Had to go with the visual on this one for a number of reasons. First a definite shout out to Sinbad as (Big)”Little Walter”. You must understand Sinbad’s place in the culture during that time period: a mad funny dude on a real rise. I had not thought about this in context until this very moment but Sinbad really laid a serious template for a lot of successful comedians who follow. His hustle at the time between A Different World and being poised to take over the permanent host duties on “Showtime At The Apollo” within a year and of course movie roles that followed in short order should be duly noted. Sinbad’s casting was, in fact, a co-sign for Tony! Toni! Tone! in the best way possible.

So that was one level of visual importance. The other level? The shots that let you know Tony! Toni! Tone! was a band. Not a spacesuit-wearing band from a galaxy far away but a band of cats that were relatable in terms of age and fashion. “Little Walter” produced by Foster/McElroy(who were making their mark in the production world after success with Club Nouveau)didn’t really give an indication of the soul that was the shape of things to come from Tony! Toni! Tone! but it was a great and engaging introduction to the group. Something I always appreciated about the Tony’s is that even though the core was D’Wayne Wiggins, Timothy Christian Riley, and Raphael Saadiq they always presented as a band with collaborators like Elijah Baker, Carl Wheeler, Randall Wiggins and Antron Haile in the fold both on video and their live performances(one day we’re going to discuss the importance of their later appearances on Arsenio).

Today we’re going to bask in the glow of this great introduction to a new friend that became a longtime friend. Feel good music <---- See what I did there kinda?

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.