Inauguration Celebration with Zo! featuring Deborah Bond @ Montserrat House – Washington, D.C. – January 20, 2013

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Based on the 1967 film “To Sir, With Love” starring Sidney Poitier, we celebrate and honor President Barack Obama with a creative twist.

Join us for a night of revelry that includes food, djs, live music performances and inauguration-inspired cocktails, all done with a 1960’s mod twist.

Attire: Attendees are encouraged to come in their best 1960’s mod-inspired evening look.

DJ sets:

John Murph
DJ Stylus
Jahsonic

 

Live performances:
Kiyem Ade
Ne’a Posey
Zo! feat. Deborah Bond

Space is limited. Advance purchase and early arrival,
highly encouraged.

Montserrat House, 2016 9th St. NW, Washington D.C. 20001 | Sunday, January 20, 2013 | 8p-12a

BUY TICKETS

2012 in Pictures

"...Give is up for Lorenzo Ferguson a/k/a Zo!, ya'll!!" © Phonte in LA • Photo by Kris Perry (Oct. 2012)

“…Give it up for Lorenzo Ferguson a/k/a Zo!, y’all!!” © Phonte in LA • Photo by Kris Perry (Oct. 2012)

2012 has been another helluva year. I got to do some traveling and play shows in LA, NYC, DC, Chicago, Detroit, Nashville, St. Louis, Bethesda, MD, Greensboro, NC, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Columbia MD, Boston, Virginia Beach, Raleigh, Vienna, VA, Memphis, Indianapolis, San Francisco, and Phoenix …..and Durham, NC for this coming New Year’s Eve. I completed my first year as a full-time musician after the school I taught music at closed last year – I was then able to continue teaching by conducting individual piano lessons and workshop to groups of young ones. I began endorsing Moog Music, received another standing ovation during a performance back home in Detroit, and got the bulk of the recording finished for my newest album ManMade. Sy Smith and I did some touring this year playing big solo shows at DC’s Blues Alley and NYC’s Blue Note and received big performance props from Sheila E while I was back on the road with The Foreign Exchange who wrapped up performances for an album we have been touring for two years, Authenticity. I hit my ten-year anniversary of releasing music as well. Outside of all that, it was a fairly quiet twelve months……….

…Looking forward to 2013. Enjoy the photos!!

Music Moves…

Music. Moves.

Music moves so much that some of us have a handful of songs that we can’t even listen to in public explaining to others why you’re looking crazy by holding your eyes wide open in an attempt not to drop those tears that have been gathering since the music started is never quite on anyone’s ‘to do list’.

Music moves us to get our asses up and running in the morning…

Music moves you into a place of peace in order to avoid putting hands on people at work who you want to choke the absolute shit out of on a daily basis. Sometimes it serves as a necessary part of simply getting through your day…

Music moves us to reflect and to reminisce. It’s crazy how you can hear a song and quickly be dropped off at a very specific time in your life. How many times have you found yourself saying, “Oh woooow, this takes me right back to……”?

I’m gonna share this particular story about how music moved me one day while I was still teaching in the classroom – but not in the traditional “I heard a song and was moved”-type of way. This was actually via a student of mine, matter of fact… He was my best student. Like everyone else who came through my classroom, he knew that I was a working musician who toured, released music, etc. and he would always inquire about my shows and the music, in general. Remembering this, at the end of one school year, I surprised him by passing him copies of three of my albums (Passion & Definition, Re:Definition and Freelance). I let him know how proud I was of his successful school year in the music room and encouraged him to keep up his great work. We chatted a little while longer before he headed home for the summer… And to be honest, I didn’t think too much more about it after that… I mean giving praise to kids who are doing a good job in the classroom is all in a day’s work, right?

