Music Minded Maniac

As a music lover ever since I can remember, lyrics weren’t as important to me as was a funky beat. All of that changed as I matured and paid more attention to the lyrics in a song once I started listening to music through headphones. 

About ten years or ago or so, I noticed a recurring theme throughout these categories I proudly coined SeXXXy Love, It’s Complicated and Funky Fresh Covers

SeXXXy Love

Sending both direct and indirect messages, SeXXXy Love is sophisticated, dirty sexual lyrics represented in a classy language, full of euphemisms you can surely appreciate; that is if you comfortably embrace your own sexuality.  This is where you get to “put your mind in the gutter”, as the play on words take you to a place where the room can get really hot!!  There are definitely a few shock factors in many of the songs if you listen closely. As much as we talk trash among ourselves and our friends about sex, the manner in which the artists deliver the message in the music makes you laugh, snicker, cover your mouth and say to yourself—or out loud, ”WHAT?!!”  Did he or she just say that??  This has been my reaction to a good number of the songs presented in the SeXXXy Love mixes.  You would probably otherwise dismiss these songs because like me perhaps you didn’t pay a lot of attention to what was really being said.  It sounds so natural, and soulful—the sensuality, such sincerity—something you definitely don’t expect—at least for me. If you hear a song you don’t feel is lyrically sexy in SeXXXy Love as I do, you can’t help but notice that the music is just as sensual as the lyrics—after all, they are soul-mates! Hence, the obligation I felt to create and present to you, the SeXXXy Love series.

See those three capitalized X’s?!  You know what they stand forsexual overtones AND undertones, freakish nasty moaning and groaning, smiling, laughing and soft air blown whispers you can clearly hear and imagine from the song, that could lead to a very SeXXXy night of SeXXXy pleasure. I ask my listeners to listen carefully so that they can get the full effect of what mood the artist is trying to elicit and wants you to receive—can you see you and your lover (actual or fantasy) in many of the scenarios the artist has created for you? I can!!

Remember that I am just the messenger 🙂

These songs have been carefully selected because of the SeXXXy lyrical content and shock factor they present.  I have an extensive music library I search by keywords and have found some real gems of SeXXXiness I had no idea existed–from artists I would not expect to have found such goodies!!  

These artists are versatile in their music and I find that they offer extremely SeXXXy lyrics, as well as PG-rated lyrical content.  You may notice these artists are a few of my favorites as I have used their songs in more than one of my mixes or more than one song in a single mix, including: Jill Scott, Eric Benet, Rahsaan Patterson, Raheem DeVaughn, Ledisi, Maysa, Will Downing, Floetry, Ty Causey and Jon B.

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Jill Scott

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Eric Benet

It’s Complicated

On the flip side of SeXXXy LoveIt’s Complicated is dedicated to those who don’t know where they stand in their relationship. It’s Complicated is dedicated to those who have communication issues.  It’s about the things that matter and maybe the things that really don’t matter. It’s about forbidden love. It’s about either one who has been emotionally scorned in one way or another, yet still loving the one who caused that pain.  It’s about falling down and getting back up.

The It’s Complicated mixes also tell stories of the world’s struggles; we are all in need of helping and healing one another. These songs will strike a chord somewhere within your soul.  The artists’ delivery of the song places you right smack dab in the middle of the story they are depicting for those of us who can, in fact identify with the particular situation.  You can’t help but feel their emotions—and that is one of the many splendors of music—it evokes feelings from deep down…

Ultimately, the It’s Complicated mixes are about letting it all out, they assist with acceptance and moving on with life’s ups and downs.

Rahsaan Patterson

Raheem DeVaughn

Ledisi

Maysa

Will Downing

Floetry

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Ty Causey

Jon B.

Funky Fresh Covers

Another recurring theme I kept hearing in my musical journey was remakes, or as many of us now refer to them as “covers”.  My take on Funky Fresh Covers dictated that I had to let my music lovin friends know that, here is a song you know, and it’s been funked up, but you may not know the artist.  Which leads me to another subject matter I will discuss in another post (ONUTSS). Some of you already know…

Stay tuned for the music mixes I’ve created for yours and my listening pleasure. Also, keep a look out for my photos and video footage of many events I attended over the years.

Please enjoy and share the  SeXXXy Love, It’s Complicated and Funky Fresh Covers  mixes in the following posts with those you know, appreciate good music!

Do ENJOY!

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The Smoove Grooves Series

This post has been in draft for three years, now. At the time, I’d published the first Smoove Grooves volume, and that was my first attempt at trying something new, more upbeat. Since then I ‘ve mixed an additional three Smoove Groove mixes and I am pretty pleased with the results of these mixes.

I usually create sultry, sensual mixes; this time I created an uptempo mix, with Smoove Grooves that will have your head noddin’ and body-rockin’. You can get your SeXXXy dance on with this mix too–hint, hint, lol! 🙂 The Music Minded Manic post details the sultry, sensual and SeXXXy Love theme, where you’ll get a better picture of what I’m talking about…

One more thing; many of my mix posts include my photos or video footage of the featured artists from a performance I attended; none here, so I just added a few of the artists’ videos via YouTube.

Enjoy!

Smoove Grooves – Vol. I
1. Breaking It Down – Petalpusher f/Ledisi
2. Children of the Sun – Positive Flow f/Heidi Vogel
3. Stillness Meets Me – Projections
4. Koko +Lee Roe – Mark de Clive-Lowe
5. Heaven Pt. 2 – Mark de Clive-Lowe
6. Youth [Intro] – Soul: ID
7. Stay With Me – (Grooveman Spot Remix) Platinum Pied Pipers
8. Breaking It Down – Liquid Spirits f/Raffaela
9. One the One – Roy Hargrove f/Renee Neufville
10. Perfect Sky – Reel People
11. Beauty & Sin – Soul:ID
12. Sex, Love, and Philosophy – Soul:ID
13. Know Your Name – Dwele
14. Get Ta Steppin – Hi-Tek w/Mos Def & Vinia Mojica
15. Earth Wind and Fire – Val Watson
16. Jimmy Down – Dwele
17. Searchin’ (Vibey Ayers Mix) – Steve Wallace
18. Feel That Music – Slakah the Beatchild

Liquid Spirits – Higher Ground
A few years ago I found this video just browsing and fell in love!

Courtesy of Pure Jazz

Heidi Vogel
Discovered Heidi from my Sista, Tracy who shared some really good music with me a few years ago. I love Children of the Sun where Heidi’s voice is featured on the second track of this mix!

Courtesy of Isabella Magalona

Roy Hargrove and Renee Neufville – On the One
I love this live version better than the studio’s

Courtesy of Renee Nuefville

Soul:ID – Love of My Life
I’m sorry this group broke up. This entire album is fantastic!

Courtesy of uduinc

Steve Wallace Sings La Donna E Mobile
I’m impressed by Steve’s talent on this piece! Pleasantly surprised to have found it.

Courtesy of Steve Wallace

Mark de Clive-Lowe
Gotta love this man! So damned talented!

Courtesy of Mark de Clive-Lowe

Oh wait, I found one of my videos!
Ledisi’s voice is featured on Breaking It Down, the first track. Her name is not listed on the original track and when I heard it, I knew it was her. Had to google it to make sure I saw her name associated with this song, which I’ve loved ever since I first heard it!
Ledisi performs Higher Than This at her CD Release Party, for Turn Me Loose


Smoove Grooves – Vol. II
1. Sound of the City Band – Sumthing 2 Ride 2
2. Marcus D -Titania
3. Mark De Clive-Lowe – Heaven
4. Miguel Migs f/Lisa Shaw – Give Me Something
5. JSoul f/Deborah Bond – High
6. Music Soulchild – Stop Playing
7. Soulive f/Ekene Nwokiye- Arruga de Agua
8. Jimpster – Closer
9. Foreign Exchange – Body
10. Lovebirds- You Give Me
11. Mark De Clive Lowe – Day by Day
12. A Forrest Mighty Black – Fresh in my Mind


Smoove Grooves – Vol. III
1. Jarrod Lawson – Music and It’s Magically Ways
2. Kool & Clean – Without You
3. Bebel Gilberto – Aganju
4. Leon King – Lizard Lude
5. Root Soul f/Leon King – Dream Come True
6. Slakah The Beatchild – Some Beats
7. Hill St. Soul – Feel Good Factor
8. Mark DeClive-Lowe f/Nia Andrews – Hooligan
9. Gotan Project – Last Tango In Paris
10. Down ToThe Bone – London Life
11. Liquid Spirits – Higher Ground
12. Mark DeClive-Lowe
13. Rasiyah – U Better Run
14. Praful – Sonar


Vol. IV. Butta Beats
1. Najai Soul – Just Relax
2. Negghead – Build It Up
3. Jazmine Sullivan – Music
4. Electric Wire Hustle – Thank You Steve
5. Janet Jackson – No Sleep
6. Mellowtune – Potatohead People
7. Tall Black Guy – Sweet Europe
8. Jamie Hawkins – Lost My Mind
9. Amp Fiddler – Dream in (Radio Version)
10. Slakah the Beatchild f/Devine Brown – Get Down Right
11. Atjazz f/Sarah Jane Morris – Fantasy
12. D’Influence f/T Money – Midnight Feel da Funk Remix
13. George Michael – Too Funky
14. Butts Fat Vibes – Slakah The Beatchild
15. Angela Johnson – All I Need
16. Foreign Exchange – Nic’s Groove

The It’s Complicated Series

How else do you define love when so many extenuating circumstances are present in a relationship… AND, still BE IN LOVE?

