Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

Welcome To B&S



Snowboy's Jazz and Funk 2011 Retrospective

The Snowboy Column (2011 Retrospective)
The Snowboy Column (2011 Retrospective) Jen Kearney Empirical Craig Charles Photo: Dean Chalkey) Ronnie Ross Quintet: Mauricio Mendes and Nana Vasconcelos: Upside Down Mark de Clive-Lowe: Renegades (Tru Thoughts) The Good Foot Mostly Jazz funk and Soul festival

Well, the end of another year. Has it been good? Well, mmmmmm, yes and no. Despite the world-recession I’ve managed to keep motoring along. I had a lovely tour earlier this year with my Afro Cuban Jazz group and we featured Eddie Palmieri’s vocalist, Herman Olivera, session-work is coming back again for me, my club session ‘The Good Foot’ at Madame Jo Jo’s has been going great and I have another ‘Vintage’ festival under my belt curating the 40’s area of 2,000 people.

This has actually given me courage to try my hand at a full-on 40’s weekender in March next year in Torquay called Riviera Swing. I tried Jazz Dance weekenders this year. The first was not busy but we all saw massive potential and had an amazing time. We cancelled the second due to poor sales. That was sad. Other weekenders, such as Southport Dance Weekender are going from strength to strength. Next years one (at Minehead) has just sold out, with 6,500 people due to attend next May. A new Soul weekender has appeared in Ibiza called Love Soul, and we are all excited about that. This year’s one was fantastic. It was sad to see the very successful Soul weekender at Prestayn not go ahead though. The Jazz Funk revival continues with loads of great events happening all over the UK. I’m very proud that Essex is absolutely booming with so many Soul and jazz Funk events happening.


Out of the mundanity of UK Jazz festivals comes Manchester’s very cutting-edge festival and Birmingham’s Mostly Jazz Festival. Both a breath of fresh air. For Jazz music it’s been a very weak year. Mundanity is becoming the accepted norm. Thank God for bands such as Empirical. A huge and interesting debate went out of Facebook about “Why aren’t Black musicians getting booked to play in Jazz clubs in the UK?”. A good point. There are loads of great players that I discovered just from the debate itself. The Jazz festivals are generally very safe and middle-class it has to be said. The debate was never going to work as it just turned into a lot of name-calling and accusations. A lot of people who could have spoken up were conspicuous by their absence too. The fact is: running clubs is a business and one needs people through the door. Our Arts funding is one of the worst in Europe, and THERE is where the problem lies more than anything. Magazines are closing down left, right and centre, but Blues And Soul is bucking the trend and is back in print due to popularity (thanks everyone). This is the most important Black music publication in the world so it’s right that it should be available in print again.

I have some very exciting things in the pipeline which I look forward to telling you about next month. I’d like to thank you all for supporting this column. I’ve been told that on-line alone it gets more than 20,000 unique visits each month, which is staggering to say the least. Best wishes for the new year.


I’m very proud to be the music programmer and script-writer of 70% of Craig Charles’ amazing Funk and Soul show on BBC Radio 6 every Saturday night. It’s the number 1 show on the station with on average 100,000 listeners. Craig’s enthusiastic and passionate delivery is very addictive, which makes for essential listening. Generally the show features most American Black music from the mid-50’s to the mid-80’s and new recordings in that style. Although being in the Jazz area of this magazine, I certainly like to make people aware of the new Funk releases too, so check my reviews later in this column. There still seems to be an endless amount of Funk 45’s being released, which pleases me no end – although many are not quite there. I’m in a privileged position to hear most of all the new or reissue material weeks, if not months, in advance so if you don’t get a chance to hear Craigs show at least go to the BBC 6 site and check out his latest playlist.


Madame Jo Jo’s is the home of my Friday night DJ residency ‘The Good Foot’ where my music policy of 60’s and 70’s Rhythm and Blues, Funk, Soul, Boogaloo and Rare Groove certainly seems to be offering something different in central London at the weekend.

Madame Jo Jo’s, 8-10 Brewer Street, Soho, London W1F OSE. 10pm til 3am. £8 admission. For more Goot Foot details

(Couldn't choose 10!)

