderson, Phat Man Dee, Alexander, Matt, Jordan, Watkins.

What we didn’t know was that Brandford Marsalis, who’s in Pittsburgh working on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, would also show up. It ended up being a really incredible night. Sometimes my 60 Seconds of Pittsburgh video montages can’t just be one minute long:

Vine Rewind Festival

Tim Gaber, proprietor of Pittsburgh Winery, held his 4th annual music festival the weekend of July 27th. Two artists who have moved away came home to perform: Jasmine Tate (my modern Tracy Chapman) was back from Fort Worth, and Lyndsey Smith returned from New Orleans. My first look at Jasmine was at the old 720 Café in Lawrenceville. Back then she played guitar on a stool, but this time she had bandmates from TX and Philly, and they went from laidback to fully rocked out during the course of the show. Lyndsey was her usual amazing. Make sure you see her singing on TV for the Steeler pre-season opener.

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Brownout at Flood City, Joe Tex’s legacy, Maceo Parker

Brownout at Flood City

I’ve been playing Grupo Fantasma on The Soul Show for a couple of years, but only recently became aware of their Latin funk derivative Brownout. Brownout reimagined Public Enemy’s work with their own “Fear Of A Brown Planet,” and prior to that released two volumes of horn-laden Black Sabbath covers. They very recently played “Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath” at Flood City Music Festival 2019. Judging from overheard murmurings of festival attendees, it was clear that many didn’t know what to expect. I did 🙂

Here’s a good NPR article on the Chicano soul movement, including mention of Greg and Beto of Brownout:

I interviewed Greg and Beto for The Soul Show on WYEP. Here are the three segments presented on July 27th:

Brownout interview, part 1: Intro through being from TX
Brownout interview, part 2: Bonerama through Bootsy
Brownout interview, part 3: Fear Of A Brown Planet

Joe Tex’s legacy

A year or so ago, Jason Martinko of Pittsburgh reached out to me about his new Joe Tex biography. Fast forward to now: I finished the book at 6a this morning, and interviewed Jason at 9a. Also on the phone from ATL was Joe Tex II. This coming weekend, the second-generation Tex will be joining Jason’s band for a tribute to the elder.

Segments of the interview will air on The Soul Show on 8/10, a few hours before the Hard Rock concert. Here is the extended version of the interview:

Tex II/Martinko extended phone interview

Maceo Parker at Ardmore Music Hall

I hadn’t seen Maceo play Pittsburgh since TRAF about a decade ago. Ardmore Music Hall is just this side of Philly, so the trek was made to see him there. (Note: this is a piece I’ve been holding onto for a few months.) The Ernest Stuart Trio opened, and you can hear a piece of their “Smells Like Teen Spirit” Nirvana cover. Robert Glasper has permanently affected everyone, and that is a positive statement.

Maceo was tight as always, and he gave nods to co- and departed Funkateers. Also, he presented his daughter as a vocalist. When I saw her, it reminded me of Joya Wesley, who manages dad Fred’s affairs with the care of a family member. This has to be a great formula.

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soulshowmike’s Shows of Note for this week

  • James Johnson III at Katz Plaza, 8/6
  • “A Taste Of Soul” at Genuine Pub, 8/6
  • Cimarron, Gavas Beat at Spirit, 8/7
  • The Flow Band at Art In The Park (Wilkinsburg), 8/8
  • Naughty Professor at Thunderbird, 8/9
  • The Last Poets at CEA Black Family Reunion (7120 Kelly Street, 15208), 8/10
  • Tony Campbell at Wallace’s Whiskey Room, 8/10
  • Joe Tex II at Hard Rock Café, 8/10
  • Funky Fly Project at Riverview Park, 8/10
  • Third World, The Last Poets at CEA Black Family Reunion (Schenley Park Oval), 8/11
  • Don Aliquo at Highland Park, 8/11
  • Smooth Groove Sunday at Rocks Landing, 8/11
  • Common at Roxian Theatre, 8/11
  • Wendy Eisenberg & Shane Parish at AMW (2142 Murray Ave.)

On the Horizon:

  • Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr.
  • Monroeville Jazz Festival
  • Gladys Knight
  • Frank McComb
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