Hip Hop at Lehman Center

Bronx, NY—The roots of hip-hop music as well as other manifestations of the culture have been firmly implanted in the concrete streets of the Bronx for forty years. Three of the pioneers, Africa Bambatta, Grandmaster Flash and Kool Herc,  of this musical style began their innovative work in the parks of the Bronx.

In the mid-1970’s, a Bronx bar owned by Albert “Allie” Abbattiello was transformed into a hip-hop club, Disco Fever, by Abbatiello’s son, Sal. DJ Grandmaster Flash and the 3 MC’s performed at the first show of the new entity at 396 East Tremont Avenue. During the next decade, the Bronx club became a home to artists of the new musical genre and magnet to fans of the music.

The nightclub served as the locale for the filming of the movie, “Krush Groove” in 1985. During the legal process of obtaining a permit to film at the club the New York City government found out that Disco Fever was being operated without a cabaret license and was later closed down by the government.

Thirty years after the club’s closing, Sal Abbatiello in cooperation with Lehman Center has organized a concert at the luxurious 2,300 seat Lehman Center Concert Hall, on the campus of Lehman College, which will feature many of the artists who had appeared at the club.

The accuracy of the atmosphere at Disco Fever will be ensured by the presence of those who worked at the club in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Abbatiello will be onstage with veteran broadcaster Dr. Bob Lee of WBLS to serve as hosts of the show. Among the more than one dozen acts that will perform will be George “Sweet Gee” Godfrey, the night manager of the bar who introduced Abbatiello to hip-hop music.

Grandmaster Melle Mel, who worked with Grandmaster Flash as one of the 3 MC’s at the inaugural show at the club will team with Scorpio. Both were members of the Furious five that accompanied Flash in his later performances.

The other headliners of the “Old School Hip-Hop Concert” are Kurtis Blow, Biz Markie and Rob Base. One of the biggest hit recordings of the genre, “Rapper’s Delight” will be performed by its originators, the Sugar Hill Gang, whose name was taken from the record label of Joseph and Sylvia Robinson.

Other performers on the bill include:  Soul Sonic Force, Mc Shan, Fearless Four, F Ski Valley, Spyder D,  Busy Bee Starki and Spoonie Gee.

Music between sets will be provided by DJ Brucie B, DJ Hollywood and DJ Marly Marl.

The show will certainly be attractive to those who were teenagers in the 1970’s and 1980’s, but would be an educational as well entertaining experience for young people who enjoy listening to rap and hip-hop music today.

The performance is part of the many and diverse activities that will be presented in the Bronx during Bronx Week, May 8-17.

Tickets to the concert scheduled to begin at 7 pm on Saturday, May 9 will be available at the box office at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard or can be obtained by calling (718) 960-8833. Tickets are priced at $60, $55 and $45.

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