1. Jen Kearney – To The Moon (Chin Chin)
2. Anthony Joseph & The Spasm Band – Rubber Orchestras (Naïve)
3. Eddie Roberts & The Fire Eaters – Burn (Legere)
4. Zara McFarlane – Until Tomorrow (Brownswood)
5. Empirical – Elements Of Truth (Naim)
6. Jacqui Dankworth – It Happens Quietly (Specific)
8. Sabrina Malheiros – Dreaming (Far Out)
9. The Mighty Mocambos – The Future Is Here (Legere)
10. Nick Pride & The Pimptones - Midnight Feast Of Jazz (Record Kicks)
11. Nat Burchall – Sacred Dimension (Gondwana)
12. Sean Khan – Slow Burner (Far Out)
13. Emily Saunders – Cotton Skies (F-IRE)


1. Jen Kearney – Warm Bath Eyes (Chin Chin)
2. Electric Empire – Baby, I Need Your Lovin’ (Expansion)
3. Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed – Come And Get It (Capitol)
4. Jasmine Kara –In The Basement (Acid Jazz)
5. The Fantastics – Fat Hector (Freestyle)
6. Andy Lewis – Good Soul In The Good Times (Acid Jazz)
7. Sureshot Symphony Solution – Mr Fortune and Fame (Sure Shot)
8. The Mighty Mocambos – Zulu Walk Pt 2 (Legere)
9. Magnus Carlson – From Now On (Acid Jazz)
10. Bobby Brooks Hamilton – It Was You (Wild Records)
11. Edenheight – Peaceboy (Breakin’ Bread)
12. Incognito – Life Ain’t Nothing But A Good Thing (Dome)


Mark De Clive Lowe – Renegades (Tru-Thoughts)

Although firmly established in the Jazz world and the unsatisfactorily-named Broken Beat movement based in West London Mark is actually from New Zealand and is now based in Los Angeles. Although one of the major artists in the Broken scene he was always, like most of the artists, a true individual and maverick. The immense talent and musical depth just exudes from him, as anyone witnessing one of his live performances will testify. Tru-Thoughts are lucky to have him. This is a fantastic album and proves how versatile he is with his seamless mixture of Fusion, Afro, Funk, Boogie and contemporary left-field R&B. His keyboard playing and programming are as excellent as ever, and it’s great to see singers Bembe Segue, Tawiah and Omar guesting, alongside many others. A very complete and satisfying album. I think you can tell that I‘m a fan?

Mauricio Maestro Feat. Nana Vasconcelos – Upside Down (Far Out)

This is, apparently, the second album of a trilogy that’s taken 5 decades to complete. The trilogy is between guitarist, singer and composer, Mendes, and beloved master-percussionist Vasconcelos. It’s a hard album to give critique as, for what it is it’s incredible. If you’re looking for a hummable, sing-along commercial album this isn’t for you. This is quite often sparse, bare-bones roots music; quite often just a vocal, guitar and a shaker. I say sparse but somehow there’s a subtle wall of sound throughout punctuated by Vasconcelos’ occasional percussive (trademark) scatting. Ultimately, this album is a beautiful journey and a thing of beauty.

Ronnie Ross Quintet – Stompin’ With…. (Fantastic Voyage)
Tony Crombie - Whole Lotta Tony (Fantastic Voyage)

I get sent so much music – and most I will not review. I genuinely get excited to receive these reissues though. This is British Modern Jazz at it’s very best and on the beloved (and obscenely rare) Tempo and Ember Records at last lovingly reissued by Fantastic Voyage. This month both CD’s are from 1961. Ronnie Ross’ album, I believe, was his debut as a solo artist. I was very fortunate to have known and played alongside Ronnie for a few years – always an incredible world-class soloist. It’s great to hear him here as a young man absolutely on fire. Again, we also have another album by the drummer Tony Crombie who, after diverting into different areas ended up as the resident drummer at Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club around the time this album was made. Both albums are beautiful and still in that transitional post-Bop period – after all, Coltrane was just about to tear up the rule book soon after this period. As with all these reissues, they’re a wonderful snap-shot of the time and an absolute joy. As I said last month: The packaging is excellent on both CD’s, with great booklets, artwork and even bonus tracks that weren’t on the original. Many thanks to Fantastic Voyage for releasing these very important recordings.


Please feel free to contact me with any Jazz news/event info that you feel would benefit others at Thank you.


From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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