Welcome to the latest edition of the Groovers’ Digest. As always we have searched across the internet to find interesting articles, documentaries, music and the arts to share with you. In addition you will also find the catch up and listen again versions of the #IllicitGrooves Radio Show on Totally Wired Radio, a selection of some of the new music from our promo and latest digging session folders plus and relevant #NewsFromTheGrooves we have to share.
So first things first February has been a helluva a month music wise so the best way to present this to you is with the listen again versions of the #IllicitGrooves shows from February. Enjoy these below and full track lists are also available in the comments section of each show post. Whilst you are there go to the site and follow us to receive all the shows the day after they go out plus more music based content, playlists and mixes.
As regular readers of this blog and listeners to the #IllicitGrooves Radio Show on Totally Wired Radio will know we have been curating compilation albums for the Italian label A.MA Records from its back catalogue of excellent contemporary Jazz. So far Inside A.MA volumes 1 and 2 have been released to very enthusiastic and positive receptions. Tracks from both albums have received wide airplay across many influential stations throughout the World and have been championed by some highly respected tastemakers from the DJ and broadcast community.
We can now reveal that the first of a series of remix EPs curated by Bob Hill from The Return of the Illicit Groove will be released on Friday March 19th and available from the A.MA Records page on Bandcamp. This first release sees Antonio Trinchera’s Joy Drops track undergoing two remixes by Chicago legend Elbert Phillips. This remix series will go by the name of A.MA Reforged and 001 will lead the way with more remixes and remixers/producers planned.
Elbert first came to prominence as a DJ in Chicago in the 1980s and throughout the 90s secured his position as one of the go to DJs for special events and parties including Chicago’s annual Summer music festival The Silver Room Sound System Block Party. The godfather himself, Frankie Knuckles, chose Elbert to be his warm up DJ for four years in the early 2000s and Elbert was one of the first DJ’s approached to play on Boiler Room’s tribute to Frankie at the Smartbar.
Elbert currently has a residency show on Mi-House Radio and is working on a number of remix commissions from around the Globe.
Antonio Trinchera is a formidable guitarist and composer who began studying classical guitar at the age of 13 and who welcomed being influenced by the languages of blues and jazz.
Since 1990, he has collaborated and played live with, amongst others, Cruna, Ritza, Subjects at Risk, Transmutazioni, Intuito, Colores, Fuso & Quadrato, Kuraj ,Bitmap Brothers and La Barca Del Rè.
In recent years, his passion for ambient music, electronics and experimentation have inspired him in many of his compositions with his Next Move album for A.MA Records reflectinghis versatility and experimentations with forms and sounds.
Further to the news of the release of A.MA Reforged 001 we can also confirm that Inside A.MA volume 3 is being curated as we speak and will comprise of vocal tracks from across the A.MA Records catalogue. More news to come on this.
More Music to Look Out For
A handful of EPS and albums to make note of that we are playing on the #IllicitGrooves show, on our playlists and on the stereo for you to note.
Ararur – Mielikki (Artist Release)
Avishai Darash – Quarantine Blues (A.MA Records)
Dundundun – Anansi/Dun in Outer Space (Worm Discs)
Various Artists – J Jazz volume 3 (BBE Music)
Nimbus Sextet – Dreams Fulfilled (Fradinho Remix) (Acid Jazz Records)
Marcus Joseph – Beyond the Dome (Jazz Re:Freshed)
Good Stuff From Across the Internet
From the most excellent Africa Oye Blog comes Episode 3 of Nyumbani. This page links you to some wicked good music on the Nyumbani Youtube page from DJ Sno, Moonlight Benjamin and Mim Suleiman and more. To access click the picture below of SNO.
‘On Valentine’s Day 1920, a little over a century ago, a 28-year-old singer named Mamie Smith walked into a recording studio in New York City and made history. Six months later, she did it again’. So begins the following article from BBC Culture as it explores ‘ The Forgotten Story of America’s First Black Superstars.’ To read the article click on the image below of Mamie Smith and the Jazz Hounds.
One for the crate diggers here, especially the Jazz heads. Daniel Spicer’s monthly column in Jazzwise magazine has now been collated into a book and here he is talking to the London Economic about ‘Lost In The Vaults: The Joy of Collecting Jazz Records’. Click the image below to read the interview.
