“When the “Queen of Funk,” Chaka Khan, began to sing her hit “Sweet Thing” at the Tiny Desk, she seemed surprised at how the audience enthusiastically joined in. It’s just one example of how ingrained her work is in the fabric of music history. Since she emerged in the 1970s with the funk band Rufus, Khan has crafted a legacy that includes 22 albums, 10 Grammys, forays into jazz and theater and collaborations with Prince, Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell and Quincy Jones. Her 50 years in the music industry recently culminated in a long overdue 2023 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The moment guitarist Rob Bacon opened the set on the talk box, with bassist Melvin Davis and drummer Jay Williams laying down the beat, it was clear we were about to get a lesson in some naaaasty funk with “Tell Me Something Good.” If the way our in-office audience was jamming to “What Cha’ Gonna Do For Me,” and “Ain’t Nobody” is any indication, be prepared to watch this show in a location where you can comfortably groove. “Sweet Thing” showcased vocalist Tiffany Smith killing the most iconic (and most vocally difficult) moment in the song, something that has humbled many a singer.

And what better way to close out this Tiny Desk during a month celebrating the contributions of Black women in music than with the anthem that has empowered woman-identified audiences for decades: the Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson penned “I’m Every Woman.”Throughout the set, I’m reminded that Khan’s unfathomably big and powerful voice is a glue that holds intergenerational music together.”



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