Just a week after Smokey Robinson performed a career-spanning set at NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series, fellow living legend Nile Rodgers and his longtime group CHIC pulled up to party.
Rodgers backed by vocalists Kimberly Davis and Audrey Martells performed a 30-minute live session that was filled with jams from start to finish. The set list included timeless hits: “Le Freak,” “I’m Coming Out,” “We Are Family,” “Get Lucky,” “Good Times,” and “Let’s Dance.”
With his trusty guitar strapped to him, set off the set with the CHIC classic “Freak Out.” They quickly turned Tiny Desk into Studio 54 – all that was missing was a dance floor and disco ball.
Nile Rodgers and CHIC performance for “Good Times” was so good that the 71 year-old spit a few bars of The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” that blew everyone’s mind.
Rodgers’ career is epic in both scope and impact. The 1979 CHIC album Risqué was a disco milestone that became a hip-hop cornerstone. Standing at inflection points for two different genres is enough to make a career, but Rodgers was far from done. An incomparable songwriter and session musician, his call sheet as a producer is symbolic of his immense range: David Bowie, Diana Ross, Madonna and Mick Jagger, just to name a few.
His work is embedded in the very fabric of popular music, and he continues to add to his resume decades after first making changes to the sonic landscape. In 2014, Rodgers won the Grammy for record of the year with Daft Punk. This year, he amassed more honors for his work on Beyoncé’s RENAISSANCE.