During that summer, I was in the middle of taking more classes at George Washington University for my Master’s degree in Special Education Children with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. It was actually dope the way it was set up. The professors would come to US at OUR school and teach so convenience was completely in our favor in regards to not having to travel down overly-congested ass Connecticut Ave. to GW’s campus to attend classes. The thing was, I took my summers off every year so in order to continue with the degree and graduate on time with the teachers I started the program with, I would have to spend some of my time back at the school. Maaaaaaaan, I didn’t want to do that!! Didn’t y’all hear what the late, great Bernie Mac said?? “When Black folks ‘break’… We BREAK!!” He was telling jokes, but he wasn’t joking… I wanted NO parts of that school during my cherished summers off. Eh… With that being said….. my ass was right back at the school taking classes with everyone else during my summer break. Well, this one particular day after one of the classes was over, I decided to head downstairs to the music room just to check on things and make sure my spot was still in order. I got a knock at the door….. I thought to myself, “Dammit, who the hell is this?! I’ll bet it’s someone who saw me come into the room and now they want to try and come in here and bang on the drums…” ……Opened the door and saw that it was the student who I gave all of the music to. Helluva relief…. We chatted for a second to catch up, but I could tell that he was a little hyped up about something. He wasted no time cutting the conversation short with, “Hey, Mr. Ferguson, I want you to listen to this!” He proceeded to plug his guitar into one of the amps on the floor. I responded with, “Ah ok, what you got? You been working on some new material?” …Not quite. BUT, what he began to play rendered me absolutely motionless and speechless. My jaw damn near hit the floor as I realized that he was playing parts of songs from the albums of mine that I had given him a month prior! I’ll tell you what, after experiencing this level of extreme humility I have realized that it will automatically diminish your vocabulary, because all I could come up with to say in response was the SAT-vocab section worthy, “Yooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!” …while repeating, “Come on man… Come ON man, really?!” It was CRAZY. He told me that he had been using the CDs to practice on during the summer. WOW. Listen man, lemme tell y’all something real quick… I’m not a crier, but this damn near got me good that day. Do you understand what it means to have a student of yours who has pretty much changed his life around because of the music instrument you put and helped keep in his hand and now he wants to get better by learning music you wrote….???!! And he plays back to you what he has taught himself by ear??!!?!? Not only was this a highlight in my teaching career, but a highlight in my LIFE.

Once again, Music. MOVES. Music is moving… Allow it to work in you.

Quick Story… Y’all Know I Have Plenty: Bad Gigs…

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Please allow me to begin this one by GIVING THANKS to be in somewhat of a position to where I don’t have to take every single gig (show) that is offered to me. Because *begin Slick Rick voice* once upon a time not long ago… I wasn’t giving a rat’s ass about the type of show I was involving myself in… I guess you could say in some instances that I was the Clifton Powell of live music. Getting consistent work……But not always the best work. The booking conversations usually went something like this…

Them: “Ayo, you good to do a gig on Friday”

Me: “Is there money involved?”

Them: “Yeah”

Me: “When and where?”

Seems pretty ridiculous, right?… Maaan, let me tell y’all som’n. When you’re just out there taking any and every gig thrown at you, you become highly susceptible to what I and many others love to refer to as “that bullshit”. Most of the musicians I’m close to have an extremely over-the-top sense of humor and could probably find a career in comedic writing if they chose to pursue it. Why? Because we encounter so much of….. you guessed it – “That bullshit.” You wanna test it out? Ok… Do this RIGHT NOW…..or uhhh, soon after read this. Hit up someone who you know who is a working musician and ask them to tell you about some of the worst gigs they’ve ever played. You will probably hear tales of monetary trickery that leads to violence, gigs in the middle of nowhere with very questionable crowds, or stories involving overly demanding non-singin’ ass singers OR non-rappin’ ass rappety rap dudes who request to “rock with the band”, but then tell the band to stop playing because they wanna “do this one a capello” – Yeah, you read that correctly, “A CAPELLO”. I’ve witnessed promoters get their asses whooped after shows, artists meltdown on stage, drunk folks in the crowd lose their damn minds… Maaaaan, it has been an ADVENTURE so far.