Jada Pinkett Smith said it best “Love can be exhilaratingly euphoric and exhaustingly annoying.”

The It’s Complicated theme of songs is dedicated to those who are confused about where they stand in their relationship and those who do not openly communicate on a consistent basis. It’s about the things that really matter, it’s about infidelity, a scorned woman, and a man in love who recognizes her worth, it’s about being hurt, yet still loving the one who caused that hurt. It’s about falling down and getting back up.

Love is… All of this.  And then some:

Faithful/Unfaithful
Selfish
Giving
Nurturing
The art of communication or, lack thereof…
Greed
Deceit
Trust/distrust
Heartbreak
Worth
Love is a cure for heartache Moonchild (Cure)
Regret
Conclusion
Vulnerability
Honesty
Devoid of…
Emotions
Extraordinary
Evolving
Forgiving
Dealbreakers
Generous
Passive
Romance
Love
Understanding
Aggressive
Patience
Looking beyond the clouds of doubt
Assertive
Amazement
Happiness
Supportive
Excitement
Dependable
Clingy

Love is a conflict, competition, and violence to our longing and desire for love. There are many kinds of love that give shape and meaning. How do you actively love, how can you tell if someone loves you? Love is and remains a mystery – Excerpts from Chester Gregory’s “Initializing”

Ultimately, Love is about acceptance and moving forward.

And the lust, oh I meant list goes on…


It’s Complicated Vol. I
Marcell and the Truth – Maybe I’m Not the Man
Lamone – Disgusted
Cheryl Pepsii Riley – Damn!
Mint Condition – Falling Apart
Chaka Khan – You Can Make the Story Right
Milira – Three is a Crowd
Kenny Latimore – Trial Separation
Avani – Best Friend’s Lover
Darien Brockington – He Will Break Your Heart
Faith Evans – Get Over You
Rogiers – Hollywood Story
Javier – Beautiful You Are
Junior – Stop Fanning the Fire
Jill Scott – Lonely When You’re Around – Jill Scott
Darien Brockington – (Interlude)Lover and Friend


It’s Complicated Vol. II
1. Chester Gregory – Initializing
2. Havana – Tangled
4. Koffee Brown – Chick on Da Side –
5. Gaelle – Parkway
6. Bilal – Sometimes
7. Leela James – Mistreating Me
8. Leela James – My Joy
9. Carol Riddick – You Better Not Hurt Me
10. Rachelle Farrell – Nothing in the Middle –
11. Kenny Latimore Make Believe
12. Kem – Missing Your Love

It’s Complicated III
1. Carmen Rodgers – Bittersweet (Interlude)
2. Jill Scott – Insomnia
3. Carmen Rodgers – Tell Your Story
4. Chester Gregory – If Only
5. Leon King – Faze
6. Marcell and the Truth – I’m Coming Home
7. N’Dambi – Ooo Baby
8. Trina Broussard – Not Around
9. D’Angelo – Shit Damn Motherfucker
10. Laurnea – Still Come Back to You
11. Leon King – Remedy
12. Mint Condition f/Phonte (Lil Brother) – Somethin
13. Gordon Chambers – Never Fall in Love Again
14. Foreign Exchange – All or Nothing

It’s Complicated IV
1. Kenny Lattimore – Interlude: Introspective Mood
2. Will Downing – Don’t Talk to me Like That
3. Ty Causey – Place in Your Heart
4. Jade – Do You Want Me
5. Rahsaan Patterson – Do You Feel The Way I Do
7. Angela Johnson f/Lisala – Walkin
8. Leigh Jones – Sick of Fools
9. Angela Johnson f/Trisha Angus and Lisala – Crying Over You
9. Jill Scott – Only You
10. Mary J. Blige – Seven Days
11. Laurnea – Still Come Back 2 U
12. Leon King – Remedy
13. Gordon Chambers – Never Fall in Love Again
14. Chico DeBarge – No Guarantee
15. Soul: ID – Sex, Love and Philosophy

It’s Complicated V (Cupid’s Hunt)
1. Ultra Nate – Twisted
2. Ivana Kotov – Alone Without You
3. Swamp 82 f/Nina Provencal – Falling
4. Mike Phillips f/Natalie “Floacist” Stewart- Fallin
5. Rogiers – The Reason
6. Damon Cooper – I Love You
7. Liv Warfield – Feeling Lonely
8. Jill Scott – Only You
9. Jonz (Kameron Korvet) – Situation
10. Rosie Gaines – Closer Than Close
11. Ann Nesby – If You Love Me
12. Carleen Anderson – Stories

It’s Complicated Vol. VI
1. Koffee Brown – (Intro)
2. Cleveland Jones – Sensitive
3. Frank McComb – Better off Without You
4. Laurnea – Doesn’t Matter
5. Maysa – Prelude (to What About Our Love)
6. Liv Warfield – I Decided
7. Eric Benet – When You Think of Me
8. Mikki Howard – If You Still Love Her
9. Ty Causey – I’ll Wait for You
10. Rahsaan Patterson – Sometimes (You gotta let go) instrumental and vocal
11. N’Dambi – Broke My Heart
12. Sinclair – Stay With Me
13. Eric Benet – She’s My Lady
14. Carol Riddick – I Don’t Wanna
15. Marcus Johnson f/Alyson Williams – Morning Light

It’s Complicated VII
1. Chrisette Michele Interlude (In My Heart-Convo with Boyfriend) and Mint Condition Believe (Reprise)
2. Noel Gourdine – Sorry
3. Spur of the Moment -Candlelight
4. Janita – Life Goes On
5. Carl Thomas – Get You Back (Interlude)
6. Roy Ayers – Gotta Find a Lover
7. Najee f/Sisaundra Emotional
8. Sy Smith – I’ll Always Come Back
9. Eric Benet Fun and Games
10. Will Downing – Do You Still Love Me
11. Lindsey Webster – Walk Away
12. Cheryl Pepsii Riley – No, But I Want to So Bad
13. Chrisette Michele – Interlude (In My Bed Sleeping)
14. Faith Evans – Stay
15. Jon B – What in the World
16. Physics – Holdin’ On
17. Mint Condition – Believe

What is Love? / What Love Is.

I’m Back! With the definition of
L O V E… I think ☺

Mixcloud is where my mixes reside, and a new supporter has been in communication lately, leaving comments filled with thoughts, opinions, and appreciation of my song selections, and the support has sparked a fire in me!

As artists often create music and lock it up in a vault for whatever reason; I too have unpublished mixes I’ve been holding on to for years…  I’ve been enjoying them for my own entertainment, perhaps thinking they needed rearranging, commentary, drops? Who knows?

Well, I decided it was time for me to release them– pretty much as is…

I’ve posted five mixes about love, in addition to a new but old, Funky Fresh Covers IV: The Upbeats and a brand new House Music mix A Taste of Suga’s House.

Below are the latest published mixes and the playlists that tell the story of LOVE–Whether my mixes are “Addictive Love” or “It’s Complicated“, they damned sure channel that “SeXXXy Love” vibe!

Many of the tracks incorporate situations where love is in limbo, however, are all akin to grooves I love within these associated themes.  Love has as many negative connotations as positives. No matter the situation, this is some Grown and SeXXXy shit!

Now, let’s break it down, shall we?

Addictive Love
The artists that produced these songs included in the Addictive Love mix, are depicting a strong desire to never leave the relationship, or get it back on track after mistreatment, etc., hence why I selected these songs and themed mix titles.