Featuring artists such as Jordan Castel, Betye Saar, Sadie Barnette and others the Studio Museum in Harlem has been an invaluable space for Black female artists since its opening in 1968. Here this article on the Bazaar website looks at the importance of the Studio Museum. Click on the image below of Lauren Halsey’sReparations Now + Welcome Family to access the article.
Black innovators in electronic music are celebrated in this article from DJ magazine with a focus on and interview with King Britt. Now running a university course in electronic music Britt has been able to call on the likes of Roni Size, Honey Dijon and Robert Hood to deliver guest lectures. To read more click on the pic of King Britt.
So let’s leave this month’s #GrooversDigest with a look at the late 80’s band that arguably was the catalyst for the current explosion of top quality, diverse and innovative Jazz in the UK; The Jazz Warriors with Art Blakey sitting in.
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In this month’s issue we will recap on last month’s results in the #IllicitGroovesAwards2020, listen again to all the #IllicitGrooves shows on Totally Wired Radio from January, include a link to our Mixcloud Select playlist of the previous months new music and promos and feature a round up of interesting, entertaining and thought provoking content from across the Web and beyond.
So let’s start with the #IllicitGroovesAwards2020 and the winners in each category.
Favourite Track – The Fantastics! – Pyramid (BBE Music)
Favourite Album – Gary Bartz & Maisha – Direct to Disc Session (Nightdreamer)
Favourite Compilation Album – Modern Jazz Dance Classics (MJDC)
Favourite Re-Issue Album, Single or EP – Tony Allen & Hugh Masekela – Rejoice (World Circuit)
For a full review of the results please click the image below
The #IllicitGrooves Shows from January on Totally Wired Radio.
Click the link below to listen to all 5 of the #IllicitGrooves show on Totally Wired Radio in January.
New releases, a couple of back in the day belters, a tribute to Phil Asher, a couple of unreleased gems and a look at new compilations and re-issues.
Guest Mix on JazzFM
Thank you to doyen Tony Minvielle for asking us to inaugurate his ‘Expert Curators’ feature on his excellent #FoldedSpace show on JazzFM on the 25th of January.
Here’s his show in full glory and including the ‘Groove Illicit: Back To The Dancefloor’ mix we provided for the show.
Every month, going back to when this blog started as #NewsFromTheGrooves., we select blog posts, social media articles and features and more to share with you here. Mainly music, focus on the arts and always cultural the pieces we select are always designed to be interesting and thought provoking and reflective of the issues of the moment. Please do enjoy what we have included here for you.
We start this month with one of our favourite DJs and radio presenters and producers, Zakia Sewell. You may know her for her excellent Questing show on NTS Radio or for her brilliant 4 part series Albion, which was on BBC Radio 4 last year. Here in a podcast in the Exchange series on the Resident Advisor site she is the subject. Also, in the introductory text there are links to her excellently researched interviews with Patrice Rushen and with Beverley Glenn Copeland.
Take a shufty by clicking on the image below.
Nubya Garcia has had a very productive time of late. Her debut album Source was released to great critical acclaim and just last Friday an excellent Mark de Clive-Lowe remix of her track The Message Continues was released to equally positive acclaim. Just to put the tin hat on it she is also featured in the Spring issue of British Vogue as one of the New Creatives who are part of ‘a new wave of boundary-breaking visionaries bringing fresh, exciting perspectives…and sharing in a radical mission: to rethink the world around them.’
Further to these recognitions in the film below, made by AIAIAI Audio to kick off its My Process series, Tomorrow’s Warriors alumnus Nubya does just this and talks about her creative process as a musician and one of the world’s foremost Saxophonists, composers and bandleaders. To watch just click the image below.
Jazz and Hip-Hop have been part of the #IllicitGrooves DJ sets, mixes and radio playlists since day one with the likes of Gangstarr, Guru, Stetsasonic, Ronny Jordan, Courtney Pine and others marrying the forms and borrowing from each other. With today’s new breed of Jazz artists in London, Paris, NYC and elsewhere using their cultural influences to cross-genres and techniques in their compositions and output it was great to find this short film about the relationships between Jazz and Hip-Hop.
