June 3, 2016
Muhammad Ali... Sociologically Significant... Great Man, Hero and Legend! RIP
For decades he was considered the most well known and most famous person on the planet... He was a celebrities celebrity, an Olympic gold medal winner, a world champion, an outspoken leader in the civil rights movement, a role model to tens of millions, a poet, a rapper before rap was an art form, devoutly spiritual and so much more that is decent, selfless, loving and good, but most importantly, Muhammad Ali was a humanitarian--a true lover of people, in particular, those less fortunate, oppressed, voiceless and suffering.
I was blessed to meet, talk to and joke with Muhammad Ali. Over the years we've chatted at various functions. For me personally, he was and will always be a huge source of inspiration, motivation and ethnic pride.
Never in my life have I seen people respond towards another human being the way masses do with Ali. It's surreal and almost eerie--the profound love, deep expressed affection, reverence, respect, admiration, etc., and almost everyone is reduced to tears when near him, and I'm talking about well before he was stricken with parkinson's.
In many ways he will always be The Greatest.
Thank you Muhammad Ali for your many sacrifices and for your lifetime of contributions towards the betterment of humanity.
June 03, 2016
RIP Muhammad Ali
Prince Insights From Revolution Band Member Mark Brown
As an early Prince band member, my friend and former client Mark Brown made his debut with Prince on the Controversy tour. He soon became known for his funky bass playing. Prince stated in a Rolling Stone article that without Mark on bass he would take bass out of the music.
Brown, a talented and ambitious writer, producer, business mind and creative spirit himself, worked with many name artist including Mazarati--one of his creations, Chico DeBarge, Troop, Georgio, Stacy Lattisaw, Teen Dream, Sheila E., and LakeSide, to name a few.
Added to his list of accomplishments, Mark received two Grammy Awards and two American Music Awards for his contributions to the Purple Rain movie soundtrack. He also performed with Stevie Wonder and Stevie Ray Vaughn, along with Salt n Pepa and Jodie Watley in an MTV special. He again had the honor of performing with Stevie Wonder at his Character Party. Mark has also shared the stage with Sting, Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, Q-Tip, and Doug E. Fresh.
After leaving Prince, Mark was signed to Motown as a solo act where he released two albums and was entrusted with the production of some Motown acts.
On a personal note, Mark and I hung out a lot. He regularly invited and included me in much of what he was doing musically and socially, whether with Prince, the local bands he was involved with, Motown and other artist he was producing, concerts in MN and on the road, recording sessions in his home studio, (my ears are still ringing), and much more. I was always impressed with his creative gifts, ambition, drive and work-ethic, but more so with his generosity and simply being a truly nice person and thoughtful and good friend to me.
Prince featuring Boni Boyer - Chain Of Fools
Boni was a brilliantly gifted singer, a multi instrumentalist, writer, producer, arranger, visionary, non-stop have you on the floor laughing joke teller who was loved and respected by the music industry.
Prince Features Band Member Miko Weaver's Beautiful Guitar Solo
In this video footage Jeff Durand friend and client Miko Weaver impresses with his amazing guitar solo.
My friend and then client, former Prince guitar player Miko Weaver and I go way back. Whether hooping, eating pizza, clubbing, talking about life, double dates, etc., he was always fun to be around. Miko was very generous with me as well, regularly inviting me to Prince events, rehearsals, concerts on the road, incredible after parties, etc.
Miko is featured in this concert footage playing a last minute Prince requested solo, which Miko improvised, Prince liked, and was included in subsequent shows.
Watching Miko create in his home studio was one of my early music inspirations.
Prince with Boni Boyer
April 21, 2016
My friend and then client Miko Weaver is pictured here with Prince. Miko was in Prince's New Power Generation
I found the news of the passing of Prince certainly unexpected, sad and disappointing. It instantly took me on a long and heartfelt trip down memory lane.
