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Adam Blackstone: Tiny Desk Concert

NPR Music is celebrating Black Music Month with an array of brand new Tiny Desk concerts. Together, these artists represent the past, present and future of Black music. This month of carefully curated shows is a celebration of Black artists expressing themselves in ways we've never seen before, and of the Tiny Desk's unique way of showcasing that talent.

Adam Blackstone captured the essence of Black Music Month when he said during his Tiny Desk concert: "In order to pay it forward, you have to pay it back..." That sentiment was the spirit of his performance, a multi-genre celebration of the legacy of Black music.

Even if you're not familiar with Adam, I assure you you're already acquainted with his brilliance — if you've watched The Voice, where he was an advisor, The Masked Singer or even Rihanna's Super Bowl LVII halftime performance, for which he was music director. The multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter is musical director to the stars.

The set opened with a surprise collaboration. Adam's mentor, the legendary DJ and producer Jazzy Jeff, joined the band and sprinkled in the jazz bop, "Brother J," with one of the key elements of hip-hop: the scratch. Then Adam introduced one of his favorite vocalists, Blakely, who captivated the office with a heartfelt rendition of Thelonius Monk's "'Round Midnight." The jazz vibe continued with a silky smooth composition by trumpeter Melvin Jones called, "The Storm Will Pass."

Taking time to reflect on his early career, Adam shared how one session with a certain artist changed his life. To the surprise and delight of those gathered, that person was none other than Musiq Soulchild, who performed two of his hit songs, "teachme" and "Just Friends (Sunny)."

SET LIST

  1. "Brother J"
  2. "'Round Midnight"
  3. "The Storm Will Pass"
  4. "teachme"
  5. "Legacy" / "Just Friends (Sunny)"

MUSICIANS

  • Adam Blackstone: upright bass
  • DJ Jazzy Jeff: DJ
  • DJ Aktive: DJ
  • Musiq Soulchild: vocals
  • Blakely: vocals
  • Ebony Joi: vocals
  • Michael Reid: drums
  • Melvin Jones: trumpet
  • Michael Burton: saxophone
  • Wilbert Williams: trombone
  • Chris Farr: saxophone
  • Justin Gilbert: keys

TINY DESK TEAM

  • Producer: Nikki Birch
  • Director: Kara Frame
  • Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin
  • Creative Director: Bob Boilen
  • Series Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Videographers: Kara Frame, Joshua Bryant, Maia Stern, Sofia Seidel
  • Editor: Sofia Seidel
  • Audio Assistant: Hans Copeland
  • Production Assistant: Ashley Pointer
  • Photographer: Elizabeth Gillis
  • Tiny Desk Team: Suraya Mohamed, Hazel Cills
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Nikki Birch