Onyx Ashanti [Odessa-Berlin]
Onyx Ashanti is of a generation of musician/artist born into a world samplers, hip hop, internet, cell phones and personal computers. Although his formative musical education was traditional (learning to play saxophone in a primary school music program), he has since transferred this aestetic into the present world of 21st century music performance. An amalgam of tradition and futurism he calls Beatjazz.
From his adopted homebase in Berlin, Onyx creates Beatjazz as an exercise in creating funky nasty music, IN the moment, FOR, the moment. It is equal parts live looping, sound design and jazz improvisation, done in the aesthetic of a DJ set and sounds like Roger Troutman singing lead for Parliament Funkadelic in a dark Basement club on Tatooine. the music is constructed and artistically deconstructed by playing and singing slivers of sound into his computer, all controlled by a horn-like instrument called an EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument) with narrative being directed by the vibe of the audience like this live recording http://onyxashanti.bandcamp.com/track/come-walk-with-me . The sound is evocative of the syncopated rhythms of hip hop, afrobeat, broken beat, house, and jungle, with melodic influences steming from pop, gospel, contemporary jazz, funk and RnB, all improvisationally reinterpreted in new and evolving ways that can only be termed "Beat" "Jazz".
The concept is born of the blending onyx's childhood influences, growing up in Mississippi with roots in the church, and his later, adulthood adventures as a street busker, being part of LA's Southern California rave scene in the late nineties, all the way up to the life altering time he spent in London UK. While there, he toured extensively with the Legendary Soul II Soul Sound System http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9zpG5J0lhM , as well as performing with The Basement Jaxx, playing on 3 songs from their Grammy Award winning "Kish Kash" Album, and even having them name the song, "Onyx", on which he sings, after him on their 2005 Greatest Hits Album http://onyx-ashanti.ning.com/video/bassment-jaxx-onyx .
At present, Onyx lives in Berlin Germany where he works to create a new instrument that blends funk with shamanism and neuro-liguistics while chronicling the evolution of Beatjazz on his website/blog www.onyx-ashanti.ning.com and more intimately, on on twitter www.twitter.com/onyxashanti. he will be in the US, on his first US tour in oct and Nov 2009 with dates in Santa Cruz,CA, Atlanta, GA, St. Louis, MO, Memphis, TN, and San Francisco, CA.
Onyx Has performed at a selection of some of the most reknown nightclubs in the world, including, but not exclusive to;
MANGO [Stockholm, Sweden]
Glastonbury 2004 [Dance Tent]
Pacha (NYC and London)
Tongue and Groove[Brixton],UK
Plan B, UK
THE END, UK
Southport Soul Weekender[may 2003, 2004, 2005],Southport, UK
Ministry of Sound,UK
The End Up-SF
Tacheles (cafe Zapata), Berlin
Bar 25, Berlin
APPLEJAC [Goodfellas Inc., Eternal Sol, Sounds of Mecca-Atlanta]
Looking for his chance to make a name for himself, Applejac joined the Universal Zulu Nation Atlanta chapter in 1992, where he would hone his skills playing in front of crowds. It was during a party during Freaknik '92 that he would make his mark playing "crate joints". He would go on the following year to spin alongside DJs like (long time friend) Jaycee (DJ for Ludacris), Lil' Jon (King of Crunk), and Emperor Searcy (107.9 FM Atlanta) at hot spots like The Warehouse, Club Velvet, Ethiopian Vibrations, and Club Soho. He would also join Jaycee and DJs Dose, and M3 as regulars on college radio mainstay WRAS FM mix-show "The Bomb", forming the first DJ super group in Atlanta, The Unknown Soldiers, in 1995. Applejac began to do "exclusive" remixes for WRAS's Sunday night hip-hop show, "Rhythm and Vibes", to showcase his production skills. He also helped to develop a segment called "Sample Clearance" where original songs of hip-hop tunes were played and the listeners had to figure out who the original artist was. More often than not, he left the listeners stumped. In 1997 alongside his cousin, Big Dippa, Applejac formed the group Showtyime. They released their first (and only) CD in 1998, "Feature Presentation," on Kimante Records, with Applejac handling all the production on the 15 track project. They would go on to record two singles for Rent Money Recordings, with well known underground rap group Lone Catalysts, "Rush Hour" b/w "Gotta Listen" and "Extrication" b/w "Diamond Lady" in 2000 and 2001 respectively. In 2002 Applejac produced 4 tracks on the Atlanta Underground album "First Breath" from fellow Decatur native, Jawz of Life, producing the B-side to his first single, "Soul Mates" featuring female vocalist Denna Lewis. He latched on with Atlanta underground hip-hop juggernaut Massinfluence as their DJ later that year. The future finds him on the cusp of some pretty major things. Now as a part of the esteemed Domecracker!Universal, with DJ Spinna and Joc Max, he has done remixes for Eric Roberson (Right Back 2 U, I've Been In Love), DJ Genesis feat Neco Redd (Get Out The Frame), Darien Brockington (Think It Over) and Mateo & Matos (Dance, Sweat), Rogiers (My Gift), Syren (First Love), Nuwamba (Your Sweetness), W. Ellington Felton (Postcards From The Edge, Funky Feeling), Stacy Epps (Floating), Tiffany Paige (Sumthin), and most recently, Negrorican Productions (Missed Blexxings), Jesse Boykins III (Itis), Plusgroove feat. Nadine Navarre (Slow It Down), as well as collabos wth up and coming artists Iman Williams, Vel Ben, and Dezaray Dawn. Stay tuned for Applejac's own Shecky's Jazzy Tofu collabo with producer/vocalist Erik Rico, where Applejac will continue to cover many musical styles ranging from Hip-Hop, Soul, House, and Broken Beat. Having maintained a monthly residency at Atlanta’s MJQ from 2005-2007 alongside DJ Jaycee called "That's That Sh!t", Applejac has also played across the US alongside the likes of Nicolay (Foreign Exchange), Daz-I-Kue (Bugz In The Attic), DJ Spinna, J Rocc (Beat Junkies), Ge-Ology, Benji B (BBC 1xtra), Rich Medina, Frankie Feliciano, and others. Tune in weekly Wednesdays, 3pm-5pm EST to www.handzonradio.fm for the JAC OF ALL TRADES show, and also Thursdays 6-8pm EST to MECCA RADIO on www.massivegroove.com, where Applejac spins soulful house grooves, disco classics, and more.
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