The whitewashing of Black music has been a curse from as far back as the days of slaves making music in New Olean’s Congo Square. In this piece in DJ Magazine some of the legendary Black DJ legends of the UK dance music scene reflect on race and history. Featuring only male DJs is a bit limiting here but an excellent article none the less that could have been more representative had it not been so male dominated. However, the thoughts of legends such as Fabio and Grooverider, A Guy Called Gerald and others are voices of experience that shed light on how Black music is appropriated. As always, to read this then click the image below of Kid Batchelor.
Michael Kiwanuka has won the Mercury Prize 2020 for his Dangermouse produced 2019 release, the eponymous Kiwanuka. Having been nominated for his two previous albums (2012’s Home Again and 2016’s Love and Hate) it proved to be 3rd time’s charm in this years award for best album by a British or Irish band. A brilliantly written, produced and recorded album of pure Soul music, North Londoner Kiwanuka is on the ascent as he beat off competition from fellow Londoners Moses Boyd and Stormzy amongst others.
You can read more about Michael’s win on the official Mercury Prize website by clicking the image below.
In other news the music and Jazz education charity, the enormously important Tomorrow’s Warriors, has started it’s fundraising campaign in order to ensure it can provide free lessons to the Jazz musicians of the future.
We at #IllicitGrooves will once again be supporting the #IAmWarrior campaign by donating 10% of all DJ fees to the fundraiser. In addition we will also be running an advert on the Soundcloud repeat of the show urging listeners to donate one Pound Sterling, One US Dollar or One Euro everytime they listen to the show.
Without doubt Tomorrow’s Warriors has provided the means by which a diverse and underrepresented groups of musicians can flourish, collaborate, perform, compose and record the music which has certainly filled the #IllicitGrooves playlists over the past 5 years or so. In order to gauge how important this charity is just take a look at this list of some of the Tomorrow’s Warriors alumni.
Moses Boyd, Nubya Garcia, Sheila Maurice-Grey, Cassie Kinoshi and Nérija, Femi Koleoso and Ezra Collective, Binker Golding, Shabaka Hutchings and Sons of Kemet, Eska, Denys Baptiste, Soweto Kinch, Blue Lab Beats, Mark Crown, David Okumu, Ben Burrell, Zara McFarlane, Mark Kavuma, Camilla George, Cherise, Nathaniel Facey and Empirical, Peter Edwards, Jason Yarde and J-Life, Robert Mitchell, Byron Wallen.
To donate to the #IAmWarrior campaign click the link below.
Take a look and a listen here as Tomorrow’s Warriors founder, Gary Crosby, introduces the Young Warriors paying and playing tribute to the great Charlie Parker.
With the release of her debut full LP Source Nubya Garcia is a classic example of how the right support, encouragement, Jazz education and environment can nurture a great talent who otherwise would be underrepresented in Jazz. The following footage of her NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert is an alumni gig with the following line-up of Nubya Garcia: tenor saxophone: Joe Armon-Jones: keys; Daniel Casmir: double bass: Sam Jones: drums; Richie Seivwright: vocals; Cassie Kinoshi: vocals all former Tomorrow’s Warriors beneficiaries.
As well as the above concert from Nubya Garcia et al we also sourced another couple of NPR Tiny Desk gigs to share. Firstly this one from the innovative Chris Dave and the Drumheadz
and then this one from the legend that is Roy Ayers as he, and we, celebrate his 80th birthday.
While we are at it on the birthday front another Jazz giant celebrated his 90th birthday in September. Happy 90th to Sonny Rollins. You can listen to a track from each of the decades that Sonny has performed in. Access the article from WGBO.org by clicking the image below.
Music As A Force For Equality and Political Change
There is no doubt that one of the reasons certain white-wing, sorry, Right-wing governments on either side of the Atlantic are allowing the arts to die and wither on the vine during the pandemic is because the arts has always been a breeding ground for creative dissent and opposition. The next couple of articles highlight the roles of music, drama and dance in creating space, raising issues within and without of the arts and the importance of artists to all our well being.
We start with this article from The New York Times asking whether Jazz can still play its part as a music of protest.
To read it click on the image below.
In the following article from the Exuent website poet, actor and playwright Rachel Nwokoro discusses her nomination for a Stage Debut Award and her experiences as an actor with a disability. Access the article by clicking on the image below.
Update: Rachel was named as a winner of a Stage Debut Award in the Best Performer In A Play Category for her role in Little Baby Jesus. Massive congratulations from #IllicitGrooves. Below you can see Rachel Nwokoro perform in her poet role with her piece How Much?
