By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings will bring the best of American soul and classic funk to Rio de Janeiro when they perform live at Vivo Ro on Friday, May 29th. Currently touring in support of their most recent release, Give The People What they Want, they will play four cities, Curitiba, São Paulo, Rio and Paraty during the Brazilian leg of the tour.
The group began to take shape in the mid-1990s in Brooklyn, New York, with some of its members becoming the earliest adopters and promoters of the soul, funk revival movement. Years before British artists including Amy Winehouse, Adele, Duffy, and others rose to fame by reinvigorating the soulful and warm sounds of the 1960s, American musicians Gabriel Roth, also known by his stage name Bosco Mann, and Philip Lehman were inspired by classic funk artists including James Brown and formed the group, Soul Providers.
While collaborating with various musicians to produce an album, Roth and Lehman met Sharon Jones, a singer, who, like James Brown was raised in Augusta, Georgia. Jones began singing as a child for the church choir and after moving with her family to Brooklyn as a teenager, Jones began providing, mostly uncredited, backing vocals for gospel, soul, disco and blues artists. It was a backing vocal gig that led Jones to one of the Soul Providers’ recording sessions. The two were so impressed with Jones that they asked her to perform solo tracks with them.
Continuing to build the revivalism scene, Roth and Lehman formed Desco Records and began pressing and releasing 45s including the Soul Providers’ Gimme the Paw which featured the track “Switchblade” with Jones on lead vocals.
After later parting ways with Lehman at the turn of the century, Roth created Daptone Records with Neal Sugarman of the Sugarman 3. Additionally, the Soul Providers disbanded and the Dap-Kings were born in 2001. With Roth as bassist, Sugarman as saxophonist, Jones providing vocals and others from the Brooklyn revivalism scene joining the group, they pressed copies of the LP, Dap Dippin’ with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings.
During the years that followed they would go on to release compilations, singles and four more albums including the most recent, Give the People What They Want, released in January of last year.
Following the announcement of the album in spring of 2013, Sharon Jones was diagnosed with cancer. The release and its supporting tour were then postponed. Jones is back now and going strong after a successful operation.
Additionally, after years of collaborating with artists like Amy Winehouse, who along with producer Mark Ronson, recorded six songs from the Back to Black album at Daptone and performed with the Dap-Kings, the band appears to be receiving the recognition they deserve. In January of this year, they earned their first Grammy nomination for best R&B album for Give The People What They Want. Although they lost to Babyface & Toni Braxton and their album Love, Marriage & Divorce, it was an acknowledgement of the group’s contribution to the music scene.
With several members coming and going during the years, the Dap-Kings lineup currently consists of Gabriel Roth (Bosco Mann) on bass, Neal Sugarman on sax, Homer Steinwess on drums, Fernando Velez on percussion, Binky Griptite and Joe Crispiano on guitars, Dave Guy on trumpet, Cochemea Gastelum on baritone sax and the vocalists Saundra Williams and Starr Duncan, in addition to Sharon Jones.
Vivo Rio’s doors will open at 10PM on Friday and the night promises to feature Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings giving fans of classic funk and authentic soul in Rio exactly what they want.