HUDSON RIVER PARK DAY: HEADHUNTERS, TOPAZ

Hudson River Park Trust, in association with MainStage Productions, is pleased to announce The Headhunters, Topaz and Radio Mundial for the first concert of 2003 for the Hudson River Rocks series.


By Forrest Hirtzel
From the instant funk classic "Chameleon" to the rare-groove sound of "God Make Me Funky," as one of the most innovative groups in history, the Headhunters have redefined modern funk, world music and jazz. Formed by Herbie Hancock in 1973, the legendary Headhunters are a band that throws down dance rhythms with an indisputable depth of groove. In 2003 the Headhunters maintain the same vitality and creativity on their newest Basin Street Records release, Evolution Revolution. The album showcases the incredible musical synergy which brought them world fame in the ‘70s. The Headhunters are: Bill Summers, a highly accomplished musician, percussionist and ethnomusicologist who has, in addition to his solo projects, performed with Anita Baker, Stevie Wonder and George Benson; Mike Clark who was instrumental in creating the "East Bay Funk" sound in Oakland, CA, and has performed with a diverse number of artists like Charlie Hunter, Chet Baker and Tony Bennett; the group is anchored by the unmistakable bass of co-founder Paul Jackson. This musical prodigy began playing bass at age nine when he started performing with the Oakland Symphony. Jackson has done stints with Sonny Rollins, Stevie Wonder and The Pointer Sisters. Victor Atkins joins the original Headhunters alumni on keyboards, along with the talented post-bop alto saxophonist Donald Harrison.

Topaz was formed in early 1998 by Austin-born saxophonist Topaz McGarrigle and downtown guitar guru Mark "Tewar" Tewarson. Topaz and Tewar gathered some of the best musicians in the NYC jazz and funk scene and embarked on a mission to bring progressive jazz back to the dancehall. Topaz's music travels through wide territories, encompassing 1960s soul jazz, the future funk of the 1970s, and the rhythms of modern day New York. They blend the spirituality of John Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders, the rhythmic energy of Fela Kuti, the exploratory element of Miles Davis' electric period and the soul of Donny Hathaway. The band quickly developed a local following and in late 2000 hit the road performing with, amongst others, Widespread Panic, Galactic, The Wailers, Soulive and Karl Denson's Tiny Universe. The band made its mark on the live music community. Melding Afrobeat, dub and improvised jazz, their live show unifies the audience at an almost tribal level. The band entered the studio in April to record the follow-up to their acclaimed Velour release The Zone.

Formerly Alma Latina, Radio Mundial, which translates as "World Radio," was founded by vocalist/guitarist Jean Shepherd and techno-house DJ/Producer Alexi Delano. The band plays its modern Latin-inspired funk to stages in and around New York. Radio Mundial will release their debut full-length La Raiz this summer on RX Records.

Hudson River Rocks is an open air concert series showcased against the river's shores under New York skies on the historic Pier 54, located at 13th street and the Westside Highway in New York City. All performances are free and open to the public. The June 8th concert will run from approximately 5:00 pm until 9:00 pm.

In its inaugural year, Hudson River Rocks attracted more than 8,000 people with renowned artists the Waco Brothers and the White Stripes. Last year, more than 18,000 people came out for such influential and diverse international acts as Los Amigos Invisibles from Venezuela, U.K. indie rockers Clinic, and Canadian sensation The New Deal. On the heels of these successful events, the stage is set again this year for a fantastic summer music series with concerts to be held once a month throughout the summer.

The next two concerts will be held Thursday, July 10th and Thursday, August 7th. The line up for these shows will be announced shortly.


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