Selected by Dan Grunebaum

Maxi Priest

Courtesy of Blue Note Tokyo
Maxi Priest

Summer in Japan means reggae, and who better to launch the season than Maxi Priest, the British superstar who arrives for a week of engagements at the Blue Note Tokyo in June?

Born Max Elliot in Manchester, England in 1962, Maxi Priest changed his name upon converting to Rastafarianism. Discovered building sound systems, Priest made his first recordings as a DJ, but then developed his signature sweet, soulful vocal style under the watchful eye of producer Barry Boom for his debut, You' Safe, in 1985.

A string of minor hits including "Crazy Love" followed, but Priest didn't really hit his stride until recording a cover of Cat Stevens' "Wild World" in 1988. The crossover success of the song propelled Priest onto the world stage, and over the past decade he has been a regular visitor to Japan, including headlining stints at Reggae Japansplash and other big summer festivals.

Later hits by Priest continued to define his style as a king of lovers' rock, notwithstanding the politics suggested by his bountiful dreadlocks. They include a number one hit in 1990 in the US with "I Just Want to Be Close to You," a top ten duet with Roberta Flack, "Set the Night to Music," and most recently, "That Girl," the 1996 megahit featuring gruff-voiced MC Shaggy. Priest returned to form last year with two album releases, a live album followed by the well-received CombiNation.

The booking of Priest this time at the Blue Note Tokyo instead of a concert hall or festival offers the rare opportunity to enjoy the singer close up and personal-ideal considering his intimate stage presence.

Maxi Priest plays the Blue Note Tokyo on 6/26-7/1. See listings for details.

Concert Listings
394: Regurgitator
393: Art Garfunkel


392: Belle and Sebastian
391: Super Furry Animals
390: Ben Folds
389: Elton John
388: Dido
387: Papa Roach
386: Beast Feast 2001
385: Summersonic
384: David Sylvian
383: Maxi Priest & Big Mountain
382: Fuji Rock Festival 01
381: Roxy Music
380: Bo Diddley
379: John McLaughlin & Zakir Hussain in Remember Shakti
378: Paul Weller
377: Coolio
376: Backyard Babies
375: Marcus Miller
374: Black Crowes
373: Megadeath
372: Dionne Warwick
371: Arrested Development
370: Mouse on Mars
369: Duran Duran
368: Linkin Park
367: Maceo Parker
366: Japan Blues Carnival 2001
365: Ben Harper
364: Cheap Trick
363: Stephen Malkmus
362: Mogwai
361: Weezer
360: Marilyn Manson
359: Green Day
358: AC/DC
357: Richard Thompson
356: Bob Dylan
355: J. Mascis
354: Leigh Stephen Kenny
352/3: Limp Bizkit
351: Boyz II Men
350: Reef
349: Park Tower Blues Festival
348: Roni Size
347: Compay Segundo
346: Incognito
345: Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes
344: Bad Religion
343: Japan Soul Festival 2000
342: Rocktober 2000
341: Richard Ashcroft
340: Motorhead
339: Festival Halou
338: Ricky Martin
337: Taj Mahal
336: Asian Dub Foundation
335: Lou Reed
334: Earth, Wind & Fire
333: Sting
332: No Doubt
331: Camel
330: Fuji Rock: Smash Talks
329: Summer Sonic
328: Mt. Fuju Aid 2000
327: Salif Keita
326: Buena Vista Social Club
325: Bill Frisell
324: Maxi Priest
323: Lenine
322: Rage Against the Machine
321: Tommy Flanagan Trio
320: Smashing Pumpkins
319: Pet Shop Boys
318: Japan Blues Carnival
317: Gipsy Kings
316: Steely Dan
315: Pshish
314: Big Night Out
313: Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
312: Harry Connick Jr.
311: Sonny Rollins
310: Speech
309: Santana