Having grown up in Minneapolis, I'm intimately versed in Prince's musical genius, his rise to the highest entertainment industry heights, the resulting vibrant and fun-filled music and club scene that the Twin Cities enjoyed for many years, and so much more. I feel blessed to have been privileged to see up-close and participate in a lot of it.
Via my three pictured Prince band member friend/clients Mark Brown, Boni Boyer and Miko Weaver, others not pictured, one of his recording engineers who was my client and others, I was privy to rehearsals, private band member social events, parties and other events at the rehearsal facility prior to Paisley Park and then later at Paisley Park, front row seats at concerts around the USA and a few abroad, lots of Prince stories and more.
The people I saw and met at Prince concerts and other Prince events were a veritable whose-who list. He absolutely was a celebrities celebrity. In particular, I recall a post Madison Square Garden concert performance at Radio City Music Hall, where I met then MTV's biggest star Downtown Julie Brown, who became my friend and client. Also in attendance was Diana Ross, Quincy Jones, Jon Bon Jovi, Madonna, Jodi Foster, Brooke Shields, Nile Rogers, etc., etc. The room was packed with A-List celebrities and record label, television and radio executives.
Personally, I was and remain an admirer of Prince's gift of music, his devotion to it, his songs, his amazing live performances and the fact that he un-apologetically and uncompromisingly did things his way.
People often ask me if I knew Prince. Well, we certainly were aware of each other. I've got stories... One crazy, funny, yet very irritating to Prince and Co happening occurred while on tour in Chicago, when one of my clients threatened to not perform and wanted a pay increase, etc. I was the reluctant go between. The underlying true discord had to do with an attractive tour stylist that my client and Prince both liked... I can't say that I really knew Prince. He'd sometimes acknowledge me, other times look past me, yet often times give me a playfully great photo opp--noticing me front and center at a concert with my camera focused on him, and on some occasions he'd say a few words. He did call one time, thanking me for informing his office of the passing of my client--his former band member. He was sincerely moved by the event. He later called her mother, who then called me telling me of Prince's very warm conversation and kind sentiments.
RIP Prince. Thank you for your enormous contributions to music, popular culture and cool..
December 31, 2014
New Years Eve 2014 on Ocean Drive in South Beach
December 1, 2014
Jeff Durand client Lewis Martinee aka DJ Martinee, is a multi-platinum selling songwriter and producer, who won the distinct honor of Billboard and BMI songwriter of the year, out-ranking the likes of Michael Jackson, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Prince, Sting, Cindy Lauper, Elton John, etc. In addition to founding the multi-platinum selling girl group Exposé, he also wrote and produced all of the songs on its first two albums, Exposure and What You Don't Know. He also contributed to the group's third album, Exposé.
Lewis Martinee routinely works with super-star artists, whether producing, writing and or remixing tracks. Clients have included Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias, Celine Dion, Company B, Arika Kane, Jermaine Jackson, Sequel, the Cover Girls, Debbie Gibson, Vanessa Williams, Pet Shop Boys, Son by Four, Elvis Crespo, Jermaine Jackson, Tatiana and many more.
His contributions to the nascent freestyle music movement in the mid 1980s contributed to its popularity, which continues to this day.
As a DJ, Martinee has currently been contributing to a dance music radio show that is programmed in markets around the world.
December 31, 2013 - January 1, 2014
I brought in 2014 on Miami Beach's palatial Star Island at the estate of Sean "Diddy" Combs. Having arrived early, I was privy to seeing the grounds during set-up for the private party.
Combs was very hands-on, in sweats, working along with a large staff, meticulously arranging furniture, checking and double checking details, and did so until nearly 10:30. He then went inside and shortly returned dressed in a tux.
Celebrities at the very exclusive event included Beyonce, Jay Z, Drake, T.I., Kelly Rowland, Fat Joe, Scott Storch, Damon Dash, Rick Ross and Robin Thicke, to name a few.
I had a great time celebrating and socializing until the sun came up.