Daniel - 16th December 2006
SHALAMAR star Jeffrey Daniel "did the double" when
he brought the house and the curtain down at the Christmas 2006 Cali-R special
at Dunstable Leisure Centre.
The body-popping, moon-walking Shalamar front
man kept a large and enthusiastic crowd more than happy as they sampled "the
Jeffrey Daniel experience" of a selection of "old school" hits,
standards, new material from his solo career and of course, his locking and
robotics skills -- tricky enough for a young man but all the more remarkable
performed by a man nudging his way though his late 40s.
But it was also a
poignant night, because Daniel performed the last Cali-R at the leisure centre,
home to the events for the past six and a half years. Sid Hudson, the organiser,
takes them to their new home at the newly built Grove Theatre in May.For a
venue that really isn't designed to hold dances, the centre has been a good
home since April 2000.
Saturday night's was a brave show by Daniel,
who eschews the exotic hairstyles and stage clothes of the 70s and 80s Shalamar
for jeans, shirt and his ever-present hat. And now, supported by a young, talented
six-piece band he firmly controls his own stage agenda.
So, although there
WERE Shalamar numbers -- I Can Make You Feel Good, There It Is, A Night To
Remember and Friends -- they were interspersed with simple but funky arrangements
from his solo catalogue, plus unlikely numbers such as Rapper's Delight and
Killing Me Softly.
This could be perceived as a risky strategy to
lay before an audience that was mainly "old school" by inclination,
and indeed there were inevitably some who retreated to the bar for a smoke
and a drink, but to Daniel's credit he carried the rest along with him, prompting
enthusiastic response from the floor and -- God forbid! -- even the sighting
of one or two lighter-flames being waved in the air! Afterwards Daniel told
me: "I love
doing what I do.
Shalamar is what I do and Shalamar has me made
who I am. But I also want to move on and make a future. I don't want to become
just another oldies act doing the revival circuit and locked into the past.
Shalamar is still there -- a flexible, fluid thing. We have our own projects
and just meet up when there is a concert. I'm joining up with Howard (Hewett)
and Carolyn (Griffey, who replaced original singer Jody Watley) for a New Year's
Eve concert in Dubai."
a far cry from the mid-1970s when, as Daniel, admitted "I sneaked into
the Soul Train Show as a dancer and fought and fought to stay on it. I just
wanted to be a dancer on that show. I knew I could dance, and I also knew I
could sing. I just wanted the chance".
Thirty years and 30 million albums
later, he's still proving his talent and, now living in London after years
in Japan, he intends to keep on proving it. For Sid Hudson, meanwhile, a new
day at the Grove Theatre will dawn in May, with Cali-R favourites, Gwen Dickey`s
Rose Royce headlining.
The 2007 Christmas special in November (!) will
feature the welcome return of the Stylistics, after two previous barnstorming
performances at Cali-R Christmas shows.