Tag: David Bowie

MUSIC REVIEW: Prince Stuns at Emotional ‘Piano and a Microphone’ Solo Show

Prince; Live Review; Paisley Park
Prince played his first ever solo piano show at his Paisley Park compound on January 21. (Photo: NPG Records)

Prince approached the piano, a purple baby grand. He landed a single chord, resonant and bassy. He stood. He walked away.

As we could have guessed, Prince’s first-ever (first ever?) solo show last night at Paisley Park, his home compound in suburban Minnesota, was no simple, straightforward affair. The 57-year-old funk-pop wizard approached the performance as a challenge, an opportunity to prove that he could deliver a full Prince show without much of anything we expect from a full Prince show: No powerhouse band, no impossibly lithe dancing, no masterful guitar fireworks. Just, as the show’s official title put it, “Piano & a Microphone.” And a lot of Prince. Maybe more Prince than he’s ever shared before.

Prince framed the evening as an autobiographical struggle, the story of how he mastered the piano and emerged from the shadow of his father, a jazz pianist. The set moved chronologically (with a few exceptions) through the first decade of Prince’s career, including at least one song from each of his first 10 albums. Familiar melodies splintered into virtuosic cascades for a dreamlike effect, as though Prince was remembering the birth of his career in real time.

The night began with some introductory psychodrama. Elegantly casual in his mauve pajamas, that enormous afro dominating his slim frame, Prince took a stage decorated sparsely with candles, befogged by a smoke machine, his personal glyph looming from behind, illuminated by kaleidoscopic patterns. His voice was doused in heavy echo as he expressed the dreams and doubts of a child who sneaks down without permission to play his father’s piano. “I can’t play piano like my dad. How does dad do that?” he wondered, while attempting improvisations that, at one point, suggested Thelonious Monk teaching himself the theme to Batman.

Then it got sexy. Prince’s fingers were everywhere during “Baby,” a ballad from his 1978 debut For You that served as foreplay to the full-body workouts “I Wanna Be Your Lover” and “Dirty Mind” before the ecstatic squeals of “Do Me, Baby” provided the climax. Multiple climaxes, even.

Prince moved between songs fluidly. He introduced the moving ballad “Free” by celebrating “the freedom to say no,” later interrupting the song to wipe a tear and briefly mourn David Bowie: “I only met him once. He was nice to me. He seemed like he was nice to everybody.” Before we knew it, he was in the middle of a gorgeous take on a longtime Prince favorite, Joni Mitchell‘s “A Case of You,” which transformed into a bluesy vamp that Prince used as a lesson in musicology. “The space between the notes — that’s the good part,” he said. “How long the space is — that’s how funky it is or how funky it ain’t.” And just like that, he was was moaning the spiritual lament “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.”

The intimate setting was ideal for falsetto-wrenched ballads like “Sometimes It Snows in April” and “The Breakdown,” one of a handful of newer songs inserted into the set. But Prince never forgot that the piano is a rhythm instrument. If the old-time boogie-woogie masters didn’t need drums to rock a party, well, neither did Prince. He remade “Paisley Park” as a bluesy, gutbucket romp, and his pumping left hand recalled Ray Charles, a debt he made clear when he ripped into the soul legend’s “Unchain My Heart,” a song he recalled playing with his father.

“I thought I would never be able to play like my dad,” he said. “And he never missed an opportunity to remind me of it.” But Prince’s playing belied his modesty. His florid right-hand runs had a little of the theatricality of Liberace in them, but with more tasteful jazz inflections as well. Paying tribute to his past collaborators Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman, he credited Lisa with introducing him to the complex chording of jazzman Bill Evans then played the harpsichord part she wrote for “Raspberry Beret.” “That’s the whole song, right?”

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Happy 60th Birthday, Internationally-Renowned Supermodel Iman

Iman, amfAR Gala
(Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Happy 60th birthday, Iman!

One of the fashion world’s most timeless, elegant supermodels reached her diamond year today, and we’re celebrating her, of course. Iman—a Somali native who was discovered while attending university in Nairobi, Kenya at age 19—paved the way for black models to be treated equally in the industry from when she touched down in the U.S. in 1975, so there’s no better time to run through her iconic beauty moments.

