Author Archive for Steve Kiviat

The Library of Congress’ Jazz Film Fridays, Explored

The 19th annual Library of Congress jazz film series (aka Jazz Film Fridays) includes such notable moments as: a young Warren Beatty as a comic on the run from the mob with Stan Getz’s sax acting as his alter ego; documentary footage of the late trumpeter/composer/ conductor Lawrence “Butch” Morris; free jazz filmed in D.C.; [...]

Trouble Funk Premieres New “Hump Day” Video

After more than 30 years in the group, Trouble Funk leader Big Tony Fisher decided his band needed something new. A fresh track, something to get them back out there. So he used the same method he's used as long as he's been in the business.
"I got the band together at rehearsal, and we start[ed] off [...]

Tropicalia Drops Booker Jim Thomson, Citing Financial Reasons

After a year and a half booking U Street venue Tropicalia, Jim Thomson is out of a steady job. The self-styled "global dancehall" tucked beneath the Subway sandwich shop at 14th and U streets NW can no longer sustain a full-time booker, says club owner Aman Ayoubi. "Unfortunately at this point, we cannot afford to have [...]

Mauritanian Singer Noura Mint Seymali on Her Band, Playing Weddings, and Arab Idol

Last September, Mauritanian singer Noura Mint Seymali and her band delivered an impressive set at the Festival in the Desert II touring show at Tropicalia. The ensemble's sound seemed one-of-a-kind, with its mix of traditional vocals, '60s psychedelia, '70s funk, and instrumentation similar to that of other contemporary West African desert groups.
Seymali and her band, led by her guitar-playing husband, [...]

Hop, Hop, and Step, Step: Doing the Chocolate City Shuffle

"Let’s hop, hop and step, step to the front three times and dip, dip." That's how vocalists of the Chocolate City Band tell us to do the band's new signature dance, the Chocolate City Shuffle. Starting with a funky keyboard and bass line, the song soon gives way to traditional go-go percussion. This is a [...]

Remembering the Great D.C. Drummer Ricky “Sugarfoot” Wellman

E.U. vocalist Gregory "Sugar Bear" Elliot doesn't mince words when asked to reflect on Ricky “Sugarfoot” Wellman, the former Chuck Brown drummer who died of pancreatic cancer on Nov. 23. "He was the best drummer the city ever had," Elliot says. "Not just go-go, all the way around. He played with Carlos Santana and Miles Davis. He was a [...]

Remembering D.C. Blues Guitarist Bobby Parker

In 1992, when Bill Duggan was looking for musicians to play his new club, Madam's Organ, he got a call. The person on the phone said, "My name is Bobby Parker and I am the blues." Duggan hired him. "We opened on Halloween 1992 with Bobby Parker," the owner says, "and he died 21 years to [...]

Remembering D.C. Soul Star Al Johnson

Al Johnson, a former Howard University student who achieved popular success with The Unifics before branching out as a solo artist, arranger for mysterious D.C. soul hero Terry Huff, songwriter for The Whispers, and producer for Roberta Flack, died Oct. 26 at the age of 65. A cause of death has not been released.
In 1968, the native of [...]

The Maracuyeah DJs Talk Touring Mexico and Their Last Party of 2013

Local DJ duo the Maracuyeah Collective recently returned home from a brief tour in Mexico, and tonight, members DJ Mafe and DJ Rat throw themselves a homecoming party at U Street club Tropicalia. They'll be joined by DJ Marcelo C., a New York City Latin disco and pop DJ who mans the Rico Suave party at Fontana's. This will be Maracuyeah's [...]

A Chat With Walson Botelho, Founder of Balé Folclórico da Bahia

Tomorrow night in Cheverly, Md., Brazil’s Balé Folclórico da Bahia will fill the Publick Playhouse stage with 18 dancers, five percussionists, and three singers. It'll be for a special occasion: The company known for its martial arts-like leaps, bright costumes, and Afro-Brazilian percussion is touring for its 25th anniversary, and tomorrow night, it brings more than two decades [...]