In the following filmed Listen Up Podcast, hosted by choreographer, dance teacher and Changemaker at Pavillion Dance South West in the UK, Natasha Player. In this episode Natasha talks with Alesandra Seutin.
Performer, choreographer, teacher, Alesandra Seutin was born in Harare, raised in Brussels and trained in London where she has made her residence. Her work has toured nationally and internationally and she is progressively emerging as an artist making marks across continents.
Alesandra has been running Vocab Dance Company since 2007. She combines African traditional dance with contemporary dance and Hip Hop to create distinctly Afro-European dance. As an independent choreographer she has created work for Phoenix Dance Theatre, 12º North Dance and most recently State of Emergency’s 2014 tour. She has also acted as Movement Director for two plays at Theatre Centre.
Alesandra was one of 17 artists, and the only UK based artist, selected by iconic dance artist Germaine Acogny to take part in Acogny technique transmission project at the international dance centre, École des Sables in Senegal.
We don’t often focus on food in #NFTG, which is somewhat remiss really. However, we right that wrong a little in this month’s issue with this article from the Vittles website looking at 5 Black women chefs from London and their attitudes to food and its cultural importance. To read the article click on the image below of one of the chefs featured, Kareem Arthur.
Film and Books
We start with the news that HBO’s film The Apollo won the Emmy for Best Documentary. The Apollo Theatre in Harlem is of course an iconic landmark and venue in the history of Black Music and African-American culture and you can read more about this film in article on the Indiewire website by clicking the image below.
Watch the official trailer for the film The Apollo below.
Equally iconic in its contribution and part of, in this case, UK culture and society was the anti-racist movement Rock Against Racism. Created in the late 70s as part of the Anti-Nazi League and as an opposition to the racist outpourings of the likes of rock dinosaurs and music colonialists such as Eric Clapton RAR saw a coming together of bands and artists from REggae, Punk, New Wave, 2-Tone and others in a series of gigs up and down the country. The film White Riot documents this movement and the bands and people involved and you can watch the trailer here.
Sophia Blackwell is one of the UK’s foremost poets and writers as well as LGBT activists and events organiser. Her blog is an entertaining and informative read and in the issue you can access by clicking on the image below she recommends 100 books to read. It’s a great list to explore and a great blog to read.
By recommendation the book Party Music came to our attention and thankfully so. A fascinating insight into how the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense used music as one of its forms of communication and the author Rickey Vincent spoke about the book in a lecture for the AC Spotlight series below.
Back To The Music
Innovative radio producer, excellent DJ and presenter of the Questing show on NTS Radio, Zakia Sewell produced an excellent documentary for Boiler Room on the UK Garage scene. Now available on Soundcloud you really should take a listen below.
With the sad death of Kool and the Gang founder Ronald ‘Khalis’ Bell it does give us an opportunity to look and listen back over the varied and entertaining back catalogue of this important band. From its Jazz beginnings and psychedelic fusion as The Jazziacs to the party and dance orientated RnB and Disco hits Kool and the Gang has its place in music history. What better way to honour Ronald Bell than this one hour long version of the track, the symphonic Summer Madness. Enjoy below.
One of the most enduring and innovative friendships and musical partnerships is that of Kahil El’Zabar’s and David Murray’s. Their 2020 collaborative project Spirit Groove which was released on the Spiritmuse Records label was an absolute masterpiece and is certainly in contention for inclusion in the #IllicitGroovesAwards2020. The following article on the Downbeat website looks at their friendship in an interview with the pair. Access by clicking the image below.
The rather brilliant Gal-Dem website is always worth a read regardless of subject. This article on the Soul singer Baby Rose tackles her being bullied because of her deep voice as well as how Nina Simone and Janis Joplin taught her to be her. Read the article by clicking the image below.
September’s Broadcasts of The #IllicitGrooves Radio Show
#NewsForTheGrooves New Grooves from September 2020
For this month’s #NFTG we focused on the promos we were sent in September and made a playlist and mix from those. Lots of new and exciting music from a variety of indie labels from around Europe and beyond. Enjoy below.
Our Monthly Guest Mix on Stream101 Radio
This month’s guest mix on Stream101 Radio is a look round the MultiCulti cities of the UK. A journey which takes in the UK Jazz scene of the past few years and highlights the music which happens when diasporas meet and artists exchange and share their cultural influences. We hope you enjoy Looking Outwards: Music From A MultiCulti UK part 1.
