D’Angelo has taken the stage over the past two months. He did a few sets in London a couple weeks ago and another at Minneapolis’ popular venue First Avenue (that Prince made famous) with Questlove in June, according to okayplayer.com. I discovered this in light of a poster saying he’s performing in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on August 1st. That date is the kick-off of several sets through October.
D’Angelo will follow up his show at Williamsburg Park in Brooklyn, NY with performances on the following dates: 8/3 – Summer Spirit Festival Columbia, MD; 8/4 – Chene Parke Amphitheater Detroit, MI w/ Erykah Badu & Hiatus Kaiyote; 8/6 & 8/7 – House of Blues Chicago, IL; 8/9 & 11 – Outside Lands San Francisco, CA ; 8/10 – Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay San Diego, CA; 10/4-6 and 10/11-13 – ACL Austin, TX.
Practically a musical legend from his highly anticipated debut “Brown Sugar,” it was five years before the Grammy Award winning artist released his second album “Voodoo.” Now thirteen years later, music aficionados and fans of the extraordinary talent await his long anticipated CD “James River” — the working title anyway. Before this new string of dates, D’Angelo did the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans last year, that followed a couple of appearances with his friend and fellow showman Questlove.
In an interview with Rolling Stone [RS] after a show, Quest talked about D’Angelo and what fans can expect form the musician. The first and only time that I interviewed D’Angelo was in New Orleans, the first time that he appeared at the Essence Music Festival in 1998, when the world was waiting for “Voodoo.” It was Quest who acted as liaison between D’Angelo and I for that meeting. I just thought the parallel was interesting — basically moving forward, expect a new D’Angelo album two years or so post his Essence Music Festival appearance :-).
Here’s an excerpt of Quest Love’s RS interview from 2012:
“He’s elated,” Questlove says. “He was just amazed. I wanted him to see how loved he really is, because he really doesn’t get it. He seriously doesn’t watch television. He’s not on a computer at all. He’s still listening to vinyl, cassettes and a Discman.” The Roots drummer hopes the appearance will convince D’Angelo to finally release his first LP since 2000’s “Voodoo.” Questlove says roughly 30 tracks have been recorded over the last few years, with many sessions taking place at Electric Lady in New York, where the singer cut “Voodoo.” “He is about to take a radical 180 turn with this record,” says Questlove. “It’s going to throw people off the same way that Prince’s “Dirty Mind” threw his R&B fanbase off. In the past few years, he’s discovered Bowie and Zeppelin, the Beatles, ‘Pet Sounds’, Captain Beefheart and Zappa. My whole reasoning for doing [Bonnaroo],” Questlove says, “was to show him who his real audience is.”
On the upcoming album, fans will also hear a new side of the singer: as a guitarist. “I saw a guitar in the studio and I was like, ‘What the hell’s this?’” Questlove remembers. “One night, when he didn’t know I was watching, he took a dinner break from recording. Suddenly, I heard [Funkadelic’s] ‘Maggot Brain’ playing. I realized he was in the studio room matching it note-for-note. For the last 12 years, he’s been strumming the guitar… He is so painfully shy about it. I think in his head, if he doesn’t surpass Eddie Hazel, Santana, James Blood Ulmer and Frank Zappa as an axeman, he doesn’t want to share it with the world.”
D’Angelo has also been creating his own keyboard sounds for the album. “He’s very particular about his patches,” Questlove adds. “I’ve never heard these sounds before. He’ll take an ordinary sound and he’ll filter it through a guitar processor. He’ll take that particular sound and put some wave envelope noise on it, and he’ll put it back in the keyboard and that’s his sound. There’s song we worked on called ‘The Charade.’ There’s this symphonic trombone sound, which normally would be a cheesy sound Swizz Beatz uses. But he’ll take that sound and then put it through a guitar filter and put it back in the keyboard and then put it through another filter. It’s totally unique.”…
Questlove expressed the goal was to release the “James River” LP around August. “Nothing is official – it is year 12,” he laughed. “I’m just hoping that this was enough fire to really make him do that. Because we spoke the day after [Bonnaroo] and he [D’Angelo] said, ‘I’m so happy.’ I said, ‘Now you just turn in your damn record. Just finish. Just turn it in. Let your children go already.” END RS excerpt…
One would think concert goers can expect to hear some of D’Angelo’s new music at his upcoming outings. There’s still no official word yet as to when “James River” will flow through record stores. I’m willing to bet we’ll see a flood of copies fly off the shelves in 2014. For tickets to see D’Angelo, go to: http://www.ticketmaster.com/Dangelo-tickets/artist/3314#
for the love of FUNK and D’Angelo