1. Ty Causey So Addicted
2. Dennis Taylor Feeling Good
3. Frank McComb Never Letting Go
4. Conya Doss What I’d Do for You
5. Janita I Can’t Get Enough of You
6. Kem Without You
7. Laurnea Can’t Let Go
8. Ann Nesby I Can’t Get Over You
9. Incognito Can’t Get You Out of My Head
10. Liquid Spirits f/Melodee No One
11. Darien Brockington Can We Fall in Love Again
12. Janelle Monae Can’t Live Without Your Love
13. Rosie Gaines I Can’t Get You Off My Mind
14. Ty Causey Without You
15. Mary J. Blige Can’t Get You Off My Mind

What is Love?
We think we do, but really don’t know What Love Is, do we? These songs and their artists offer perspectives and experiences on love’s definition. In there lies a story…

1. Vivian Green What Is Love
2. Lalah Hathaway This Could Be Love
3. N’Dambi Can This Be Love
4. Marilyn Scott f/Frank McComb You Don’t Know Love
5. Anthony Hamilton I Know What Love Is All About
6. Robert Glasper Let’s Fall in Love
7. Ivana Kotov Should I Call It Love
8. Zo! f/Yahzarah If This is Love
9. Eric Roberson What Is Love Made Of
10. Donna Gardia & M-Swift Love Is
11. Jon Bibbs Found Love
12. Nahjai Soul Easy to Love
13. The Floacist This Love
14. Zo! f/Chantae Cann All Is Well With Love

What Love Is: The Matrimony
What Love Is, is man’s and woman’s initial attraction, the newness of each other’s company, learning one another and all of that, eventually transcends into to a commitment–with marriage lurking around the corner 😍 This mix entails a great love story!

1 Interlude (Faith) Faith Evans
2 Got to Find a Way Frank McComb
3 Maybe Kelli Sae
4 All Because of You Conya Doss
5 Every Little Thing Chaka Kahn
6 Love Thang Rena Scott
7 I’m in Love Kem
8 Everything I Do Beyonce f/Bilal
9 You Are My Joy Faith
10 No One Else Amel Larrieux
11 I Believe in Love Leon Ware
12 SoulMate Iman Williams f/AB
13 Best Friend Tweet f/Bilal
14 So Grateful Jeff Bradshaw f/Coco
15 The Matrimony Rhonda Thomas f/Alex Lattimore
16 We are One Ledisi f/Rahsaan Patterson

SeXXXy Love: Sweet and Happy
And after all of that, SeXXXy Love Vol. Sweet & Happy is an up-tempo, yet sweet, SeXXXy, and happy love mix that makes me smile inside and out. Some of the tracks have that SeXXXy component to it, although not so rated semi “X” as a few of my other mixes. This story is more about the happy and sweet element of love.

Tamia Leave It Smokin
Jill Scott f/Anthony Hamilton So In Love
Will Downing f/Roy Ayers Lovers Melody
Renee Neuville Watching Me
Deborah Bond You Are The One
Kelli Sae Found Somebody Like You
Inner Shade Tell Me Something
Stevie Wonder My Love is on Fire
Terri Walker Forever and a Day
Zo! Holding You, Loving You
Rahsaan Patterson You Make Life So Good
Gil Small (RIP) Heaven
Teena Marie f/Howard Hewitt Lover’s Lane
Faith Evans Love Song

Cupid’s Hunt – The 10th Anniversary Celebration Special

Welcome to the 10th Anniversary for the Cupid’s Hunt Podcast Collaboration! Over a year later😑

I’m so elated and excited to present to you my contribution mix, the 12th volume of my SeXXXy Love series, exclusively for the CHPC Valentine’s Day offering. I was on time with my mix, but super late with the post. There’s no right or wrong time for love music so I hope you enjoy whenever you listen…

It was a real treat for me to create this mix!

Playlist

B. R. Burns – Freak

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I happened to look in a space around the house where I keep CDs and an unexpected find stumbled into my hands. A cd I’d purchased over 15 years ago by BR Burns, a Spoken word artist, introduced by Michael Baisden set the SeXXXy with his piece, Freak!

I was in the Divas and a Don book club at work. Members of the group included one male to the rest females, hence the name. And, long before Wendy Williams’ club from her radio show on KISS FM in NYC. We attended one of Michael Baisden’s book signings at the Barnes and Noble in the Bronx, Coop City store, and B.R. Burns accompanied him. How appropriate was it for me to find his cd to kickoff SeXXXy Love XII?!

Raheem DeVaughn – Temperature’s Rising

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Marsha Ambrosius (Floetry) Anticipation (Intro)

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I’ve used their songs on a few of my mixes–Raheem DeVaughn and Marsha Ambrosius–can always be counted on to bring the SeXXXy I’m looking for to include in my mixes! #thatisall

Eric Nolan Grant (The O’Jays)- Cologne

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I had the opportunity to meet 1/3 of the legendary O’Jays, Eric Nolan Grant on the 2016 Capital Jazz SuperCruise! I purchased his CD on the ship and found this gem, Cologne that fits perfectly with the SeXXXy Love concept. Cologne is my favorite track off of the Mood Swing album.

Chante Moore – Love the Woman

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Chante Moore’s Love the Woman album I’ve had since it was released and ONUTSS hosted a listening party for the album. I decided to take a listen (damned shame it took me so long). Once again, I found a diamond!

Just a Few Cats – Dance With Me

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Just a Few Cats’ Dance With Me I wanted to use a long time ago but never found the right placement. This was right on time! I had the pleasure of sitting in on a live performance while in Birmingham, Alabama, (my birthplace and where they hail), and met one of the band members from their website prior to the show. Just a Few Cats is also the band Ruben Studdard was a member of before he became an American Idol!

Carol Riddick f/Will Downing – The Way You Say My Name

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Carol Riddick is a musical force to be reckoned with and if you don’t know her, you need to get busy and catch up! Look at that photo, Carol is SANGIN! She’s amazing!  Will Downing, the consummate Chocolate Swooner has also graced a few of my mixes. Here, he joins Carol, who is also an assistant vocalist at many of his live shows. The Way You Say My Name is a SeXXXy duet that further escalates the mood for lust!

Avery Sunshine – Sweet Afternoon

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Avery Sunshine’s Sweet Afternoon is also a fun time for lovemaking! I’d been saving this song for a future mix and yes, it made it!

Gerald Levert – Good Morning

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Gerald Levert was artistic, to put it mildly, yet blunt with his SeXXXy, and I love it! He was so cunning, his soulful self! Those lyrics probably went straight over your head if you’re weren’t paying close attention to them during his heyday. Here’s your chance to revisit Gerald’s SeXXXy!

Nicki Richards – In Bed (Interlude)

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As I’ve shared before, I scour my music library to find songs that fit into my style of SeXXXy and In Bed was a hit! I also learned that Nicki Richards sang with popular artists like Whitney Houston, Madonna, and Michael Jackson, to name just a few.

Esnavi – How Beautiful Is He

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Dewayne Alston of Soul City Radio afforded me a wonderful opportunity to interview Esnavi for Razors Edge Magazine and she was a delight! Esnavi has the vocal chops you definitely need to keep your ears in tuned to –watch and listen out for her!

Komplex – Erotic Spoken Word Artist

This dude right here, had the ladies on the edge of their seats with just a bit of word artistry to advertise the late show! This piece is a smidge of what was to come later on that night with Ingrid B. and her lineup spoken word artists.

Gerald Levert – Wear It Out

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Need I say more???

Lenora Jaye – Do You Wanna

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Prophet Jones – Can I Take You Home

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My extensive music library brought me to LeNora Jaye and Prophet Jones’ album and landed me on their songs to round out my SeXXXy theme!

Brandon Williams f/Joi Tiffany – You Make Love Real

 

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I love supporting independent soul artists and Brandon Williams is a drummer/producer who has comprised a slew of accomplished artists like Alex Isley, Robert Glasper, Nicholas Payton, Frank McComb, Jesse Boykins III, Geno Young, Pharoahe Monch, Don Blackman, Li’l John Roberts, Matt Cusson, Choklate (first ONUTSS featured artist), Casey Benjamin, Moonchild to complete his album, XII.  You Make Love Real is one of my favorites and fit right into this SeXXy theme!

Terrance Martin – Ecstasy

Terrace’s Ecstacy I found by chance on youtube and fell in love with it! After researching him further, I discovered he is a singer, songwriter, record producer, and actor who has also worked with prominent artists in the music industry, including Kendrick Lama, Snoop Dogg, Stevie Wonder, Charlie Wilson, and Raphael Saadiq among others.  Another talent to keep your eyes and ears on.

