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Fri, Jul 27, 2012

Community, Culture

LPMF HIGHLIGHT: Kevin Hedge

BY Glocally Team

LPMF HIGHLIGHT: Kevin Hedge

The Lincoln Park Music Festival is heating up! Saturday’s line up will be hosted by The Legendary Ms. Theresa Randolph and Slaag Records Recording Artist Mr. Eddie Nicholas. They will feature a series of DJ’s including Kevin Hedge – Blaze Imprints & Roots NYC, Lou Gorbea – Omi Tutu, T-Wise – Ubiquity Soul and Darnell – Kindred Spirits. Hedge, an internationally recognized DJ, started producing in 85′ and has an impressive few decades under his belt in the House music industry. His new work continues to manufacture hits and for the past 8 years he has partnered with Little Louie Vega to produced the longest running weekly house party in NYC. Take a moment to stop by Saturday and celebrate Hedges’ music! Tomorrow’s festivities run from 12 – 9:30pm.

 

 Kevin Hedge (Blaze Imprints & Roots NYC), Lou Gorbea (Omi Tutu), T-Wise (Ubiquity Soul) and Darnell (Kindred Spirits)

 

More about Kevin Hedge

BLAZE, the trio started to develop demo recordings in the style of the days popular club music. With “DJ” Kevin at the controls, Josh “the piano man” on the synthesizer and the “lead vocal” styling of Chris, they turned out song after song for other artist and producers to record. Some included “This Time” by Colonel Abrams knock off Hunter Hayes, “One Man” by Chanelle and “Reachin’ ” by Phase II. The three ultimately signed their first record deal with the newly formed Quark records in ’85, producing three major club hits of the time; “Whatcha Gonna Do”, “If You Should Need A Friend” and “Can’t Win For Losing”.

The BLAZE sound caught the ear of then Motown Vice-president of A&R Timmy Regisford, who immediately put them to work on numerous Motown projects. “These guys were making productions that was raw enough to move the club, but they always kept the integrity of the songs.” Regisford on Blaze. By now, the Blaze sound was capturing the spirit of dancers in the clubs and the hearts of radio listeners in NY. With so many original productions receiving commercial success, the team was in high demand as remix producers and overdub musicians for other remixers. As remixers Blaze have work on Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Macy Gray, Jamiriqui, Lisa Stansfield, Babyface, Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, and countless others. As overdub musicians they have worked with DJ/producers David Morales, Frankie Knuckles, Timmy Regisford, Masters at Work and many others. It was at this point Timmy Regisford decided it was time to take it to the next level, he invited Kevin, Chris and Josh to record a full length album for the soul music icon Motown. “25 Years Later” Blazes’ first long player was critically acclaimed upon its’ initial release in ’91 and has since went on to become one of house musics’ classic albums. “This was the first time we had the time and the budget to experiment, with sounds, equipment, and live instruments.” Kevin notes “This project allowed us to try out the song writing and production styles of our musical heroes.” When listening to “25 Years Later” you can hear all of Blazes’ influences as well as their signature soulful house sound. Josh reflects “We really didn’t know what we were doing. We just tried to emulate the productions of artist like Donnie Hathaway, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield and many others, who created the soul music of the seventies.” What’s most impressive about this work is, they wrote into the lyrics and the interludes a concept, an over riding theme, the story of a slain civil rights leader who was to be the reincarnate of Malcom X.

After touring with bands and playing places like Wembley arena, most of the Caribbean islands and major cities in the U.S. . Blaze returned home to start businesses that included; real estate, car services, retail stores and nightlife(Kevin and Josh co-owned and promoted the Club Shelter in NYC). During this time Chris decided to continue his career in the now popular hip hop R&B music genre, leaving Josh and Kevin to further their careers by writing and producing for other artist and vocalists. “We took this time to reflect on where we had been and what we had done, but moreover where we were going.” says Milan. “It was during this period we(now only Josh and Kevin) began to find other voices.” Kevin quips. ” We really crafted some of the production and writing tricks we are known for today, during that time.”

Hedge and Milan went on to produce three more albums under the Blaze banner : “Basic Blaze” on Slip-n-Slide/UK, “Natural Blaze : the James Toney Jr. Project” on Life Line/Japan and “Spiritually Speaking” on Slip-n-Slide/UK . Also you will find many compilation albums comprising some of Blazes’ greatest hits, a few are : “6 Hubert St.” on Avex/Japan, “Pure Blaze” on Easy Street/US, “Blaze Productions” on Playhouse/Germany and “Spiritually Speaking then and now” West End/US. In ’95 Blaze scored their biggest writing success with a song called “Hideaway” performed by De’lacy. The song went into the top ten on the UK charts and was added to a vast array compilations, racking up sales in the millions. Josh and Kevin also penned charts hits for Amira “My Desire”, “Most Precious Love” feat. Barbara Tucker, and themselves with the no# 1 dance hit “Breathe”. This helps to maintains the duo as one of the most sought after writing, production and remix teams in the business.

Blaze went on to be involved in various other productions and businesses. Kevin later partnered with the “God Father of Disco” Mel Cheren to relaunch his seminal dance imprint West End records. Blaze then released their very first mix compilation on West End entitled “Found Love” feat. the hit single title track “Found Love” by Blaze. A song dedicated to the truest kind of love, the love of self. Kevin spells out “You can only share love if you have it and it all starts with loving yourself.” “I feel Kevin and Joshs’ music is the perfect match for West Ends’ legacy. They produce danceable R&B songs. Not only are they great artist but also a good businessmen.” Cheren proudly announced. “Our goal is to do what the label has always done. Release great music that will stand the test of time.” says Kevin who serves as president. Musically the group have collaborated with super DJ/Producer Louie Vega (one half of the production team Masters at Work) to assist him with the production of his own solo debut long player “Elements Of Life”. Vega quotes “Blaze are pioneers in our house music community. I’ve been lucky enough to watch them become masters as songwriters, producers and artists. I was honoured to work with them on the songs “Elements Of Life” and “Brand New Day”. In retrospect, I learned a valuable musical lesson from my experiences with Blaze. There were more emotions inside of me that needed to be expressed, but it couldn’t grow without the fostering I receivefrom so many people, beginning with Blaze.”

After more than 20 years on the scene BLAZE is now just Kevin Hedge and he continues to produce relevant hits today as he did back in ’85. For the past 8 years Kevin has partnered with Little Louie Vega to produced the longest running weekly house party in NYC. RootsNYC located in the heart of NYC’s meatpacking district at Cielo Club takes place every Wednesday night with Kevin and Louie DJing each week. Louie & Kevin create a home for house music each and every week, spinning timeless hits that represent the very best the music they love has to offer. Playing together and with Guest Djs and artists they have made ROOTSNYC and Cielo a must attend event each week within the house community and for visitors from around the world. In 2010 Kevin and Louie took ROOTSNYC to the mainstream with America’s #1 R&B radio station WBLS 107.5 every Friday night. In two short years ROOTSNYCLIVE on WBLS has become the #1 House Music Show in the nation enjoying a prime time slot from 10pm to 12am with no signs of slowing. Currently Kevin is gearing up for his first original studio production in seven years, “Follow Your Heart” is slated for release February 2012. “I see myself as a tool being used by the universe helping to bring lyrical messages and melodies to the world.” Kevin explains “Music is communication. Ideas come to us from the spirit of creation.”.

Blazing the past, present and future, Kevin Hedge is truly excited for all the universe has to reveal through music and the creators guidance.

 


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