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Lee Fields: Tiny Desk Concert

This year's Black History Month celebration at the Tiny Desk features a carefully crafted lineup spanning many genres, generations and walks of life. Each artist represents the best in their class and will be performing at the Tiny Desk for the first time.

You can't see it on the screen, but there's a piece of paper taped to the Desk in front of Lee Fields throughout the R&B, blues and soul veteran's long-awaited Tiny Desk debut. It's got the set list, of course, but also an instruction to the singer: "NO AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION!!!!"

It speaks to Fields' legendary showmanship — he's often been dubbed "Little JB" due to his similarities to the hardest-working man in show business — that his team felt a need to rein in his generous impulse to work any crowd before him, knowing the time constraints of a Tiny Desk concert. It speaks further to Fields' showmanship that he ended up ignoring the directive: By the time he got to the set-closing "Two Jobs," which features a call-and-response listing the hours in the day, he was yelling, "I want y'all to count the hours!"

Though pandemic-era protocols limit the size of the Tiny Desk crowds these days, Fields got the shouts of approval (and participation) he was seeking, as he barreled through three songs from last year's Sentimental Fool and one relative oldie from a career that stretches all the way back to the late '60s: the self-explanatorily titled "Ladies," from his 2009 album My World.

SET LIST

  • "Forever"
  • "Ladies"
  • "What Did I Do"
  • "Two Jobs"
  • MUSICIANS

  • Lee Fields: vocals
  • Benjamin Trokan: guitar
  • Jason Colby: trumpet
  • Frederick DeBoe: sax
  • Toby Pazner: keys
  • Evan Pazner: drums
  • Jacob Silver: bass
  • TINY DESK TEAM

  • Producer: Bob Boilen 
  • Director: Kara Frame
  • Audio Engineer: Neil Tevault 
  • Series Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Audio Mixing: Josh Rogosin 
  • Videographers: Kara Frame, Joshua Bryant, Maia Stern, Sofia Seidel 
  • Editor: Sofia Seidel
  • Audio Assistant: Brian Jarboe
  • Production Assistant: Jill Britton
  • Tiny Desk Team: Suraya Mohamed, Marissa Lorusso, Hazel Cills, Ashley Pointer
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann
  • Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)
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