Funky Fresh Covers IV: The Upbeats

This mix has been in the making for more than two years and my new friend from Mixcloud, Mutiny inspired me to finally complete it! Thanks, MSB!

I thought I’d up my game from slow, SeXXXy Jams to something a bit more upbeat, and it sure was fun!

1. Soul Cycle f/Mavis “Swan” Poole-I Can’t Help It/Michael Jackson
2. Incognito f/Jocelyn Brown-Always There/Side Effect (Ronnie Laws & Wayne Henderson
3. Full Flava f/Donna Gardier-Betcha Wouldn’t Hurt Me/Patti Austin
4. Reel People f/Angela Johnson-You Used to Hold Me So Tight/Thelma Houston
5. Maysa-The Bottle/Gil Scott Heron
6. Bah Samba-Portuguese Love/Tina Marie
7. Juliette Leon & Myron Richy Pitch
Modern Soul Re-Dub-Two Hearts Stephanie Mills & Teddy Pendergrass
8. Bob Belden-Kiss/Prince
9. The Murills-Friend of Mine/Eddie Kendricks
10. Beverlei Brown-Gonna Get Over You/France Joli
11. Full Flava f/Hazel Hernandes-Rescue Me/Taste of Honey
12. Soul Cycle f/Melanie Charles-My Cherie Amour/Stevie Wonder
13. Funky Boudoir-Never Knew Love Like This/Alexander O’Neal f/Cherrelle

A Taste of Suga’s House: New Beginnings

Welcome to Suga’s House!
It’s been a long time in the making! This is my first long-awaited attempt to mix house music!

It only took me forever; I’m satisfied and proud! Looking forward to the next follow-up!

These are a few of my favorite tracks that really soothe my soul and make my body rock!
DJ Hiro [Unrealeased Chanten Dub & Joe’s Unreleased Rough] – Koet Moun Yo
Blue Six – Sweeter Love
Shaun Escoffery (Dj Spinna & Ticklah Remix) – Days Like This
Elements of Life f/Lisa Fischer and Cindy Mizelle (Roots Mix)- Into My Life
Miguel Migs (Alix Alverez) – Mesmerized
James Biscuit (Kenny Dope Main Mix Final 2) – Vibe
Byron Stingily (Reel Soul Main Vocal Mix) – Walk Away
Frankie Feliciano [Ricanstruction Mix] – The Real Thing

Enjoy!

The SuperCruise 2017 (Did Four Hit the High Score?)

Greetings my fellow music lovers! I hope 2018 is bringing you good health, vibes, and an abundance of prosperity for your life’s longevity!

Here is my round-up of the 11th SuperCruise, and my fourth cruise with Capital Jazz. As usual, I had an exhilarating time! With all of the anticipation of seeing artists I love, I was truly excited for my friends whose first experience it would be for this intoxicating, fun-filled musical water ride!

While the 2017 hurricanes devastated parts of the US and the Caribbean, remnants of them were still at sea for the two days on our way to Bermuda which made for a swaying and rocky ride.

Capital Jazz made up for last year’s fiasco (Capital Jazz SuperCruise X – 2016) so the answer is yes, they did hit the high score for this year’s cruise event. Sidebar: The 2019 cruise has been sold out for a few months already which says they still got it! One lil bump on the water didn’t stop their show.

The Capital Jazz organization listened to their patrons and took heed to their complaints/suggestions. Instead of reserving shows on board like we did in 2016, cruisers were assigned a Theatre Seating Code which determined which day and time they could see shows in the main theatre; there was open seating for the rest of the venues. This definitely helped although some may say they missed something or another which is typical for this sort of themed cruising.

Lines, lines, and more lines! People, they are inevitable! How much of our lives do we spend on them? Whenever there’s open seating for any event, “the early bird gets worm” therefore, the early bird gets a seat and a good one!

We’ll “sea” how things fare on the next cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas. Here’s a tour of the ship where the tour guide suggests (6:07) getting to the main theatre at least 20-30 minutes ahead of showtime to secure a good seat. Therefore, SuperCruisers you know whatcha gotta do, be on that line at least an hour ahead of the doors opening like you do anyway! The good thing is, the main theatre on the Independence of the Seas holds 1,300 in comparison to Norwegian’s 700 so.

If you’ve been following me on the past three SuperCruise reviews you know my rundown by now…
Mix and Mingle
Saturday, September 23, 2017
(the day before sailing)

Day 1
Sail Off
Sunday, September 24, 2017

New York City
(my hometown)

After traveling three times to other locations to meet the ship for the CJ cruise, leaving out of New York this fourth time was pure bliss. Not having to reserve a hotel room to be in town the day before sail off was a blessing! What a beautiful thing to hop on the subway to the host hotel for the mix and mingle, and then share a car ride with my neighbors to go home was even better!

No planes, no trains, just an automobile that took approximately 20 minutes to get to the pier! The check-in was fast, smooth as butter—no complaints—at all!! The weather was insane at 90 degrees, bright and sunny—folks were ready with bathing suits in carry-on like it was Florida!

Sunday Football on the giant screen, they were ready!

Our early morning rise and daytime partying knocked us out around 6ish. We thought we’d take a quick nap and fell into a deep sleep; we missed The Luther Re-Lives Tribute Show but heard it was excellent!

Mike Phillips
Didn’t wake up till after midnight and missed the first few minutes of Mike Phillips’ show, who is one of my favorite Horn Blowers. HOWEVER, I did catch ALL this…

This the way you party the first night at sea!


Day 2
Monday, September 25, 2017
Fun Day at Sea

We woke up like this!

We were scheduled for a photo shoot in these fabulous shirts but some of us were missing. See day 7 for follow-up shenanigans!

El Gee brought the jump rope and hosted an old-school double dutch soiree–it was ON after that!

I call them the Double Dutch Bunch

Linda, Vanessa, and her daughter Leanna, great friends and fam! And, newbies who had a wonderful time cruisin’ with music!

The ladies showed out so good, he had to get some!

Meanwhile, back at the Atrium…

DJ Frances Jaye’s set, then Q&A with Eric Roberson hosted by Jodine Dorce

Conversation with Eric Roberson

About to see Dave Hollister do his thing!

Vanessa, her daughter Leanna and me

Dave Hollister

Turned up and then poured his soul out. The audience hung right in there with him as it got emotional for a minute.

Ran into Dave Hollister and had to grab him for this shot

Dave Hollister interview with New York’s own Lenny Green of the Quiet Storm

Midnight Soul with the Hamiltones
Well, the Atrium was lit with cruisers and as the saying goes, you slow, you blow–a good seat or even a standing room only spot was not in the cards for me to capture anything this night!
The Hamiltone’s interview with Jodine Dorce


Day 3
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Fun Day at Sea

The Mr. Sexy Leg contest was supposed to take place the day before, but the weather was a little “under the weather”. Here it is, in all of its hilarity!

First timers, Ralph and Lavern–longtime childhood friends and neighbors

Margarita Tasting

We made it just in time for the Margarita tasting after the sexy leg contest. This was a day at sea so everyone needed something to do 😉

Name That Tune with Reggie Reg at the Atrium

New York violinist, Damien Escober, a passionate performer burst onto the stage with a fiery and energetic performance that the audience was well in tune with and could have rocked with him all night long!

Conversation with Damien Escobar

Special CJSC guest 1970’s actress, Pam Grier

Didn’t hang here too long; had to catch the Underground Lounge with Eric Roberson featuring Nao, Julie Dexter, Sol Elder, and Jazmin Ghent.

The Underground Lounge Hang

This year was a little different in terms of venue space. Usually, this segment of shows is held in one of the smaller clubs, two artists per show. The Soul Lounge was held in the main theatre, with all four artists on the same night and stage. I missed the intimacy of the smaller venue, nevertheless, the artists’ performances were stellar! It was also Eric Roberson’s birthday and what would the show be without him taking word suggestions from the audience to make up a song on the spot, particularly about his special day.

And this band right here ❤ ❤ ❤


Day 4
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Bermuda Day 1

On our way to the Crystal Cave with our driver Mr. Earl who was a phenomenal tour guide and remarkably knowledgeable about the island!

The day started out cloudy, the sun eventually came out and lingered around for the duration of the day. As mentioned earlier, remnants of hurricane season was still in the air.

On the way to Crystal Cave

Outside the cave entrance

This was a fascinating experience and I’m happy I went on this excursion although I missed my beach time.