October is Black History Month in the UK and it is important to actually reflect the UK Blak experiences rather than the lazy and ill-informed attempts that some institutions, from schools and academies to tax-payer funded museums and galleries, are guilty of doing.
Here is a short checklist that should help.
Slavery is NOT Black history
Slavery IS White History
There have been Black people of from the African diaspora in the British and Irish Isles since the Romano-British times. E.G the Carthaginian Legionnaires stationed at the Vindolanda Fort on Hadrian’s Wall.
Walther Tull was not the only Black soldier in the British Army in WWI and not the only Black professional footballer back then either. Give him some mates who looked like him, they were there.
Modern day UK culture is a consequence of a Multi Cultural Britain. Lloyd Bradley’s book Sounds Like London, The Dub exhibition at the Museum of London, Dave Haslam’s Life After Dark are just some of the resources to go to.
Did you know that Huddersfield had a massive Reggae Soundsystem culture?
How many people do you know who have won the Turner Prize and an Oscar and a Golden Globe and is a CBE and a Knight of the Realm? There is one and he is Black and British. Find out who he is.
Have you heard of Paul Stephenson? No, then read about him by clicking the image below.
Welcome to this edition of #NewsFromTheGrooves as we find ourselves in some kind of real life participation in a dystopian novel. Many of us are affected by the Corona Virus lockdowns for similar and for different reasons, health of course but also income worries. Hopefully, amongst all the white noise of social media bullshit, reckless sharing of unattributed stories from anonymous sources via memes and voice messages we can remain clear-headed and apply some critical thinking.
It is also our hope that this month’s #NewsFromTheGrooves can offer some succour, stimulating distraction and moral support to all of us stuck indoors and to all of us freelancers, DJs, artists, musicians, indie venue owners and promoters who have had to cancel gigs and are losing money. Most importantly though we hope that sharing music and art can help anyone who is now suffering and recovering from COVID-19. We’re not nurses, paramedics, scientists or doctors but we can all help in some way as we support those heroes and experts in doing their jobs.
So in this month’s slightly earlier than usual edition of #NewsFromTheGrooves we are sharing playlists, listen again broadcasts of The Illicit Grooves Radio Show, an archive edition of Talking the Groove, news from the nominations for JazzFM Awards 2020, a playlist of new music from March, films, livestreams, articles and free content from a variety of sources plus some practical advice for musicians and others at this time of, what we are referring to as, the Zombie Apocalypse we are all in.
UK radio station JazzFM has announced the shortlists for the 11 categories in its annual awards. Three of these categories will be chosen by public vote with very strong fields in each. With so many acts and artists who regularly appear on The Illicit Grooves Radio Showplaylists being represented in these nominations we do urge you to take a look, take part and vote. You can view the categories and the nominees and vote by clicking on the image below.
Totally Wired Radio,the home station of The Illicit Grooves Radio Showcontinues to broadcast throughout the Zombie Apocalypse but with public health at the forefront of its plans. Therefore as of Monday the 16th of March TWR very sensibly closed its studios in east London and put in place technical facilities and training to allow presenters to remotely broadcast live shows and/or upload pre-recorded shows or mixes for the schedules. You can view the weekly schedules on the TWR website by clicking on the logo below.
Music and performance growth organisation Jazz South, as with many other organisations, has had to cancel showcases and other other events. However, in recognition of the financial hit that musicians and other performers will take because of the Zombie Apocalypse it has published a comprehensive list of organisations which can help with financial, legal and practical advice. You can access this content on the Jazz South wbsite by clicking on its logo below.
In addition to the above advice here is an interesting idea from Jazz On The Tube. As many of you know JOTT is an online provider of Jazz videos which it sources and/or shares on Youtube.
Instead of sharing just old and existing content it will now help bands and acts through this period by web-hosting and streaming live performances. To read more and to take part, and also to subscribe to the site, please click on the image below.
The Return of the Illicit Groove at Le Mellotron.
So, just as the lockdown occured in Paris we played a set at the world famous audio (and alcohol, and meeting place, and social hangout, and radio station) Le Mellotron.
Enjoy the set here. Playlist below the embedded player.
