‘Studio Campfire Stories’ at The Promontory feat Zo! and Carmen Rodgers

The Band (Photo by Kevin Maxey)

When it comes to music in 2015, there seems to be an abundance of rap, pop and EDM. At some point during the past few decades the formula switched up. R&B got lost in the shuffle. Once upon a time, you could hear a great R&B song with a hot 16 from your favorite rapper. That notion has been completely flipped. These days, you will hear a hot chorus from your favorite R&B star over a rap song. It seems as though R&B has all but disappeared; however things are not always what they seem.

Recently, I made my way over to the Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood and visited The Promontory. The Promontory is a Michelin star restaurant and does double duty as a music venue. I was invited by DJ Kweston, one of Chicago’s most prominent and versatile deejays, to come and check out Zo! and Carmen Rodgers’ “Studio Campfire Stories LIVE” and I was not disappointed.

Zo! Is a multi-instrumentalist and producer from Detroit. He has worked with The Foreign Exchange, Phonte, Sy Smith and a host of others. One of his many collaborators, Carmen Rodgers, is an R&B singer-songwriter from Dallas who has joined him on tour.

The vibe was smooth and electric from the moment I walked into the venue. Rodgers did an amazing job of performing songs that were either hers or were originally written and performed by others. There was a moment during the show when Rodgers forgot the lyrics to one of the songs and did an impromptu speech jumping right back into the song after she remembered the lyrics, with a little help from the sax player. Her performance of “Greater Than The Sun” was beautiful and Zo’s piano intro was lush. Zo’s command of the band is masterful and they never miss a beat. The way he is able to incorporate hip-hop into these sultry ballads is uncanny and is only matched by the late J Dilla.

Zo! and Carmen
( Zo! and Carmen Rodgers (Photo by Eddy “Precise” Lamarre)

“Studio Campfire Stories” was great and serves as an example that R&B has not disappeared at all; it’s been fused with hip-hop and is making its resurgence.

Duane Powell, Carmen Rodgers and Ken Rye Photo by Eddy "Precise Lamarre"
Duane Powell, Carmen Rodgers and Ken Rye (Photo by Eddy “Precise” Lamarre)

The Promontory has been having some amazing shows and I’m looking forward to more like this one. Can’t wait to share my next night out. Stay tuned.

How do you feel about R&B? Were you at The Man Made Tour? Who would you like to see perform? Leave a comment and share.

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