This aquarium and zoo were awful! The water was dirty and cloudy: the seal and turtles were sick and infected, however, I did get a few good shots. Poor things…

On the way to the ferry, I was reminded of home with the BX license plate

Mindy Abair is “Pretty Good for a Girl!” She came ready to kick her heels up and get the party started with Girl Power! Mindy spread her message and slogan to “celebrate women, appreciate excellence in each other, support each other’s endeavors, and motivate each other toward greatness.”

Late night at the Atrium with R.C. & the Gritz. I didn’t stay here too long; had to catch Soul Sessions with Eric Roberson cause you never know who’s going to grace the stage!

The Soul Session Hosted by Eric Roberson
I love this part of the lineup as you can probably tell. Featured performers, as well as those in the background, get to show off their chops, front and center! The Jerry Brook’s band can play any requested song you’d think was the original! This year’s Soul Lounge lineup included Chrisette Michele, Jeff Bradshaw, Nao, Jazmin, Dave Hollister, Vanessa Williams and a lady whose name I didn’t get, sang the stank out of Jill Scott’s The Way.

All About Norma – enjoying her very own photo shoot till some unknown, welcomed visitor came over and interrupted our flow. Can you tell which visitation it was?

Day 5
Thursday, September 28, 2017
Bermuda Day 2

Another cloudy day on tap and while trying to get a little shopping done, the sky opened up and drenched us. It didn’t take long for us to hit a few stores and then on to the ferry to take us back to the ship.

Before the rain

One of the suggested themed nights was Red Cool and Haute, cruisers wore an article of red clothing of which just about everyone indulged!

Caught up with Julie Dexter on the left, that’s Reggie at the top, in the middle is Norma and Laverne at the end.

I’ve been waiting to see Will Downing for a long time and he did not disappoint! I was hoping Carol Riddick would have joined him; she usually sings “Never Felt Like This” with him and then Capital Jazz would have given her a show with the Underground Lounge–my wishful thinking 🙂 However, Ms. Tracy Hamlin was sensual, sultry, and sophisticated; her voice strong, yet smooth and sweet! Tracy gave that song her absolute ALL, leaving me wanting more!

Eric Roberson also has a song called Lyrics of Pleasure, a duet with Will Downing on his Fire EP I was hoping they’d do but again, my wishful thinking got the best of me! 😦


Conversation with Will Downing

I rushed from Will’s show to catch what was left of Vivian Green‘s show. She debuted her funky, reggae-flavored track “I Don’t Know” and folks were feeling those catchy lyrics. Nineties rapper/producer, and now Vivian’s manager, Kwame joined her on stage and set it ablaze! I heard a few folks were mad at him for taking up a bit of her performance time. It didn’t bother me, he was hyped!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCGm9jDaNbA

Late Night at the Atrium with Lakecia Benjamin and Soul Squad
I was pleased to see girl power in full effect this year. Capital Jazz presented women in jazz with Lakecia Benjamin and Chelsea Greene and the Green Project (more on her later) and they performed ebullient sets that had the audiences at the Atrium in awe! Melodie Ray was the lead singer with Lakecia and her band. I was pleasantly surprised to spot her walking by me earlier in the week. I’d seen Melodie perform with a couple of other indie soul artists around New York like RaRe Valverde and Trina Broussard, who both sing with Rahsaan Patterson–all whom I adore as great singers and performers!


Day 6
Friday, September 29
Bermuda Day 3

This was a half day in Bermuda and it didn’t make sense to go out after oversleeping so we just chilled on the ship. It was a beautiful sunny day where I could have had just a little beach time, but oh well. Again that damned early bird…

The Motown Tribute
Since I’ve been traveling with the Captial Jazz cruise they have produced tribute shows, commemorating two artists I’ve always admired; Donald Byrd, and James Brown. In 2016 they skipped it, but 2017 was another story! I should have seen this coming; I was blindsided! Capital Jazz took everybody by surprise with this one. Jonathan Butler, The Hamiltones, Tracy Hamlin, Eric Roberson, DMo Macklin, Mindy Abair and Jazmin Ghent participated in this all-star tribute. It was a blast, but Eric Roberson dropped the bomb when he bombarded the stage as Rick James! I should have expected something like this from Eric; the audience was busting guts they laughed so hard.

This was oh soooo good!!

The Timeless, Lady Gladys Knight
Classic Soul at its best! Still beautiful and lovely as ever, Lady Knight thrilled us and had the audience singing right along with her! I love that Capital Jazz incorporates many genres of music we all know and love–not just jazz…

Conversation with Gladys Knight

Jonathan Butler
The Manhattan Room Jonathan performed in was the dinner show. A good seat was definitely in order! I was able to get a few nice shots instead of a little video footage. I tried… I love the life stories artists share with their audience and Jonathan has a helluva story to tell! I enjoyed his performance and his high energy.

Chelsey Green and The Green Project
The other thing I like about Capital Jazz is that I’ve discovered so many artists I hadn’t heard of before. Chelsey and her band were just awesome! Too bad the little video footage I had was ruined so I had to scrap it.


Day 7
Saturday, September 30
Last Day of Fun at Sea

It was a bright sunny day but started out rather cool. I’m spoiled. I expect 80-95 degree weather when I cruise but on this trip, the weather did not cooperate. No tan for me this time around.

Today is also the continuation of day 2 of the bikini t-shirt photo shoot. These shirts were a big hit! Looks, stares, double-takes, laughs, smiles, were all reactions to our painted-on body beautiful shirts!

Lady El Gee brought the rope out again and this time I tested my skill to see if it was still the way my mind remembered how to jump double dutch. Yes! I’m right on point!

Us trying to get tanned up in this piece! Not happenin!

After the T-shirt shoot, the Ice Bar. We needed to wrap up in these coats and gloves; two drinks included with the cover. We had to drink fast cause it was NYC below-zero winter in there!

Daley
Since I’d had Daley’s music from the beginning, it was a delight to see him perform live!

Late Night at the Atrium was a blast on this last night! I think most of the artists were off, partied and played with ERRO at the Open Mic Night.

Got a second chance at getting a few shots of the Hamiltones!

Took advantage of my Selfie moment with every artist I could… Peep my party light glasses 🙂

After Capital Jazz posted the 2017 pictures on their FaceBook page and viewing this highlight video let me know I missed a lot even though I share all of this! Nothing unusual since so much is going on you just can’t see and do everything! You gotta find time for eating and sleep–somewhere in there!

Here’s a fun look back!

Overall, I had a fantastic time hanging out on The SuperCruise with such cool people and all these fabulous artists!!

And to all, a good cruise! Until next time…

Conversations with a few of the featured artists!

Soul Talk with RC and the Gritz

Soul Talk with the Hamiltones

Conversation with Chrisette Michele

Conversation with Nao Yoshioka

Conversation with Rare Essence
Conversation with Robert Glasper
Conversation with Kirk Franklin

Capital Jazz Super Cruise 2016 – Was the Third Time a Charm?

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I thought I’d get a head start on this post, so on October 6,  2016, I began taking notes. By that time, Hurricane Matthew had already reared its ugly eye, destroying any and everything in its path.  We were set to sail on Sunday, October 23rd and Matthew had affected the cruise’s route; we were informed a few days before sailing, that Nassau Bahamas would be our detour from Great Stirrup Cay Bahamas, where Jill Scott and Wanda Sykes were to perform on Norwegian’s private island, day 2.  It was to be a fun-filled day on the beach where we would have access to the beautiful sea along with laughs, good music, and lunch “on” Norwegian.  See Alaina Jenkins’ review.

We arrived at the host hotel the day before sailing so that we could attend the Meet and Greet.  I was super excited to be in Miami!  I looked forward to seeing my friends, what lie ahead for a week’s worth of music, sun/fun and that whole Capital Jazz Cruise vibe!

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Upon hotel registration at the Marriot, the day before sail off, we received a letter with two passes attached to inform us of our 1:00 pm shuttle appointment for the next day; at that point we decided 1 pm wouldn’t work for us. Other than that, things were on to a good start for the meet and greet. Everyone was pumped and ready for Sunday’s sailing to celebrate Capital Jazz’s 10th Anniversary!

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Folks mingling and having a good time. My gurl Laura and our friend, Reggie (top right). My heroes, Wes and James (bottom middle) who saved me last year with lending me the battery charger for my camera

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Pat Prescott, Jodine Dorce, Michael Colyar, Tony Richards and Donna Richardson, I think.

