Groove Line

Wed. December 21, 2005 12:00 AM
by DJ Plez

Guetta and Blaze on Top
The House Music Awards (HMAs) were recently announced – I wonder if the nickname for the awards are “The Homies” – and the DJ of the Year trophy went to David Guetta (pictured). He’s better known as an artist, especially for his chart-topping “World Is Mine” from earlier this year, but from my perspective it’s very nice indeed to see a new name win a best DJ award. As for the other top Homie award, Track of the Year went to “Most Precious Love” by Blaze. I could write about how deserving this song is, but I’ll wait to explain it to you all when I pen the column detailing my 2006 Plez Awards.

Grammy Schmammy
The Grammy nominations were recently announced and somehow hometown hero Ralphi Rosario's Hot Freak Vocal Mix of "Don't Cha" by the Pussycat Dolls was not on the list for Best Remixed Recording. (and the Dolls were surprisingly shut altogether). In light of Ralphi being a house music pioneer and his prolific contributions to the current day dance music scene, it's a shame that his stellar efforts on "Don't Cha" were not officially recognized.

Perfect Holiday Gift
The Live 8 DVD (EMI) is a 4-disc set that is the ultimate holiday gift, containing live footage from the Live 8 shows in London and Philadelphia this past summer as well as a never-before-seen backstage documentary. The list of artists who performed at Live 8 is incredible – U2, McCartney, Madonna, Coldplay, Elton John, Destiny’s Child, and Black Eyed Peas just to same a select few – and their inspired live performances all neatly contained in this DVD release is quite simply a magnificent treat.

NYE – Coast To Coast
Here’s a sampling of what’s in the works around the country for the New Year’s Eve weekend.

Right Coast: The big NYE event in NYC is at The Roxy with the incomparable Junior Vasquez providing the soundtrack... On New Year’s Day night, the brand new club, Pacha, hosts a Saint At Large produced affair with Chris Cox and David Knapp commanding the dj booth... 1,000 miles away, Tracy Young will be DJing the Crobar Miami New Year’s Morning Party.

Left Coast: The ads claim that the world is coming to LA for NYE ‘06 and the myriad of offerings suggests that is indeed the case. The signature event is a Deborah Cox concert followed by a dance party with Manny Lehman on NYE at the Hollywood Palladium. Other parties throughout the weekend feature names such as Abel, Rauhofer, Henrichsen, Phil B, and Paulo. Wow!

Third Coast: In Chicago, the weekend gets off to a great start on December 30 with the Silver & Gold party presented by the Rails Marketing Group at the at the Prop House... Hydrate is doing a Studio 54-styled NYE celebration with resident DJ Ralphi Rosario at the helm... The other big event of the weekend in Chicago is DJ Abel at Crobar on New Year’s Day night. The same night 90 miles north in Milwaukee, DJ... John Murges will be tearing it up for the PUMP!’s New Year’s Recovery Party.

Music Reviews - Compilations

Global Groove – mixed by DJ Kimberly S. (Centaur). This continuously mixed compilation an energetic and powerful combination of vocals and driving rhythms. The mix includes songs from familiar artists such as Lola, Gioia Bruno, and Amuka with the standout track being “Freshness” by Simon & Shaker. This is a solid offering that will please many of the party boy set.

Pure Pacha 2005 – mixed by Pete Tong & Sarah Main (Om Records)
This is an interesting 2-cd set celebrating the sounds of this past year that rocked the dance floor at the world famous Pacha nightclub on Ibiza. CD1 is a textured progressive set mixed by superstar DJ Pete Tong and features several chart-toppers including the Africanism All-stars’ “Summer Moon. CD2 is mixed by Sarah Main and has an infectious dirty house groove that’s absolutely stellar. Filled with lesser known tracks by the likes of Mike Monday, The Beginerz, and Jose Nunez, this mix is the real gem of the package

Music Reviews – Long-Players

Bette Midler Sings the Peggy Lee Songbook (Columbia). The Divine Miss M reunites with producer Barry Manilow (her original piano accompanist) for this stunning musical tribute to a jazz legend. Lee classics such as “Fever,” “Is That All There Is?,” and “Big Spender” are included in this CD which should be a part of everyone’s collection. This is a must have!

Simplified by Simply Red (Verve). That unmistakable voice of Mick Hucknall is back in our midst in this collection of tracks that features both stripped-down versions of Simply Red’s classic songs – such as “Holding Back The Years” - as well as fresh recordings. The first single from Simplified, “Perfect Love,” has been charting well and is evidence that after more than 20 years Simply Red is still simply marvelous.

Without You Near by Markus Schulz (Ultra Records). Quite well known by trance audiences, Schulz has produced this terrific 13-track long-player. Filled with ample vocals and beautiful melodic arrangements, this CD is a succession of high quality tracks that will satisfy hardcore trancers as well as entice new fans.

Playing The Angel – Depeche Mode (Sire/Reprise/Mute)
This is the eleventh studio album for the group and the synthetic electronic pop style that made them famous sounds as good as ever. The 11-track long-player is fresh and vibrant: at times it makes you think that Depeche Mode is a new group bursting onto the scene, not a band that has been around for over 25 years. Playing The Angel is eveidence that Depeche Mode is getting better with age.

Music Reviews – The Singles Life

Clear Static is a band with serious rock cred – they have performed at the Viper Room in Los Angeles – and dance remixes of their single “Make-up Sex” (Maverick Records) that should be received warmly by those who found appeal with groups such as Scissor Sisters or The Killers.

“Ends of the Earth” by Sun (Underdog Ent.) is a strong vocal dance anthem that has made a big splash on the dance charts. Remixes by the likes of Paul Oakenfold, Tony Moran, Peter Presta, and Jason Nevins is ensuring an enthusiastic worldwide reception.

The second single from American Idol star Jim Verraros, “You’re Going Crazy (Estas Enloqueciendo),” is a driving dance track with a Spanish hook. Famed producers Mike Cruz and L.E.X. (Eddie X and Luigie Gonzalez) do the remixing duties.

The last of the big releases of 2005 is perhaps the best: “Don’t Forget About Us” by Mariah Carey (Island). There are very strong house remixes by the likes of Ralphi Rosario and Quentin Harris, but the stellar standout is the Tony Moran & Warren Rigg Dance Floor Anthem Mix. In my opinion it is the best work these two have ever done and is what a proper vocal peak hour remix should sound like.