‘Super Fly’ brings Mayfield’s music to a new generation

By From page B1 | March 07, 2014


Rene Escovedo

SUISUN CITY — Get out the bell bottoms. The 1970s are returning.

“Super Fly,” a Curtis Mayfield tribute show, stops by Dimitri’s March 14.

Mark Elliott is the man behind “Super Fly,” the name affectionately taken from the 1972 blaxploitation film with music from Mayfied. Co-producing the show with Elliott is Alvin G. Brown of GB Records Hollywood.

Coordinating a birthday party for guitarist Fillmore Slim, Elliott discovered a huge market for black nostalgia, particularly from the 1970s. “People love Curtis Mayfield and the whole ‘Super Fly’ era,” he said.

The music had more substance then; the musicians of that era were incredible, Elliott said.

Mayfield was born in 1942 and died in 1999. He became paralyzed from the neck down in 1990 after stage lighting equipment fell on him at an outdoor concert. His health began to decline after the accident. Mayfield died from diabetes.

For Valentine’s Day, Elliott and his company, A List Musiq Circle, brought a Luther Vandross tribute show to Dimitri’s.

It was such a success, Elliott thought the venue was a perfect fit to pay homage to Mayfield with some of the Bay Area’s “greatest musicians” such as percussionist Rene Escovedo.

The show will be like riding down the highway in a Cadillac and listening to “Super Fly” music, Elliott said. He also promises to throw in some other very notable songs of the era. (Hint: Think “Shaft.”)

Also on hand for the evening is Fillmore Slim, whose given name is Clarence Sims, performing songs from his new CD.

He’s also a diehard Mayfield fan.

“Curtis Mayfield and the ‘Super Fly’ soundtrack has been the most influential LP of my life,” he said in a press release.

Fillmore Slim wrote that he was influenced by groups like The Impressions, of which Mayfield was a member. He sees the show as an opportunity to play the blues and honor Mayfield, whose musical legacy still plays as the backdrop to his life story, he said.

There’s no denying the success of “Super Fly,” Elliott said, adding that the film has become a cult classic. The irony is that the plot focused on a drug dealer trying to make one last score while the soundtrack has stories about empowerment and the effect a living a drug-dealing lifestyle.

Elliott worked as an engineer at a recording studio that hosted artists such as En Vogue and Tony, Toni, Tone. After the studio was leased out, he began bringing acts to Yoshi’s in Oakland and San Francisco. He partnered with Eric “EQ” Young on Feb. 25 for a funk tribute show in honor of Black History Month.

He’s got four tribute shows and is hoping to take them to casinos and possibly Las Vegas. “Best Intentions,” his Motown revue, has also been featured at Dimitri’s.

A new one, which he hopes to launch for Mother’s Day, may feature Dee Dee Simon, winner of the Steve Harvey 2013 Neighborhood Sing Off. Preliminary plans call for it to include music from artists such as Donna Summer and Whitney Houston.

The “Super Fly” show also includes The Super Fly Band with featured vocalist Codany Holiday.

“Curtis Mayfield’s style is different from the rest,” Holiday said in press materials. “His sweet melodies and deep lyrical content has helped me to develop my own style as a soul singer with emotional substance.”

Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.

“Super Fly,” A Curtis Mayfield Tribute Show
8 p.m. March 14
Dimitri’s, 700 Main St., Suite 106, Suisun City
Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey joined the staff of the Daily Republic in 1980. She’ll tell you she was only 3 at the time. Over the past three decades she’s done a variety of jobs in the newsroom. Today, she covers arts and entertainment and writes for the Living and news pages.

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