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NY homie, Lenny Green; me; and hubby. V is on the left who photo bombed us!

Day 1, sail off!  We took a cab to the port around 11:00 am, and it’s a good thing we did because when we arrived, the Norwegian Getaway had just returned from its previous trip, and those passengers were disembarking as the Capital Jazz cruisers were arriving to board the ship.   A long line had already formed to go through security.  Once inside, we had to wait in the terminal after registering and be called by groups to enter onto the ship.

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Wait, did she photo bomb us?!

In a nutshell, with permission from the following two cruisers, they totally covered the issues in their reviews; they appeared on the Capital Jazz Fest/SuperCruise FaceBook Page upon return from the cruise.

Jock TravelPlug Schofield
‘How The Capital Jazz Fest & SuperCruise F*cked Up and Ruined One of the Best Organized and Entertaining Themed Cruises’

Common Sense Rules 1 & 2 are as follows; 1. Don’t fix it if it’s not broke and 2. Keep it simple stupid. This is my sixth and definitely last year on the Capital Jazz Supercruise. My priors 5 times going have all been an awesome experience with incredible entertainment.  They were all on the Carnival cruise line and to attend a performance has been an effortless event. You choose an early or late dinnertime. Each guest performed for two shows and you went to the show based on your dinnertime. It was a pretty simple task to see a show and the only time you needed to arrive early was if you wanted close seats to the stage. Fast-forward this year to the 10th Anniversary of the Supercruise. The promoters of the cruise of changed the cruise line to the Norwegian Getaway. Let’s jump right to the issue.

Attending a show this year reminds me of my days as an undergrad student at Morgan State University. I attended Morgan State University at a time when you couldn’t register for classes online you had to show up early and wait in a long line that wrapped around the building and hoped that the classes you wanted would still be available by the time you got to enroll. At this year’s Capital Jazz Super Cruise in order to register for the main shows this year you have to register through Norwegian’s mobile app, a screen near the elevators on each floor or from the television in your cabin.  The video accompanied with this post shows you what most of the attendees experienced. Most of the shows were not available due to the size of these small venues. For shows that did not require registration you had to be there at least an hour before the show started in order to guarantee a sport in the small venues. Last night we waited in line for 90 minutes for the old school hip hop show before leaving when the show was supposed to start at 12:30. We left at 1:00am after getting in line at 11:30. They hadn’t let anyone in at 1:00am by the time we left. Yesterday, we waited an hour to see Kindred in the standby line, the line where if you didn’t get reservations for a show it was suggested you tried the Standby line. The show was held in a dinner theatre with the worst view (posted pic) of the stage for those that didn’t have a table in front of the stage. For those that didn’t make it to shows it caused an overflow and terrible wait times for bars and restaurants on the cruise. In attempt to make amends Capital Jazz has added additional shows for some of the artists.  However, in order to attend these added shows one must arrive at the venue at least an hour early and hope that you can get a seat. At this point, I’ve already chalked this cruise up as a loss and the worst vacation EVER. My legs are sore, my feet hurt and I’m tired or arriving at a venue over an hour early just to stand in line with the hopes of seeing an artist that I paid to see. If you know of any other well-organized music-themed cruises, please let me know.

Alaina Jenkins
I had heard SO MANY good things about this cruise! I was so incredibly excited to see the phenomenal line-up of artists that they advertised. And it was an impressive line-up! To make a very long and frustrating story short, I did not get to see 80% of the major headliners. This was for a variety of reasons, all stemming from piss-poor planning on the part of CJSC. The venues could not accommodate everyone on the cruise (approx. 3700 people) seeing all the acts throughout the week. If it was going to be logistically impossible to see ALL the major acts, then that should have been advertised as people were booking and paying for this cruise. Essentially, if they had said to me I would be only able to see 4 of the 20 major acts without hassle and frustration, I would not have booked this cruise at $2300! Conventional wisdom has stated that half of this price was for the Balcony room on Norwegian (I’ll get to them later), and the other half went to CJSC. Well, based on my calculations, CJSC owes me about $900 back in missed shows because of their inability to figure out how to get everybody into everything. I should not have to spend my vacation days standing in line after line after line, missing other activities and quality time with friends, for hours at a time just to “possibly” get into a show I could not get a reservation for. That’s right, on the first day of the cruise, once you were on the boat, you had to stand at a touch-screen on various walls and attempt to make your reservations for the shows you wanted. By the time we stood in line (well over an hour), there were only 3 shows (major headliners – Eric Benet / Angie Stone, BWB / Patti Austin, and OJays / Ledisi) left with seats for us to reserve. Out of 20 major headliners! And this is not even including the comedians (another issue). We were able to add a 4th major headliner (the Dance Theatre of Harlem) ONLY because they added a show, told us about it on a flyer left outside our rooms in the middle of the night (which I just happened to see) and we managed to get those reservations before the show “sold out.” Simply put, and pardon my language, but I have to be real here, it was a cluster-fuck, and very demoralizing and disappointing for those of us who really wanted to see and experience the other major acts. I missed out on Incognito, Ken Ford, Jose James, Kindred The Family Soul, Diane Schuur, Smokie Norful, Jazz Funk Soul, Bilal, Nick Colionne, Algebra Blessett, Lee Ritenour, Dwele, Howard Hewett, Regina Belle, Walter Beasley, and Frank McComb. If Eric Benet, Angie Stone, BWB, Patti Austin, the OJays, and Ledisi all came to the DMV area, I would not have paid collectively almost $1200 to see them in base ticket prices, so there is NO WAY CJSC can justify what I paid to see with what I received in actuality. Like I said, they owe me about $900.

Now, let’s talk about the other major headliner concert that, technically, everyone got to see because there was no requirement to reserve a seat; Wanda Sykes opening up for Jill Scott. Wanda was horrible; she was unfunny, admittedly not feeling well, and under the influence of mind-altering medication (Nyquil). Meanwhile, we were situated in the literal “backyard” of the Atlantis Resort in Nassau, in blistering heat, with no tents, not enough chairs for over 3000 guests (they advised us to bring our towels so we could sit on the ground), no First Aid station, and only 15 port-a-potties for over 3000 people! The whole event was a major public health hazard. What was supposed to be a complimentary, Norwegian-catered lunch for us during the concert, ended up being a buy your lunch from Atlantis employees who set up under their own tents and charged $4 for a bottle of water, and far more than that for food. Most of us didn’t see the entirety of Jill Scott’s performance because we had been out in that heat with no cover for over 2 hours and massive lines were forming for the shuttles that would get us back to the ship.

CJSC should be as mortified as we are horrified that their brand has taken this hit. Until they correct the narrative of this hot mess of a cruise (IF they can), I can only assume that they are profit-driven and not people-driven, and they simply don’t care that this cruise was a complete waste of my hard-earned money. CJSC owes each of us a sincere apology that clearly acknowledges their miss-steps and the significant impact they had on their guests/clients/customers, and they owe each of us a refund based on a realistic analysis of how many headliner acts any one cruiser could have reasonably been expected to see given the timing of the various events (several major headliners overlapped each other each night) and the limited capacity of the venues. Try as I might, I didn’t even get to see one major headliner each night! I saw 3, and I was on that ship 7 days!

Speaking of that ship, the Getaway on Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL). The food was disgusting! I’ve had better meals, more carefully prepared and presented, in my cafeteria at work! The majority of the food clearly came from frozen and was just re-heated, or were sloppily thrown together one-dish meals designed to feed an army (or should I say a plantation?) Toast came 10 minutes after our omelettes, and generally our salads came out after the main entrees. The open, dine whenever and wherever you choose model didn’t fit my expectations of luxury dining on the high seas. The places where we had a decent meal (sushi and Japanese teppenyaki) required us to pay additional charges. It was worth it, because the food was edible and properly presented, but after paying over $2000, I should not have to spend an additional $20-30 a night just to have a good meal. The foodie in me just had to die this week, because Norwegian screwed the pooch all over the place when it came to food and customer service. I would hate to think that because it was a boat full of black folks that their service was not up to snuff, but hearing from others that NCL is not normally “that bad” gives me pause. And apparently NCL could not WAIT to get our black asses off their boat, because they took our bags, categorized by only 3 colors, and tossed them into the Customs Holding Area with no rhyme or reason, and then called “all colors” to disembark at practically the same time. Imagine thousands of people with several thousands of pieces of luggage, with nothing but a color code to attempt to find your luggage in a sea of people and porters. A high-holy mess! And we were told several times that NCL doesn’t normally handle their disembarkation this poorly.

