The Uptown Nights Roundtable Discussion

Harlem Stage Gatehouse

Harlem Stage Gatehouse

A criminally underrated aspect of New York is the high probability that one can find several interesting events to DROP into without a huge amount of pre-planning.  Sure, everyone is now familiar with Sinatra's saying of New York being The City That Never Sleeps, but consider this one..."The Bouroughs That Never Stop Thinking" (chill, I already got that copywritten).  Seek and you shall find any number of randomly brilliant topics to discuss with equally brilliant minds in some university theater or coworking space or bookstore. This is great if you're into having OFFLINE dialogue about anything from cryptocurrency (shoutout to my Bitcoin holders) to the differences in regional ceviches. ,

Tonight, I RSVP'd (for tha FREE) to The Uptown Nights Roundtable discussion entitled, "Soul Music Now".  Held at Harlem Stage Gatehouse, a small theater nestled within the City College of New York (135th & Convent) campus, the panel included soul vocalists, book writers, editors of well known digital and print music magazines Okay Player and Wax Poetics and other very capable speakers. The topic of the night: where soul music stands in this present day and age. 


I'll save the deep details for a later date, but here's what I took away after digesting the comments:

  • Though deeply rooted in a gospel tradition and arguably still is, soul music is constant in its evolution.  Everyone has their take on what is soulful.  It's very hard to find 60's style soul singers, but the sound can be caught in more genre blending artists of the now. It's not Aretha but there's still some soul.
  • Everyone agrees that D'Angelo's Black Messiah album is really, really good.
  • The "soul" of a sound probably be defined as metaphysical.  You can't really box it in with words.
  • America is no longer the guiding light to find traditional style soul acts.  People from all over the world have studied those Al Green and Temptation LPs that we sold for pennies and crafted their take on the American sound.  I could argue that this is nothing new and that America has created all types of trends to which others cultivate an obsession.  America and its inhabitants are known to forget about its past rather quickly. 

At the end of the day, I learned a few great tidbits from the panelists.  I thank them for lending their insight on this slushy night and contributing to NYC's great DROP-in success percentage.