Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

Welcome To B&S



The Snowboy Jazz and Funk Column

Snowboy New material in 2013 from Mick Hucknall New material in 2013 from Gibonni New material in 2013 from Mica Paris The Goldmine 40th Anniversary Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show Billboard Mikhail Chak (Chakster) New material in 2013 from George Benson New material in 2013 from Lisa Stansfield The Soul Snatchers: Scratch My Itch Martha High: Soul Overdue (Freestyle) The New Mastersounds: Breaks For The Border Funkshone Marc de Clive-Lowe: Take the Space Trane (Tru Thoughts) Jukebox Mambo: Various (Jazzman Records) Menagerie: They Shall Inherit (Tru Thoughts) Si Cranston: Dancehalls and Supper Clubs Ray Gelato & The Giants, Wonderful: The Lost Italian Songbook The Good Foot - Madame Jojo's

It's not been my busiest year with my own band I'll admit. I've been dragging my heels making a new album because the industry is in such an outrageous state with illegal down-loading and rampant file-sharing that I don't see the point in just making the music just for people to grab it for free left, right and centre. It's become so passive. Everybody does it without thinking. How many of you readers have send tracks off of your iTunes to your friends? I'm guessing virtually all of you, and there you have it.

Although not my busiest year with the band, the gigs have been packed and spectacular. I've been busy with sessions with artists such as Mick Hucknall, Gibonni, Mica Paris and a forthcoming one with (of all people) George Benson. I must remember to take my very worn copy of In Flight with me to get signed. I've been playing percussion with Lisa Stansfield again. Yes, she's back with a new album next year and massive tour. I've played every concert with her since her first tour in '90 and have been looking forward to her reappearance. The three concerts have been superb this year; all dangerously packed solid, so that builds things nicely for next year. I'm still co-programming the music for Craig Charles' Funk and Soul show on BBC 6 Music and leading The Fantasy Funk Band all-star Funk big band (with a huge concert this week as I write). Of course, last month it was the 40th anniversary of the barrier-breaking club The Goldmine with the Godfather, Chris Hill, myself and Gary Dennis. The night was rammed and every effort was made to play those special Jazz Funk tunes that people would remember from those glory days of the late-70's – the heyday of the club. It was celebrated in style. I'm still very much involved in Wayne and Gerardine's Vintage projects (which must confuse the hell out of my latin music following) organising (curating) the 1940's side of things. Due to such heavy rain and the recession many festivals went under this year and Vintage nearly went too but we incorporated with the very unusual Wilderness Festival which became a surprise hit, with vast queues outside the venue every night. We helped the City of Preston celebrate this year and helped them celebrate in Vintage -style, with an average of 35,000 a day coming to our event in the city's main park. I'm still extremely proud to hold my DJ residency, called The Good Foot at Madame Jo Jo's in Soho every Friday night. I've been very fortunate to have the most incredible and legendary guest DJ's from the various vintage Black music scenes. I've enjoyed some great trips abroad, with the recent trip to St. Petersberg, Russia being the big eye-opener due to the fantastic Funk scene there with Misha Chak and the many other young DJ's with their excellent collections. Music-wise, Tru-Thoughts easily win through as the most consistent label releasing the most dangerous and adventurous music. Considering the state of the industry, I've never known a time in recents years where so much Funk has been released; most of it forgetful and predictable. That said, check this years albums by The Soul Snatchers, Martha High, The New Mastersounds, Funkshone, Push, The Big Ol' Nasty Get Down, Dojo Cuts, The Soul Twisters, The Bugulu Foundation and The Third Coast Kings. All very superior. Top of the tree has to be Frank Raines' Detroit Funk label, Funk Night Records. They've released nearly 30 7” singles of brand new classic-sounding Funk now. The latest being the incredible version of Sex Machine by Tim, Gary and Romeo.

A 'Vintage' New Year At The South Bank

Wayne Hemingway's award-winning Vintage Festival huge New Years Eve event at the South Bank is nearly sold-out. Running from 7pm til 3am it has 20's to 40's music in the massive Clore Ballroom (ran by myself) with the extremely important 20 piece Swing orchestra, The New Squadronaires, Foxtrot and Charleston dance lessons, the DJ Rob Be Bop and even George Formby! There is the Let It Rock area with 50's R&B, Rock and Roll and Rockabilly, there is the Soul Casino area with Eddie Piller, Wayne and Jack Hemingway, myself and guests tbc, fireworks on the Thames and so much more. So there's much for the Black music fan. What a way to spend New Years Eve. Contact the Royal Festival Hall for tickets but be quick.