Now, there are some issues that are just completely out of anyone’s control. For example, I can remember playing a show with Stacy Epps in 2006 at Bohemian Caverns while battling food poisoning as a result of some bad Chinese food from the night before. Being on the verge of regurgitation the entire time you’re on stage isn’t exactly the greatest feeling in the world, but I managed pulled on through that one – head down on the keyboard during some parts of the night and all. Oh, and uhhh… I don’t think I touched Chinese food again for another 3 or 4 years after that either. On the other hand, there are instances where the control was placed in the hands of the ‘artist’ and they just kinda blew it. I was playing in the house band down at Bar Nun in D.C. during one of their Monday night open mic joints in 2007 and one kat came up ready to do a poem over whatever it was we were playing at the time…. But he couldn’t just do his poem, that wasn’t extra enough. Dude proceeded to reach up and unscrew the lightbulb above his head so that he could as he put it, “set the vibe”. There was NO way ANY of us could keep a straight face on our instruments after witnessing this dude damn near burn his hand off trying to handle a lightbulb that had to have been on most of the day. He turned around to us pissed off… “Y’all are fuckin’ up the vibe!! Maaaan, y’all fuckin’ up the vibe!!” To which we responded, “No… YOU’RE fuckin’ up the vibe!!” After thoroughly berating his antics in front of the crowd …He ended up exiting stage right, promptly.

But one of the most “special” gigs I’ve ever played was one I agreed to maybe a few months after I moved to Maryland back in 2006. I was told that there would be one rehearsal before the actual show and was then given a dollar amount that was low, but as explained earlier my mentality at that time was simply, “What would Clifton do?” I was sent about 30-35 songs, all covers, to learn for the next day’s rehearsal. Some of the songs were even live show performance clips recorded directly from a television speaker. Rehearsal was damn near 45 minutes away from me, as was the actual show. When I arrived to the rehearsal, I discovered that there was ANOTHER keyboard player there… Ok cool, no one told me this… BUT, it was actually to my advantage because apparently he had played with the vocalist before and knew most, if not all of the music. So I made it work by suggesting that I play synth bass instead of the keyboard parts on the show. No problem… I wasted time learning all of that music, but instead of loading my Yamaha Motif keyboard in, I was able to pack away and take my much smaller Nord Lead II board to the show. Advantage: Zo! …Or so I thought. During soundcheck for the show, the keyboardist decided that it would be a good idea to transpose his keyboard a half step UP in order to play whatever song it was we were running at the time. For those who aren’t familiar with the term “transpose”, this basically means to switch your keyboard to a totally different key WITHOUT having to play different notes. For example, if I’m playing a “C” and transpose the keyboard a half step up… that same “C” now becomes “C sharp (C#)”. It’s a very lazy way of playing. I mean, what’s wrong with simply learning the song in a different key! Anyway…. The plan was to begin the show with an opening “jam session” in F minor. We were to play, take solos, whatever… very simple, right? Well, after getting into position to play, the curtain opened up to…………………..*silence*

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The drummer FROZE………………

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………….. The other keyboard player was looking directly at me talkin’bout, “Should we start NOW?!!???”

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…..I was pissed.

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…………… I looked at the drummer and in a yell/whisper said, “Count it off!! GO!! Count. The. Song. OFF.”

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…… Drummer still had not moved post-curtain opening.

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………… I seriously began to debate on requesting them to close the curtain so that I could fight the drummer.

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……………… FINALLY. Drummer: “One, two, three!” *snare hit*

We started to play after what seemed like 10 minutes on stage of unnecessary silence. But as we played, I could hear that something seemed, I don’t know… “off”, but I couldn’t really tell what it was as the monitors weren’t the greatest. My suspicions were soon confirmed on the next song when the keyboardist started to play some of it and realized he was playing in the wrong key. Why was he in the wrong key, you ask?! Because his keyboard was still transposed a half step up from soundcheck!! He stopped playing……….transposed his keyboard BACK to normal, and proceeded to start again.

Did I just witness what I thought I………..??!!

I don’t think you understand what I just said. He STOPPED in the middle of what he was playing, clicked around on his keyboard to bring the transpose setting back to “0” and THEN started the song again. I have never seen any shit like this before or since. At this point, I wanted to walk the hell off of the stage because, #1… Who DOES that?! and more importantly #2… THAT meant that he and I were jamming on the opening song in TWO DIFFERENT KEYS. I was in F minor…. and he was in F# minor!! No WONDER the shit sounded off. And I bet it sounded TERRIBLE in the house speakers. I just remember thinking to myself, “MAN, I wish I wore a disguise to this punk ass show.” Fortunately, the performance didn’t get any worse that night but I will NEVER forget how it started off. When it was over, I acted as if I was going to receive a monetary bonus for packing everything up in less than 2 minutes. I got my money and RACED outta that spot.

In this business, you gig and you learn verrrry quickly.