This is already too long, but needless to say, Royal Caribbean has earned a loyalist for LIFE after this experience on NCL!

So, while it was nice to get away with great travel buddies (we know how to make our own fun), and the artists were incredibly gracious and for the most part approachable for photos and quick chats, I do feel that I was cheated out of the vacation I was anticipating. And for that, CJSC must answer and respond tangibly. #FixItCapitalJazz

More reviews and comments at Eurweb.com

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My Two Cents

This was my third cruise with the Capital Jazz organization and the question is, “Was the third time a Charm?”  The above reviews are certainly detailed and convey that the celebration a major milestone anniversary calls for was not the momentous event it should have been.   Of the shows I attended, hardly any of the performers acknowledged or congratulated Capital Jazz on celebrating their 10th anniversary! With all the drama of having to reserve shows, long lines, etc., maybe this mention was remiss?  I’m not sure.

Once we boarded, we saw that lines had formed in front of the kiosk wall where we had to reserve our desired shows.  I stood on the line for two hours.  Individuals, as well as groups of friends/family, were standing at the screen for at least a half hour or more per group in order to reserve every single show they wanted to see.  The process was ridiculous, to say the least.

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This kiosk process was the devil!!

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This football party/viewing would have either been on the pool deck or in a designated venue, and DJ Frances Jaye would have been here playing music, welcoming the cruisers were it on a Carnival Cruise Line. While they’re watching football (not appearing too happy about it), the other half of us were at the kiosk reserving shows…

Cruisers were pissed and threatened to get their money back from the 2017 cruise.  Not me, I’d already paid a substantial amount of money and not sure by requesting a refund at this time would work since the regulation is when a refund request is not made by the 30 day deadline, the deposit is lost or only a portion of the deposit can be refunded, which I believe is pretty standard.

Clearly, Norwegian is not designed for a music-themed cruise.  Comparing Norwegian to Carnival, the “ghetto ship” as I have heard it referred to, is well equipped to comfortably accommodate a music event as such.

The main theater on Carnival holds about 1500 where Norwegian’s theater only holds around 700—losing over half of the seats; by the way, were really uncomfortable with a wooden bar going across the back of the seat, causing a real pain in the ass–literally!  On Carnival, there is a wide space between each row and a small table aside each seat for drinks, etc.  Additionally, there’s enough space on the pool deck to accommodate a band and it could get crowded depending on the artist.  The pool deck’s layout on The Norweigan Getaway could not properly accommodate a large crowd during the day where it would have otherwise taken place were it on Carnival.

Audrey Batts Watson, Capital Jazz’s former Fun Director wasn’t part of the organization this year and personally, I sorely missed her presence.  There was a vast disconnect between the Capital Jazz staff and cruisers because folks were so upset.  The staff wasn’t as friendly as they have been in the past because they took the brunt of the cruisers’ frustration.  However, I along with the entire list of CJ cruisers (I am guessing) received an email from her stating she was with another company and it seems like Audrey will be organizing a music-themed cruise or more, sometime next year.  There was a survey link included in the email that asked questions about what folks would like to see based on their prior cruising experience.

I want to believe that the Capital Jazz Organization, had good intent by upgrading to approximately 1500 cabins above what Carnival could accommodate for the 10th anniversary, but the compromise they made in order to do that failed.  I am not sure of how the CJO spent 18 months planning for the 10th anniversary and did not foresee a problem with the layout of the ship’s venues and having to make reservations.  The Getaway, yes, is a bigger ship but unable to entertain CJ cruisers as a cohesive unit.  In addition to that, there were more venues to accommodate more artists (over 50 acts) but spaced out, and some acts were not even advertised.  I thought this was too many artists given the fact that a host of good acts was simultaneously scheduled. Likewise, not advertised was Ingrid B. out of Miami with her group of Erotic Spoken Word Artists.  I was excited about this because I discovered Ingrid B. on Myspace, and you know how long ago that was!.  I had the chance to meet her and I really wanted to see the poets and managed to see two performances.  As I said there were so many conflicting performances, my energy was high and I couldn’t sit there for longer than I did.  The Soul Sessions was going on at the same time and that is one of my favorite events!

I didn’t see any of the six comedians—usually, three including Michael Colyear would perform in one night on Carnival’s main stage and that way, there was more of an opportunity to see all of their performances.  A full band performed at the atrium every night which was a nice touch but again conflicted with other shows.

I am curious to see how the CJO is going to physically fix it this year.  They offered each 2016 cruiser $300 off of 2017 and 2018 depending on which year they cruise to make amends, and also have cruisers make show reservations before the trip so that CJO can see just how many shows they will have to schedule.  This was an exceptional gesture!  Whether it came from Norwegian or Capital Jazz, I don’t care! I’m happy to say, that $600 discount off my balance came in handy!

Change is sometimes hard for folks, but I hope Capital Jazz Organization will consider everyone’s feedback and get back to the SuperCruise vibe the CJ cruisers have become accustomed to experiencing.

There’s my two cents!  After reservation culture shock, I still had a great time!! And as you will see on the CJ highlights video at the end of this post, I wasn’t the only one!! On with the show…

Day 1
Sunday, Oct 23, 2016
Depart Miami, Florida

As many of you know, Incognito is tops of my favorite bands and there was no way I was going to miss them no matter how many times I’ve seen them perform!  What was a sweet surprise and funny at the same time was that Chris Ballin joined Incognito on this tour and as Bluey set up introducing him, folks thought it was Maysa. If anyone knows Incognito’s Beneath the Surface, they would know that Bluey would not use this album to introduce her.  As a matter of fact, Maysa needs no introduction.  She simply walks onto the stage and there you have her!! So it was funny when Chris walks out onto the stage and to the audience’s surprise, it was not her. The people sitting close to us were truly disappointed!  HA HA!!

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Bluey, the band, Chris Ballin, Deborah Bond, and Vanessa Haynes

I hadn’t seen Jose James since the first time some years ago at BAM/MetroTech , Brooklyn. I’m overjoyed I saw his show! Jose sang and rapped a song by Gil Scott-Heron, I don’t know what the title was but he did a fantastic job on it and I’m mad at myself for not recording it. He blew the audience and me away with his tribute to Bill Withers. This one I got—check him out!!

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Two bad musicians right here! Bassman, Stanley and guitarist, WaWa played for Jose James; caught them after the show.

It was a really big surprise to meet James Bing on the ship, assisting with cd sales from Mood’s Music out of Atlanta! And Brooklyn’s own DJ Spinna was delightful! I’m sure he gained plenty of new followers after his sets!

Day 2

Monday, Oct 24, 2016
Nassau, Bahamas

Shots of the early risers from the ship at breakfast

 

On the way over to the show

Jill Scott

A two for one; a show outside in the sun, getting my tan on (which by the way, burnt the mess out of my forehead!)

Angie Stone and Eric Benet

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Angie Stone

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Eric Benet

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Our man, Troy “Sol” Edler on background vocals!

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Check Spur of the Moment’s Wayne Bruce on guitar and Tim Steele on drums

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Outfit of the Night! Couldn’t stay in these shoes, uh uh, too high but loved they way they made my muscle-esk legs stand out!

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Donnie so soulful-filling, how good it makes him and any other artist feel when the audience simply applauds for them!

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Steve Smith, Lysette, and Donnie

Me and Donnie after he sweated himself out for the people…

Ok, so maybe not Donnie for the first 12 minutes or so, but I promise, you will love what comes before him!

Day 3
Tuesday, Oct 25, 2016
Fun Day At Sea!

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All of this in one night!!  I’m a trooper if I do say so myself!  Four of the five below were going on around the same time!

Bilal

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Cunninglinguist Erotic Poetry hosted by Ingrid B

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The Soul Sessions hosted by Eric Roberson

I missed the Legends of Hip Hop Concert but was able to swing by the Kid Capri after party

Day 4
Wednesday, Oct 26, 2016
San Juan, Puerto Rico

The hubster and me upon arrival in Puerto Rico for a little shopping and authentic, salty Puerto Rican cuisine

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Later on that evening we returned to the ship for a grand performance by these four superstars!

Patti Austin

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BWB Norman Brown, Kirk Whalum, and Rick Braun

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Nicole Henry and Hill St Soul

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Nicole Henry

Hil St. Soul

Black and White night photo shoot

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Laura and Reggie

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Day 5
Thursday, Oct 27, 2016
St. Kitts

What a day, what a day–and so much fun!!

I can get really complacent when it comes to venturing out to explore.  Well, thank goodness for Laura and Linda for talking me into playing with the dolphins! 

