Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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Feature

Jazzie B: BACK TO LIFE

Jazzie B
Jazzie B Jazzie B Jazzie B Jazzie B

WIth a live appearance @Arches in Glasgow for the Bulleit Originals 'Three Ages Of Soul' (playing a Sound-system set), alongside Soul singing legend Martha High and DJ/ singer Ben Westbeech just around the corner.

Not to mention the twentieth year of the massive and ground- breaking Soul II Soul on the horizon - Lee Tyler talks to the funkiest dred of them all- Dj/ producer and all round idol, the inimitable Jazzie B OBE. As you can guess, they have a few things to talk about...

Lee: I wanted to ask you about this Bulleit Bourbon gig you're doing up in Glasgow.

Jazzie: I'm just looking forward to going over to Glasgow to do this gig and I've got alot of anticipation about it. It’s always nice up north, they always appreciate the music alot. So I'm looking forward to the gig.

Lee: Do they normally give you a good reception?

Jazzie: Yeah especially up in Scotland - from Leicester upwards really.

Lee(LOL) Really!? - to be specific.... Your sharing the Bill with Martha High and Ben Westbeech. You've worked with James Brown before. Did you come across Martha in your travels?

Jazzie: I don’t think so. It’s possible that she might have been on tour with us at the time when we recorded an album. I worked on one of James Brown’s solo albums back in the day and have been very, very good friends with him.

Lee: The Billing in this event is 'The Three Ages Of Soul.' What you feel about being in the middle. I presume your in the middle, as Martha’s a little bit older than yourself.

Jazzie: I haven’t seen the billing. I am hardly a spring chicken, and I don’t want to be put out there like a little kid - No it’s all good, it’s all good.

Lee: I was looking at interesting facts about you. You have been awarded seven keys to seven cities in America?

Jazzie: Yeah that’s correct. That happened during 1990 - we were honoured by the NWCP and I think it was more about our lifestyles, stuff like that at the time. And then one city gave us the keys and then it went onto seven different cities. They were giving us the keys, and they have a Soul II Soul day in America believe it or not .

Lee: Still now?

Jazzie: ...The keys are forever. I get a call from a couple of people. Their local mayor - particularly LA and Washington so it’s funny. They have a Soul II Soul day!? They don’t technically shut down as such - It’s just a day of honoury of other people who have helped. You know, generally what American’s feel about themselves. I think it was done on more of a cultural basis and not necessarily on a musical one.

Lee: People you have worked with - one sticks out for me in particular and that’s Isaac Hayes. You were good friends with Isaac I believe?

Jazzie: Very good friends with Isaac. The first guy I did a duet with, which was actually released twice! I think we were in Paris at the time and doing a show and they asked us to perform together. Isaac at that time was signed to Virgin and we were coaxed into doing this record together. It was a good laugh.

Lee: Was he one of your heroes before?

Jazzie: Absolutely! Black Moses.

Lee: Belated congratulations for the OBE.

Jazzie: Thank you!

Lee: How did you feel, when when you first herd?

Jazzie: What happened - I was a bit confused by it originally because I thought it was a tax form that had come in at first! It was quite ambiguous when the form for the OBE came in. When the dust settled I had a good chat with the family about it, and they all encouraged me to go ahead and deal with it. And now looking back in hindsight, it’s all good for my family - stuff like that.

Lee: Next year is a big year for you. If I have done the maths right – 20 years?

Jazzie: It’s 20 years since our first release yeah. We are talking about putting another project together which we have been playing about with for the last few months. Back II Life is going well in Antigua. And Being more and more on the circuit, keeping myself busy and living life – all good!

Lee: With the OBE and 20 years next year, is this a time for looking back. Or are you still looking forward?

Jazzie: Not looking back so much - I am still trying look forward, still trying to do the right thing. Trying to pace myself as well, as I am becoming maturer. It’s almost becoming more easier as you do have less inhibitions, and you have much more experience in different things. I take things on differently now.

Lee: What’s next for you as far as producing and Dj-ing?

Jazzie: I have just finished remixing the X-File's theme tune. We are in the studio now doing some recording. The next thing on my agenda at the end of this month - I go back to Antigua to set up for the 'Back to Love Festival.'

Jazzie B performs with Soul Legend Martha High and Dj Ben Westbeech at the Bulleit Bourbon gig on Nov 6th at the Arches in Glasgow.

Also catch Jazzie @Bar Rumba in London on Saturday 22nd November for some truly 'Tumping Base!'
Words LEE TYLER

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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