1. Bernard Wright – Spinnin’
2. Forest Law – New Thought New Eyes
3. The Art Eixample of Canigo – Le Four de Sainte Jaques
4. Daniel Casimir & Tess Hirst – Freedom
5. KOKOROKO – Carry Me Home
6. SEED Ensemble – Afronaut
7. Patrice Rushen – Haw-Right Now
8. Karma Sound – Lo Unico que quiero
9. Bill Summers – Brazillian Skies
10. Flamingo Pier – Tripping Up
11. RK Fusion – Time Flight (The James L’Estraunge Orchestra Mix)
12. Elements of Life – Children of the World (Ben Brophy edit)
13. Koichi Sakai & Afla Sackey – Atenteben Blues
14. Booket T – Impala 66 (Congo Rework)
15. The Talking Heads – Slippery People
16. The Floacyst – Woman
17. Linda Tillery – Freedom Time
18. Creative Arts Ensemble – Flashback In Time
19. Toli & the Fem Nameless – See Line Woman
20. American Gypsy – Inside Out
21. Daniel Salinas – Straussmania
22. Rotary Connection – I Am The Blackgold of the Sun
23. Marlena Shaw – Woman of the Ghetto
24. Rance Allen Group – Peace of Mind
25. Sweet Harmony – House of Fun and Love
Tony Allen & Hugh Masakela – Agbada Bougou (World Circuit)
Ricardo Richaid – O Velho Kai (Far Out Recordings)
Michelle David & The Gospel Sessions – Good Good Good (Fabtone Records)
The Illicit Grooves Radio Shows from March 2020
Because we have published the March edition of #NewsFromTheGrooves slightly earlier than usual the listen again for the March 28th show will appear in the April newsletter. Don’t forget you can still listen to it on the Mixcloud and Soundcloud pages.
All tracklists are in the comments on each show’s Mixcloud page.
Arts & Culture
Instead of the usual looks ahead at upcoming exhibitions and reviews this month we have sourced (with helpful suggestions from our friends) online content that is free to watch, read and visit. We hope you enjoy these resources.
Steel and Skin (1979). A Film on The British Film Institute (BFI) Free site.
A fascinating short documentary about exposing multi-racial, working class children in Liverpool, UK to the cultures of the African Diaspora.
To view this it is a simple sign-up on the site. Then explore the free content. Just click on the image below.
11 Hip-Hop Documentaries To Watch
The good people at Okayplayer have collated 11 diverse Hip-Hop documentaries. Films ranging from 1983 to 2017 explore the movement in many different contexts including Tim Westwood’s 1987 documentary Bad Meaning Good filmed in London and featuring The Cookie Crew, Beatmasters and the London Posse.
To watch just click on the image below.
Jean Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child
Definitely one of the favourite artists at The Return of the Illicit Grooveso it was a real joy to find this documentary. An artist who was so much part of the New York City music scene as he was the visual arts, Basquiat remains as one of the defining voices in art some 32 years after his far too early death at only 27.
To watch the documentary click on the image below; a photograph of Basquiat taken by William Coupon in 1986
An Archive Edition of Talking the Groove Featuring an Interview With Claudio Passavanti of Sunlight Square.
More Online content to enjoy
Femi, TJ and James from Ezra Collective discuss their last album You Can’t Steal My Joy on the excellent Tapenotes blog.
‘Hot off the heels winning ‘Jazz Album of the Year’ at the World Wide Awards, the boys reflect upon how the album took shape, from the early rehearsals in a dodgy studio in Croatia to spending two days on a boat recording the whole thing. The boys play us previously unheard demos capturing the moments lightning struck, from a very rough voice memo to a more elaborate Garage Band creation knocked together on the top deck of a bus.’
To listen to this excellent interview click the image below.
Here’s a documentary on Poly Styrene from BBC’s Arena arts magazine show from 1979. (Did we mention that Poly Styrene is our favourite Punk?)
Featuring contributions from DJ Paulette and Angelique Kidjo among others, this piece from the Elephant website explores ‘Why Music Has No Age Limit’.
To read this article just click on the image of Angelique Kidjo below.
Tony Allen on Hugh Masakela and Fela Kuti.
With the release of Tony Allen and Hugh Masakela’s lost masterpiece collaboration Rejoice this month here is an article from The Guradian where Afro-Beat’s co-author discusses and talks about the people he has worked with.
To read the article click on the image of the cover of Rejoice below.
