Category Archives: TV & Video

“Toni On New York” up in Harlem

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TONI SENECAL

I woke up early this morning, (having fallen asleep with the television on) to an episode of Toni on New York featuring our beloved Harlem.  I thoroughly enjoyed the vivacious Toni’s exploration of our neighborhood – its important and colorful schomburgpast and its vibrant present.  I am a native and long time resident of Harlem and I learned a few things I did not know about this amazing neighborhood.  The visit to the Schomburg and the backstage tour of Apollo with Billy Mitchell were

apolloparticularly interesting,  It was also great fun to see Toni sample some of Harlem’s favorite foods, escorted on her “Taste of Harlem” tour by Neal Shoemaker, the founder of Harlem Heritage Tours, which ran the gamut from wings & waffles at Amy Ruth’s to to red velvet cake at one of my personal favorites, Make My Cake..  I had not previously seen this show, make my cakewhich is both hosted and executive produced by Toni Senecal, but I am now definitely a fan.  You can check out the segment online or on Toni’s Facebook page.

 

 

Sunday Jazz Corner With Etta James

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The one and only Etta James.  It is sad to think we have just only recently lost Etta James (born Jamesetta Hawkins)  on January 20, 2012.  She was born January 25, 1938 and she died five days before her birthday on which she would have been 74 years old.  James was known as an American singer-songwriter.  Her style spanned a variety of music genres including blues, jazz, R&B, soul, rock and gospel.  Whenever anyone thinks of the jazz classic “At Last” they think of Etta James.  Etta’s version as compared to versions by other jazz singers, belonged to her.

James was married to her husband Artis Mills, whom she married in 1969.  They had two sons, Donto and Sametto.  Both started performing with their mother — Donto played drums at Montreux in 1993, and Sametto played bass guitar circa 2003 with his mom.  Etta James battled with Heroin addiction for years and her husband Mr. Mills served a 10-year prison sentence for heroin possession.

From 1989, James received over 30 awards and recognitions from eight different organizations, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences which organizes the Grammys.

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Now perhaps more trendy than ever Etta James is a “cult hero” with producers and remixers waiting in line to remix her legendary sound and style.  We continue to hear her though samples in rap, hip hop, electronic and pop music of today.  Her legacy lives on through blues and jazz singers in clubs worldwide honoring her sound.  Here she is singing “At Last” as only she could.  And the second video is of a young Etta James singing “Got A Hold On Me.”

At Last (live) [VIDEO] – Etta James

Somethings Got A Hold On Me (Live) [VIDEO] – Etta James

Sunday Jazz Corner with Abbey Lincoln

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Abbey Lincoln, was an American Jazz vocalist, songwriter, and actress, who wrote and performed her own compositions.  Abbey Lincoln (Anna Marie Wooldridge) was born on August 6, 1930 and passed along on August 14, 2010.  One of the many singers influenced by Billie Holiday where she often visited the Blue Note jazz club in New York City.  Lincoln’s lyrics were often connected to the civil rights movement in America.

During the 1990s and until her death, Abbey fulfilled a 10-album contract with Verve Records.  These recordings are highly regarded in the jazz world and represent a crowning achievement in Lincoln’s career.

Listen to Abbey Lincoln on ITUNES.

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Here is a wonderful live performance (below) of Abbey Lincoln singing  “Midnight Sun” with the incredibly talented Lionel Hampton.  The second video is a beautiful recording of “Throw It Away”, written and performed by Abbey Lincoln.  Some may know this to by Esperanza Spalding’s recent cover of Abbey’s “Throw It Away.”

Abbey Lincoln Quartet (Live) – Lionel Hampton/Midnight Sun

Abbey Lincoln – Throw It Away

Harlem hosts filming of New Oprah series Empire City

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Empire City is a new drama sponsored by the Oprah Network.  The crew has been filming scenes in Harlem.  More filming all over Harlem is planned.  The crew was recently spotted filming in the outdoor seating area at Harlem Food Bar.  Harlem Food Bar continues to be a magnet for filming of all kinds in the neighborhood.

Omar “O2″ White, the executive producer and CEO / Co-Founder of SoBro-based True Sound Lounge (TSL) was on site.  He explained that the show is about 4 individuals  from different walks of life who move to Harlem.  Below is a video featuring two of the actors discussing their roles on the show.

Omar also mentioned that he is working on a project to develop facilities in the Bronx to support large scale music and film production to support filmmakers focussed on Harlem, upper manhattan the Bronx, etc.

We look forward to seeing more filming in Harlem, and to watching the show when it airs.