Happy 52nd birthday to Prince

Associated Press photo/New York Times


Today is Prince’s 52nd birthday. But he won’t be making a fuss because he doesn’t believe in celebrating holidays.
Undaunted by his ways, a bunch of his fans and former associates partied in his honor Saturday night at the 4th annual Prince Family Reunion at the Cabooze.
There were lots of Purple blasts from the past. I didn’t see the entire show but did catch the inimitable trio of Kirky J, Tony M and Damon Dickson trying to revive (maybe resuscitate) their New Power Generation history. Let’s just say that only Kirky J (a k a Kirk Johnson) has still got it. Tony M was the rapper heard on Prince’s “Diamonds and Pearls” album.
On Saturday, the terrific Hornheads sounded crisp and soulful. St. Paul Peterson trotted out his Family act, not the Petersons but the Family from the mid-1980s. “Mutiny” sounded as funky as ever (Michael Bland was badass on the kick drum and Sonny Thompson and Mike Scott were in the groove on guitar, St. Paul handled the bass and Eric Leeds elevated the party with his sax solo). 
St. Paul introduced one new jam, “At 8,” from the group’s three-years-in-the-making, forthcoming 2010 album. But the group will now be known as F Deluxe. The lineup still includes Family members Susannah Melvoin and Jellybean Johnson (neither of whom was at the Cabooze) as well as Leeds and St. Paul.
Former NPG guitarist Mike Scott just returned from some out-of-the-country concerts backing the Jacksons. He reports that Jermaine sang Michael’s leads and more shows are in the works. But Scott predicts that he’ll more likely hit the road first touring again in Justin Timberlake’s band.
St. Paul had just returned from an Australian tour with the Peterson Brothers featuring Sheila E on drums. He also was promoting his newly released “Best of St. Paul: Straight to the Funk Vol. 1.”
Although not as crowded as previous years, Saturday’s Prince Family Reunion drew plenty of Purple followers (who were getting Dez Dickerson to autograph his book about his Revolution years) and lots of local musicians.
Fancy Ray McCloney, the unstoppable comedian and eternal Prince aficionado, was there, of course, in resplendent red-and-white, and Shannon, who was invited onstage to dance with the Family, introduced me to Kitten, who plays Apollonia in an all-things-Purple show by Ovation, a Twin Cities ensemble.
Such is the pop life in purple in 2010.

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