Charles Stepney – Black History Month 2023 #BlackHistoryMonth

In honor of Black History Month, today we celebrate the life and work of Charles Stepney, a prominent record producer based in Chicago during the 60s and 70s.

In cooperation with Stepney’s daughters, Chicago-based label International Anthem released ‘Step by Step’ in 2022, which is an anthology of some of Stepney’s home recordings. The release has brought a revived attention to Stepney’s lasting legacy and influence. The New York Times wrote about ‘Step by Step’ and Stepney himself last fall:

Stepney’s career, however, was short: He died in 1976 at age 45, and while his music has lived on — and spread via samples by artists including A Tribe Called Quest, Kanye West and Solange — he hasn’t been the focus of a deep dive release, until now. Last Friday, the Chicago-based label International Anthem released “Step on Step,” a compilation of demos and experimental music Stepney crafted for himself. The set features anecdotes from his three daughters — Eibur, Charlene and Chanté — alongside sporadic studio chatter, offering a rare behind-the-scenes look into Stepney’s meticulous recording process.

The New York Review of Books published a wonderful piece this week about Stepney’s life and career as well (but heads up! there’s a paywall).

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