Keep The Funk Alive-70s-80s Masquerade Bash

Entertainment — By on October 20, 2010 at 12:03 am

Chris Black(L) along with Patti Howard, stewarded “Keep The Funk Alive,” at Zanzibar in Santa Monica. Pictured (R) is Tonex aka B.Slade.

By Erica Carey

Legendary songs of the 70s and 80s were celebrated at the musical event, “Keep the Funk Alive”, on the evening of Halloween. The event was held at Zanzibar, a lounge nightclub in downtown Santa Monica, where a dozen performers and musicians paid tribute to Rick James, James Brown, Lyn Collins and Robert Wilson through a collaboration of songs and memorable hits.

Performers made the evening funky and fun with energetic vibes and body grooving tunes, which made it impossible to keep your feet in one place. Silver disco balls hung from the ceiling while fans in white platform shoes, bellbottoms and plush teased wigs grooved on the dance floor. A seven piece band made up of a guitar, bass, saxophone, trombone, drums and two keyboardists adorned the stage while the vocalists rotated throughout the evening.

Coco, one of the first performers of the night, brought the funk with her popping dance moves and enthusiastic personality. With the help of James Brown lyrics, she was able to get the crowd “up, get on up,” on their feet and groove along with her. The beat slowed down when Tim Owens’ hit the stage, but the crowd was still engaged. His smooth melodic vocals proved to touch the soul as the audience joined in singing along with Owens’ rendition of Robert Wilson’s, “Outstanding”. The strong performance matched the title of the song, outstanding. The tempo picked up again when B. Slade walked on stage. His style and presence had the essence of Prince and Michael Jackson but his performance had an original twist. Humming chords to each individual musician, he choreographed James Brown’s song, “It’s A Man’s Man’s World”, piece by piece which let each artist shine and show off their talents individually and as a band. What amazing ways to keep the audience tuned in and appreciate the work put into the creation and collaboration of a song. As one fan stated, “That was incredible!” Additional performers were Andrae Washington, Tony Maiden, Shemika Seacrest, and Sy Smith, among others.

“Keep the Funk Alive” was organized by Chris Black of Black Pearl Music, and his business partner, Pattie Howard of PHBalanced Music. Black gathered his friends and fellow musicians to participate in the event, including his online radio partner on The Chris Black Show, DC the Comedian, who flew in from Houston to host the event. Many laughs were shared as he engaged the audience by provoking dance competitions and challenged his own vocals between sets. “Keep the Funk Alive” was the first tribute event of a four event series Chris Black will put together in future months. “I really enjoy tributes and want to do something to commemorate the great musicians of our time,” Black said. Black’s goal for the future is to hold an event like “Keep the Funk Alive” as a prequel party to the BET Awards.

For more information about Chris Black and upcoming events, please go to




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