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The 45 Sessions Finale

Added on by The Vinyl Exam.

Wasup Examiners - It's Sama:

It was August of 2011, and I was only 2 years fresh in San Francisco. Skeme Richards and Supreme La Rock, aka "The Butta Brothers", were coming to the Bay Area. They were booked to spin at a party in Oakland where the DJs played only 45s.

The party was called The 45 Sessions.

My then-girlfriend was in town from the East Coast and I invited her to come to Oakland with me. I remember we had Vietnamese food beforehand. I remember that, because of BART (the Bay Area's rail system), we arrived way too early to the party and left just as it was starting to get hot. I remember that I got a signed copy of Rashaan Ahmad's newest album; it's hanging behind me as I write this. The reason I remember all of these details is because I wrote them all down in a blog I was keeping called "The 45 Brains".

Here's a short quote from that blog about my first 45 Sessions party in 2011:

But in addition to learning, I was there to have a good time with my lady. So I danced with her, did some tops when she went to the restroom, and at the end of the night I had gotten in one quick set. And one extra nice thing about this specific 45 Session was that Raashan Ahmad was releasing a limited edition clear LP. I saw Raashan with Crown City Rockers a while back at the Independent and it was a show not to have been missed. I have to support underground hip hop so of course I picked up the LP. Overall, a great night that got me inspired to rush home, put some albums on the tables, and hop back on the digging train. Can’t wait for the next Session.

In the years to come, I supported The 45 Sessions. Not out of some sense of loyalty to it, but rather because I loved going there. Every time I went, I learned something new, I heard something new, and I became friends with someone new. A few of the guests featured on The Vinyl Exam are friends that I met through The 45 Sessions. And future guests will also be in that group. It was a fun party that I looked forward to each month.

The 2011 flyer.

The 2015 flyer.

But now it's 2015. Again, Skeme Richards and Supreme La Rock, aka The Butta Brothers, are booked to play at The 45 Sessions. This time, the "Last" 45 Sessions. I invited my friend Ryan, who is now the photographer for The Vinyl Exam, and we made our way to Oakland. This time I rented a car so I can avoid BART-imposed curfew. At least this way we can go at a reasonable time and leave late. 

There was a lot of foot traffic outside of The Legionnaire. We saw a table full of 45s, each selling for a buck or much more. It was our newest friends from VAMP records, Tracy and Fernando. We high-fived, hugged, and chatted a little bit. DJ Platurn, the spearhead of the party, was outside too. I wanted to thank him for throwing such a great event for such a long time and that I was sad to see it go. But I did not get a chance to do that. Instead, Platurn told me to wait outside as he dashed in. When he came back he told me that Ryan and I were now on the guest list. A gesture that showcases Platurn's appreciation for the community he helped create.  

Inside, the party was already hot. I saw a sea of people, young and old, all sweaty from dancing. The floor never stopped moving. If you tipped your head back and looked up, you would notice that there was something leaking from the ceiling pipes. It would drip on the dancers and they would brush it away and keep dancing. I couldn't help but think that even the Legionnaire was sweating. 

The all-star cast of DJs brought their best work, no one took it easy. As expected, Mr. E and Shortkut absolutely murdered. Platurn, Enki, and The Butta Brothers were one-upping each other, with each set being more fire than the last, and each song making the dancers thirsty for more. Jerneye kept his end of the bargain and showed off that light touch all MCs must have. And a highlight of the night was when E Da Boss went on a creative trip that confused some and had others in a trance.

Ryan and I stayed to the very last moment. Platurn passed out signed posters, said a few words, and that was that. The end of the party. We drove home.

The 45 Sessions is something special to me, and it was something special for the Bay Area. Platurn, Enki, E Da Boss, Mr. E, Shortkut, Jerneye, and my man DJ Reggae Delgado who was not in attendance. This collective of Bay Area creatives brought talented DJs to Oakland from all over the world, they cultivated a community, and most importantly, they threw a great party. I will miss The 45 Sessions. 

Here are photos that Ryan took from that night.

A final note, I spoke with someone at the party and he suggested that The 45 Sessions might just be taking a long hiatus. So there might be hope for a future session.  

Ryan Jones Joins The Vinyl Exam as Photographer

Added on by The Vinyl Exam.

Our newest member, Ryan Jones.

Last week we announced that Matt Scott has joined The Vinyl Exam. Today we want to announce that in addition to a new writer, we also picked up a photographer! Ryan Jones is a good buddy of our host Sama. The two work a floor apart as scientists, they buy records together, and are always on each other's case about this or that. Please join The Vinyl Exam in welcoming Ryan to the family!

Here is Ryan's bio:

Ryan is a relative newcomer to the vinyl scene, but a long-time analogue fan. He has been an avid photographer since 2008, and specializes in 35 mm black and white photography. His photography career began rather unceremoniously when he discovered his father’s film camera in a dusty corner of the house, and began experimenting with the anachronistic world of film in the post-modern age. He still uses the same Minolta X-700 camera today. His current favorite film photographer is Chris McCaw but he has always loved the classic works of Edward Weston, Ansel Adams and Arnold Newman. 

Ryan is also a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco and specializes in the study of epilepsy and dysfunctions of neural communication. He is also a strong promoter of public science education and co-created the website www.knowingneurons.com in 2012. He has since moved on to producing the science podcast, Carry the One Radio, with Sama and others.

Here are a few photos that Ryan took. Come back tomorrow for more photos that Ryan took at the 5 Year Anniversary of The 45 Sessions.