PHOTOS: Iman’s Ageless Beauty Over The Years

We’ve noticed that the supermodel appears, well, ageless in photos both on and off the red carpet: Editorials from the ’80s look identical to ones from 2015, which speaks to good skincare, good genes and, of course, Iman’s inner beauty. The star, by the way, has been dishing about turning the big 6-0 this week, opening up to Style.com about what her next steps in life may be.

RELATED: Iman Celebrates 60th Birthday with Vanity Fair Italia Cover and Fashion Spread

“I do feel that my next step will be focused specifically on my age group,” she said. “I think there is a blind way that America thinks about youth, and that needs to change. Everything happens out of your own experience. And, let me tell you, a lot is happening to me now. I can never be 20 or 30 [again] and I wouldn’t want to be. I’m almost 60 and I would love to change the way people view 60.”

We think you’ve already done that, Iman—for us, and many more to come.

article by Nicole Adlman via eonline.com

Producer/Songwriter Nile Rodgers to be Honored with Vanguard Award During This Year’s Grammys Celebration

56th GRAMMY Awards - Press Room

Nile Rodgers, the songwriter and producer behind Chic’s “Le Freak,” David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance,” and Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family,” will be honored by the Recording Academy’s Producers and Engineers Wing at a special tribute on February 3.  As part of the official roster of Grammy week events, the evening will include appearances by nine-time Grammy nominee Ledisi, six-time Grammy winner Al Jarreau, and Def Jam co-founder Rick Rubin.

Rodgers co-founded the legendary band Chic with Bernard Edwards in the late ‘70s, and capitalized on disco’s popularity with a string of hits including “Good Times” and “I Want Your Love.”  Rodgers also produced for top artists such as Madonna and Diana Ross, and won the Grammy for Record of the Year for Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” along with Pharrell Williams in 2014.

Rodgers will also be awarded the Vanguard Award at this year’s MojaMoja Pre-Grammy Brunch, an annual event hosted by KCRW’s Garth Trinidad.  In March, Chic will release a new album entitled It’s About Time.  

article by Rhonda Nicole via theurbandaily.com

Beyoncé Exhibit to Debut at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum

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In this Thursday, July 17, 2014 photo, from left, outfits from Beyonce’s 2013 Super Bowl performance, 2011″Sweet Dreams,” 2003 “Single Ladies” and 2003 “Dangerously in Love” are displayed in a new exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. The Rock Hall announced Friday, July 18, 2014, that outfits from Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance and music videos will debut Tuesday in the Ahmet Ertegun Main Exhibit Hall in its Legends of Rock section next to iconic pieces from Michael Jackson, David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

NEW YORK (AP) – A fashion exhibit centered on Beyoncé will debut at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in a section previously featuring only Hall of Famers.  The Rock Hall announced today that outfits from Beyoncé’s Super Bowl performance and music videos will debut Tuesday in the Ahmet Ertegun Main Exhibit Hall in its Legends of Rock section, next to iconic pieces from Michael Jackson, David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen.

The 32-year-old Beyoncé would be eligible for induction into the Rock Hall as a member of Destiny’s Child in 2022 and as a solo artist in 2027.  The exhibit in Cleveland, Ohio, will feature Beyonce’s ubiquitous black leotard from her “Single Ladies” music video, as well as her body suit, skirt and jacket from her Super Bowl performance last year in New Orleans.

Rock Hall curator Meredith Rutledge-Borger said they have been trying to court Beyonce “for a really long time.”  “When we looked at the depth of the amount of stuff that she was willing to send, we just thought, ‘The only way we can really showcase these items is to put them in the Legends of Rock area in the museum,’ which really is the spot that we have to pay tribute to legends of rock, which Beyonce has proven herself to be,” she said in an interview.

Lee Anne Callahan-Longo, the general manager of Beyonce’s production house, Parkwood Entertainment, said the singer was honored and humbled by the opportunity to have her personal items in the museum.

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