The unique circumstances that led to this 1st record to last celebration of MJ are the reasons why I will never be able to replicate this set. Jazz minded, I improvise every set and my own feelings and experiences do influence much of the vibe that I present. I learned about MJ while in Motown’s state just before performing at my 1st US based summer festival in Ann Arbor. I’m a laid back performer and I never get on the mic, but I stepped up and out and spoke up for MJ.
Blessed with 48 hours before I’d get my chance to go public with my mix of MJ (actually, not even because I spent all Friday evening at my son’s uncle’s “bye high school/off to Princeton party), I had my mind on Michael. Roughly 75% of these songs, I’ve never played in public. This is my translation of Michael as a fan and DJ, as a boy who grew up with stronger together black family vibes and Black is Beautiful all up in my head, and as a man who still embraces that exuberant idealism by perpetuating it and sustaining it through the magic of the music in the mix. This is one of those ‘can’t remember what I did last night’ sets, although, my first and only glass of red wine didn’t happen until after 3:30am. Dressed in a white shirt, black necktie, black dress slacks, black shoes, & white socks – I was dress to thrill and did so with rhythmic reverence.
Reverence describes the approach to laying out all of these songs over the course of a late night at Tillman’s. I wanted to be neat in the mix keeping in mind that I wanted most of these songs to play in their entirety. I’m not racing through these songs because I have five hours to work with in a lounge with a plush sound system. The atmosphere and design of Tillman’s wraps around you like a mahogany gold soul blanket. There are many instances where I nab the very last beat or vocal to bridge the song playing with the next up. Suspending my love for the pleasure center pleasing tease of the sonic subtleties of long blends to showcase Michael’s songs, and not so much of my style or technique, I guess that this would be the long form/long attention span tribute approach: blended for relaxed listening and appreciation.
This mix is in (J) 5 parts. I gave them titles:
Minding Michael Part One: A Good Time
Minding Michael Part Two: Dreamer
Minding Michael Part Three: Grab Your Belt Buckle/Music’s Taking Over
Minding Michael Part Four: Stick with Us and We’ll Show You How to Smile
Minding Michael Part Five: The Angels
Oh yes, I reached for the 12” of Another Part of Me and found the sleeve to be awfully flimsy. ‘It’s still on the decks at home.’ It killed me not to have that in the mix. I know that many DJs will cover all your MJ bases with their sets and recordings (WBAI’s Underground Railroad’s show recording for example http://themightygman.podomatic.com/ or Philadelphia's Lil Dave's collection of variations http://eavesdropradio.podomatic.com/) but “Another Part of Me” was the one that got away.
(Part One of Five)