 Afterward, we shopped a bit and hung around the bar until it was time to board. 

Caught up with Jodine and Ingrid B. later on that evening

Karaoke

Dwele

Marcus Johnson

Soul Understated


Day 6
Friday, Oct 28, 2016
Fun Day At Sea!
Today, the last of my memory cards ran out (I had 5 cards: three 32 GB and two 16GB) and I needed a computer to transfer files from the storage card to my flash drive.  ERRO came to the rescue and saved the day!  Last year it was the battery and charger drama, this year the storage cards.  Another lesson learned…

Sometime during the day…

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D Maurice is finally standing in the front and the light is shining on him! I was so happy for DMo!

 

This band is the pure TRUTH!! Dre King, Samir Moulay, Chris Bynum, Antone “Chooky” Caldwell, Oweleo Lysette, and Steve Smith

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Ledisi

The Mighty O’Jays

Day 7
Saturday, Oct 29, 2016
Fun Day At Sea!

Quite a bit was going this last full day on the ship, and for me, a bit of downtime since it rained–last day of sun spoiler!

Here’s the rundown:

I was determined to learn how to use the interval shooting feature on my camera!  This feature allows you to be in the shot if you so choose…

So I chose to be in it!

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A performance of a band I do not recall at  The Sugarcane Mojito Bar where Howard Hewett couldn’t help but get in on the action!

 

“Flight of Six” pretty mojitos for around $20 at the Sugarcane Mojito Bar

 

The Kid Capri

Kid Capri caused a major uproar, and people put a dent in that ship!

Marcus Johnson (bottom left) got his groove on too!

 

Here’s an overused phrase you will not hear from me, but “At the end of the day” it’s really all about the music and people having a great time.   I sure did…

Here’s a quick look back!

Check out more performance videos and interviews by Jodine; hosts, Pat Prescott, Tony Richards and Lenny Green with the artists, provided by either Capital Jazz, the artists and or other cruisers.

By the way, Jodine Dorce has one of the best jobs on the cruise!

Kindred The Family Soul

Eric Roberson

Joey Sommerville

Regina Belle

Walter Beasley

Ken Ford

Brotherhood of Renowned Artists discussion featuring
Larry Poncho Brown, Leroy Campbell, & Charles Bibbs

Smokie Norful

Algebra

George Wallace

BOOTCAMP!

 

Funky Fresh Covers Vol. III

I wanted to make a couple of edits to this mix because I thought my voice could sound a bit more upbeat. Oh well, that wasn’t in the universe’s plan, as my hard drive that had all of my music and playlists on it, along with my master adobe lightroom (editing app for photographers) folder with all of my previews in it, etc. died. I’ll go into further details in another post.

There’s a refreshing newness to the artists’ interpretation of these songs while making them their own, in a style, I am all for! I really enjoy rummaging through my music library and finding little gems like the ones listed below. I have so much more that I will share, so stay tuned! Lastly, there are links to the artists’ website or another site that gives more info on them. You may already be familiar with the couple where there is no link–they were pretty popular in their heyday 🙂

As always, do enjoy and any feedback is greatly appreciated.

1. Dwele – That’s The Way of the World/EWF
2. Calvin Richardson – All This Love/El DeBarge
3. Portrait – How Deep is Your Love/The Bee Gees
4. Diane Reeves – Just My Imagination/The Temptations
5. Ol School f/Xscape & Keith Sweat – Am I Dreaming/Atlantic Starr
6. Silk – Ebony Eyes/ Rick James/Smokey Robinson
7. Juewett Bostick f/Jean Carne – I Can’t Tell You Why/The Eagles
8. Mad Satta f/Joanna Teters – The Makings of You/Curtis Mayfield
9. Martin Luther – Sara Smile/Hall & Oats
10. Marva King – Baby This Love I Have/Minnie Riperton
11. Slakah The Beatchild – Don’t Go/Mary J. Blige
12. Lewis Taylor – Stop, Look & Listen/The Stylistics
13. Zo! f/YahZarah – Perfect Angel/Minnie Riperton
14. Zo! f/Anthony David – Barry White Playing Your Game, Baby
15. The Decoders f/Alex Isley – What’Cha Gonna Do for Me/Chaka Khan

SeXXXy, Complicated Love Vol. Prince

What I am about to say may shock some of you but I was not a big fan of Prince, however, I always respected him as an artist. There, I said it! The songs played on the radio were catchy and I had my favorites like Adore, Kiss, Purple Rain and When Doves Cry. I purchased one of Prince’s album and that was Diamonds and Pearls because I loved Rosie Gaines’nvoice on the title track. I also loved Gett Off and Insatiable. Not until he passed, I had no idea he published 39 albums and wrote popular songs for a host of other artists.

Nevertheless, I was a nervous wreck when I heard on the radio that there was a dead body in his home They hadn’t confirmed who it was, and I was pissed they were playing Prince’s music like he was already gone. Minutes later the news came that is was indeed his body. Tears welled up in my eyes. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Like everyone else, I was in total shock. Since his passing, I have immersed myself in videos of his live performances because I never had the experience of seeing him in concert, although I had all intentions the next time he came to town. Viewing his live concert videos is like I’m right there in the audience—it’s the next best thing to being there at this point! Yes, I know, I missed out big time!

On another note, being a member of the Valentine’s Day, Cupid’s Hunt Collaboration has made me feel like a family member and I am ecstatic my Sista Jolene “called my name” to request a SeXXXy Love mix featuring Prince! It’s good to know that my music mixes are reaching people! Thank you, Jolene, for testing me; I surprised myself by rising to the occasion so quickly!

In my search for tracks to include in the mix, I was surprised to find so much of Prince’s music in my library, I didn’t even realize I had. I totally slept on this music other than what the radio played. I can say that within the past three months or so, 1000 x’s and o’s has been in constant rotation on New York’s WBLS, and I instantly fell in love with it! I knew his voice sounded familiar but didn’t know it was him until I Shazammed the song—it all made perfect sense, and I was mad at myself for not figuring it was him.

A couple of the tracks I selected have the blues written all over them while also taking on a nice nasty, sweet and spicy kinda feel along with a bit of good ole soul and gospel! I was pleased to find such beautiful songs I hadn’t heard before. Thanks to my other son, Marques I included The Greatest Romance Ever Sold, The Neptunes Remix which hit me in the right spot and had to add it. I don’t usually select songs for my mixes that are regularly played on radio programs unless they fit into my theme or I really love them. Therefore, I chose a specific selection to showcase SeXXXy Love and It’s Complicated because all of the songs are SeXXXy and some of the lyrics in certain tracks involve complicated situations. It was really good to find these tracks, as I love a good and undercover nasty love song that has a funky and soulful beat to it.

Here’s an emotional read from my other Cupid’s Hunt Podcast Collaboration Sista, Calandra’s reaction to Prince’s death.

Do enjoy and let me know what you think!

Shhh
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Call My Name

Manadatory Credit: Photo by Brian Rasic / Rex Features (396812dh) PRINCE VARIOUS

Manadatory Credit: Photo by Brian Rasic / Rex Features (396812dh)
PRINCE
VARIOUS

Adore (Live)

FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2011 file photo, U.S. musician Prince performs during his concert at the Sziget Festival on the Shipyard Island, northern Budapest, Hungary. The enigmatic star flew into London on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, at the start of a still-evolving string of dates in support of forthcoming album "Plectrum Electrum," recorded with all-female trio 3RDEYEGIRL. (AP Photo/MTI, Balazs Mohai, File) HUNGARY OUT

FILE – In this Aug. 9, 2011 file photo, U.S. musician Prince performs during his concert at the Sziget Festival on the Shipyard Island, northern Budapest, Hungary. The enigmatic star flew into London on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, at the start of a still-evolving string of dates in support of forthcoming album “Plectrum Electrum,” recorded with all-female trio 3RDEYEGIRL. (AP Photo/MTI, Balazs Mohai, File) HUNGARY OUT

Insatiable
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On The Couch

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 27: Musician Prince performs onstage at the 2006 BET Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on June 27, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 27: Musician Prince performs onstage at the 2006 BET Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on June 27, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

The Dance
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How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore

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Satisfied
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What it Feels Like
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Gett Off
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Breakfast Can Wait
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Incense and Candles
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Mr. Goodnight
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1000 X’s and O’s
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The Greatest Romance Ever Been Sold (The Neptunes Remix)
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Come On
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Here’s a moving story about Prince from Youtube sensation, Shameless Maya