It seems bitterly ironic and a cruel twist that just as this newsletter was being edited we received the sad news that Cameroonian musician Manu Dibango has died from complications due to falling ill with the COVID-19 strain of the Coronavirus.
Right from the early days of #IllicitGrooves the music of Manu Dibango featured in many DJ gigs with his much covered and perennial track Soul Makossa being an #IllicitGrooves National Anthem. The forthcoming broadcast of The Illicit Grooves Radio Show on Totally Wired Radiofrom 1pm (GMT) will feature a selection of four Manu Dibango tracks in the playlist by way of remembrance, acknowledgment and thanks to the great man.
You can read nd view a short report of Manu Dibango‘s sad death from Africa News by clicking on his image below.
Welcome to the #NewsFromTheGrooves newsletter for February 2020. As always we start with a playlist mix of some of the new, recently released and soon to be released promos and new grooves that have reached us here at The Return of the Illicit Groove throughout February.
We will also be looking at several exhibitions, a new Jazz based app and website, a new magazine to hit the UK’s shelves, a mix we were asked to do for Disco JuJu, a wicked competition and the archive of all of February’s editions of The Illicit Grooves Radio Show on Totally Wired Radio. We will also be acknowledging the impact that Andrew Weatherall had on music, music production, DJing and culture with a tribute to him from Bill Brewster.
The New Grooves From News From The Grooves
The new releases, re-Issues and promos that reached us in February 2020
Nato – Yako
Emma-Jean Thackray – Raindance
Moses Boyd – B2B
Collocutor – Pause
Arema Arega – Electronic Life
Angela Munoz – I Don’t Care
Ricardo Richaid – O Velho Cai
David Walters – Mesy Bon Dye
Iyoshi Karaou & The Wop – Soul Tripper
Tito Lopez Combo – Far Canal
The Herbaliser – Takedown
Irreversible Entanglements – No Mas
Wildflower – Mirage
Forest Law – New Thoughts New Eyes
D’Oke – Sogodounou
Koichi Sakai & Afla Sackey – Atenteben Blues
Ivan Mamaoa Conti – Katmandu (Original Mix)
Andy Compton – Last Night In Jozi (Sax Mix)
Competition: Win a handful of CDs and a full set of #IllicitGrooves Badges
CDs from Larry Levan, Shabaka and the Ancestors, Azhaar Saffar & Global Wave, Corduroy and Kamasi Washington plus all four designs of our exclusive and limited edition collector badges await anyone who simply follows The Return of the Illicit Groove blog and answers one simple question; Which cosmic band is Shabaka Hutchings a member of?
Part memoir and part cultural history Tales From The Illicit Groove looks back over Bob Hill’s 30plus years of DJing, broadcasting, gig going and music journalism and places his experiences into the wider context of the UK’s (and beyond) socio-cultural history.
In the chapter Radio Suckers Sometimes Play Me Bob reflects on his relationship with pirate radio and talks to Norman Jay MBE and the Ranking Miss P about KISSFM and the Dread Broadcasting Company and their cultural and political importance.
To read Radio Suckers Sometimes Play Meclick here.
Arts and Culture
In last month’s News From The Grooves we mentioned the London Calling: 40 Years of The Clash exhibition at the Museum of London. This month we review that exhibition, look forward to a new exhibition on electronic music at the Design Museum and take a look at a new magazine and an online platform dedicated to Jazz.
London Calling: 40 Years of the Clash – The Museum of London. Current exhibition, ends April 19th 2020
So, I was 12 years old and in my 2nd year at my Comprehensive School when The Clash released London Calling in December 1979. The title track became one of the anthems of my first year as a teenager in 1980 and served as a rallying cry for myself and my mates already acutely aware of what it meant to be living through the early part of Thatcher’s Britain.
Now, 40 something years later that same album still resonates as an audio protest against an authoritarian, bigoted and economically incompetent right-wing junta. Not simply for its powerful, anti-establishment lyrics and clearly left-wing sentiments but also because it’s hybrid of musical styles and influences and personnel all conspire to be a beacon of everything that was, and is, great about a multi-cultural, multi-racial London and wider UK.
