Wednesday, August 23, 2017

10 essential Miami WMC jams…

10 essential Miami WMC jams10 essential Miami WMC jams… I guess I can say I’ve lived the Golden Age of the yearly Miami Winter Music Conference, being a regular from 1996 until 2005. So many images comin’ back to mind. From unforgettable meetings to rockin’ parties all day/nite long. Not to mention a bunch of tunes that blew my ears as the ones of countless people from a year to another.

If I had to summarize this experience, I’d first come up with the image of the pleasure we all had to meet up from a year to another. And most likely around the Fontainebleau-Hilton pool bar where we could have a chat in front of a drink and update each other with our respective projects. The countless goodies that I, as a reviewer, would be given. My first meetings with luminaries such as Frankie Knuckles, Tony Humphries or François K among others. Some lunches or dinners I had with Byron Stingily, Dennis Ferrer or Ralf GUM. The Masters At Work parties, but also the Magic Sessions and The West End Records parties. Or some firing mix sets by the likes of Glenn Underground, DJ Romain or Quentin Harris to name a few…

And I could also talk about the times when I happened to become a humble actor to the event while spinning. Be it for King Street’s 10 Birthday party or for Large Records. Not to mention those live sets where I got myself honored while sharing the duties with Miles Davis and Chic percussionist Sammy Figueroa. But also an edless trip I did by train from NYC Penn Station to Miami with long time friend Robbie (the promoter). And last but not least, the countless moments I spent with (uncle) Sundiata OM. Of course, we all would need like a week to recover after. But what a blast this was year after year.

As always, a selection is per definition limited. And God knows how many gems which did it during the Conf’ took the worldwide floors by storm soon after. As a result, many are those we couldn’t talk about here. Even though they would have definitely deserved a mention. Nevertheless, you should find thereafter a pretty much illustrative sample of festive pieces of art where the quality predominates. Be it from the melody and the arrangements, the rhytmic parts or the vocal performances. And most likely altogether as one.

Wishing you’ll enjoy the reminder as much as we did, while putting it together for you. With your feedback, and a mention of your favorite song more than welcome…

10 essential Miami WMC jams / Kim English – Learn 2 Luv (Mood II Swing Vocal) (Nervous)
1997 happened to be my second round in Miami, and no need telling you how excited I was once again at the perpsective of meeting such a concentration of talents. Not to mention the amount of festivities in such a short period. I would get back home from there with something like 3 flight-cases full of promo 12″ in addition to countless mixtapes. Including a copy of Kim English‘s ‘Learn 2 Luv’ which label head Mike Weiss had given to me. Still standing among my all time favs, from its upltifing lyrics to its vocal performance. Not to mention its production work by the likes of Mood II Swing
10 essential Miami WMC jams / Those Guys – Love, Love, Love (Basement Boys Records)
I can’t even remember if the WMC was used as a tool to promote this joint. But once thing for sure is the fact that I first heard it in Miami. That happened during one of the memorable Tony Humphries‘ ‘Magic Sessions’. I was standing next to the DJ both when he started his mix set. I literally got to 7th Heaven from the very first note. And as a matter of fact, from the very first note of French Jazz violinist Jean-Luc Ponty‘s ‘Computer Incantations For A World Peace’. Far from being the very first cut coming to mind in a club, but what an intro this was. Naturally leading to Those Guys‘ ‘Love, Love, Love’, built on a sample of it.
10 essential Miami WMC jams / Nuyorican Soul – It’s Alright, I Feel It (Roni Size Mix) (Talkin’ Loud / Giant Step)
The end of 1996 saw the release of the last ambitious project in the history of Dance Music. Its name: Nuyorican Soul with guest such as Roy Ayers, George Benson and Jocelyn Brown among others. Meanwhile, the Giant Step/Talkin’ Loud party would stand as one of the highlights of the WMC 97. It’s alright, I feel it perfectly summarizes the impression speaking of this event. With producers Louie Vega and Kenny Dope jamming on stage along with Roy Ayers. ‘It’s Alright, I Feel It’, one of the highlights from the eponymous album with Jocelyn Brown firing things up in her instantly identifiable style. And UK junglist Roni Size bringing it to an incredible new level…
10 essential Miami WMC jams / Aaron Carl – Crucified (Vocal) (Soul City)
Even though Detroit established itself as the epicenter of Techno, the groove has always been around in the city. From the Motown era to luminaries such as Al Hudson, The Spinners, Oliver Cheatham or The Dramatics. But also DJ’s/producers like Theo Parrish and Moodymann for its funkier side. Not to mention Alton Miller, Diviniti or Pirahnahead. If not Underground Resistance‘s own Mike Banks who produced artists such as Bridgett Grace and Davina.
The WMC 1996 was nearly coming to an end when Aaron Carl brought me to his room to give me a test pressing of this gem. Bringing me to a high state of emotion each time I come to have a listen to it. This would be the start of a continuous friendship between us until his passing on Sept. 30, 2010.
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