Right at the last minute comes one of the best albums I've ever heard. It's the forthcoming CD by Jazz Fusion/Broken Beat Keyboard genius, MARK DE CLIVE-LOWE, called TAKE THE SPACE TRANE on Tru-Thoughts. Mark continues to break barriers with his edgy Jazz Fusion/Broken Beat/Nu-Soul mixture and this CD takes him to a very unexpected (even) higher level. This time he's mixed his music with the Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra and so to hear his unorthodox edgy Jazz Fusion, cutting edge sounds and irresistible drum programming merge with a contemporary Jazz big band is just too much for my senses. It works in a big way. The accompanying promo-notes reveal that some big band fans were horrified and some were excited. To me, I don't see why people should feel so strongly either way as it DOES work perfectly natural, except that no one had thought of the idea before. Not only does De Clive-Lowe shine, the orchestra's soloists are all world-class too. With the exception of my desire to have seen a vocalist in there at some point (like Bembe Segue) I would consider this CD as faultless and look forward to getting to know it better as years go by. This really is something truly amazing. Last month I mentioned my eager anticipation of the new compilation on Jazzman Records called JUKEBOX MAMBO. Because I was so certain how excellent it would be, I did place it in my years Top 10 albums without even hearing it. Ok, I have it now and my decision was correct. It's everything I hoped it would be. It's a unique compilation of 50's Latin orientated Rhythm and Blues lovingly compiled by DJ Liam Large (who you will know from his famous club-night Jukebox Jam). Most tracks have never appeared digitally before and so we are indeed treated to some exceptional music of this genre. For something so specialist, it is immediately accessible and a lot of fun and I cannot recommend it highly enough. So, it Tru-Thoughts again, and yet AGAIN, January sees another blistering release: It's a staggering new project by the Bamboos band-leader and producer, Lance Ferguson, from Melbourne, under the name MENAGERIE called THEY SHALL INHERIT. This is his new spiritual Funky Jazz project that harkens back to the great 70's labels such as Black Jazz and Strata East and sounds completely authentic. This album guest stars Jazz Funk superstar Roy Ayers and Melbourne-based Funk singer Fallon Williams and is without doubt Lance's greatest achievement so far. In a different syle, if you're fans of the early Soul sound of Jackie Wilson etc a CD I would urge you to go and buy is the long-awaited DANCEHALLS AND SUPPER CLUBS by SI CRANSTOUN. He is an artist who is just about to follow Imelda May into the mainstream as he's selling out everywhere he's playing at the moment and there is only one way he is going. Up. Si was part of the authentic Ska band, The Dualers, with his brother, which he left to pursue a solo career with his Jackie Wilson R&B sound. It was a great decision. Si is a great songwriter of very classic-sounding songs which makes this CD very strong indeed; full to the brim with potential dance-floor fillers. The CD also benefits by the appearance of his live band, who know these songs inside out. A special bonus on the CD is an even better version of his established club-classic Dynamo. I'm surprised it's not out on a 45 as it would surely be a hot seller all over the planet. We are all fans of Si Cranstoun here at Blues & Soul. Expect big things. Lastly, and always cause for celebration, is the new CD by the hardest working man in showbusiness, RAY GELATO. It's called WONDERFUL, on Double Scoop Records . It's a great mixture of beautifully-arranged Gelato originals, old Italian classics and a few standards. He is singing in both Italian and English too, and the band are on fire, as you'd expect. Ray is just a complete institution, coming to prominence in 1980 with the R&B group Dynamite and then The Chevalier Brothers. By the mid-80's Ray had gone solo and since has been playing an average of 300 gigs a year all over the world.

The Good Foot

My weekly residency at Madame Jo Jo's 'The Good Foot' seems to be going from strength to strength. It's every Friday night from 10 til 3am. We play 60's & 70's R&B, Funk, Soul, Boogaloo and Rare Groove with the very best vintage DJ's guesting. Recent guests included Jay Strongman, Jo Wallace, Rob Messer and Martin Freeman (of The Hobbit/Office fame).


From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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