The exhibition captures that spirit with realia and ephemera lent by members of The Clash and their families. From Joe Strummer’s rehearsal and recording notebook, to his typewriter, Mick Jones’ handwritten track sequencing notes and handwritten tracklists from their New York City shows there is a real sense of connection with the album, the band members and the era. Perhaps most striking of all the objects on show, and certainly the one which made me take a gulp and a step back, is Paul Simonon’s broken Fender bass. The very guitar he is seen smashing on the stage on the iconic LP cover of London Calling.
On first impressions the exhibition itself is a rather brilliant and fascinating collection of music memorobilia. However, in order to understand the real context of the show and the contexts of individual objects and/or pictures you do need to download and use the accompanying Smartify app. I urge you to see this exhibition before it closes on April 19th. For more info click here. Bob Hill
Electronic: From Krafwerk to The Chemical Brothers. The Design Museum From 1st April to 26th July 2020
For me Kraftwerk has been the most influential music group ever. The music produced by the Dusseldorf outfit has been the driving force behind Detroit Techno, Chicago House music,, Go-Go from Washington DC, New York and New Jersey Disco, Hip-Hop and electro from the Bronx, synth-pop from 80s UK to the modern day music styles of EDM, Grime and dance music. Fusing the repetitive beats of tracks such as ‘Trans-Europe Express‘ with Afro-Latino rhythms has created all of the above genres and an exhibition acknowledging this is apt and very necessary. – Bob Hill
Taken from the Design Museum website is the following description of the show and it does promise much.
‘Evoking the experience of being in a club, the exhibition will transport you through the people, art, design, technology and photography that have been capturing and shaping the electronic music landscape.’
Propaganda: A Weekend Curated by Shabaka Hutchings. Barbican 8-10th May 2020
Saxophonist, clarinetist and composer Shabaka Hutchings from The Comet is Coming, The Sons of Kemet and The Ancestors curates a weekend of music, art and spoken word exploring Propaganda and how it is a presence in all our lives.
Including a collaboration between Sons of Kemet and Britten Sinfonia, performances from Sofiane Saidi & Mazalda, Kit Downes Quintet and more.
Andrew Weatherall: A Tribute and Mix from Bill Brewster.
The words you are about to read come from a tribute paid by Bill Brewster to his friend, the DJ, artist, music producer and composer Andrew Weatherall, who died this month at 56. Far too young, far to soon.
‘Although our paths often came close in the 1990s, it was only over the past 20 years that I really got to know Andrew. I interviewed him a couple of times, but we also DJed together at a bunch of parties and hung out at festivals, usually with his girlfriend Lizzie. In person he couldn’t have been further from his slightly foreboding reputation. He was an extremely likeable person, always with an interesting angle on a well-worn story, he was someone you’d be guaranteed to end up talking about something typically off the wall; I’m remembering conversations over the years that covered New Orleans voodoo, David Essex in That’ll Be The Day, Billy Childish or any one of countless diversions that always seemed to be part of a few hours spent with Mr Weatherall. He was also a kind and thoughtful man. One summer, we spent a week together in a villa in Croatia, and he helped teach my then very young daughter how to swim (in between speculation about whether Dr John had filched lyrics from a book he’d just read).
I’d doubt whether anyone from the acid house generation has forged such a singular career as Andrew. Many have gone on to become much more successful and considerably more wealthy than him, but none of them have managed to plough a furrow so unique and utterly without ‘career planning’ in mind. Careers were for other people, but not him (during one of our interviews, he told me, “It was only about five or six years ago I realised I was a DJ.”)
Weatherall somehow beat a path in all kinds of directions – verdant and otherwise – but still managed to keep people fascinated by his next move and was equally at home banging out coruscating European techno as he was digging out rockabilly obscurities for a crowd dressed in Western checks and Levis. One of my favourite Weatherall tips was Dave Phillips & The Hot Rod Gang’s brilliant cover of Tainted Love. Pure Andrew dynamite. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qJwft9B48k
He told me on more than one occasion that he’d seriously thought about knocking DJing on the head and concentrating on his art. It’s a tragedy for the art world that he never lived long enough to pursue further diversions. In fact, it’s just a tragedy full stop. What a DJ. What a producer. What a guy.’
Jazziz Magazine Now Available In Britain
USA based magazine Jazziz is now available to buy in the UK. The Winter 2020 edition of the magazine hit newsagennts’ shelves in January with four features dedicated to the past and contemporary Jazz scenes in London, and a cover art entitled London Calling.
The London based section of the magazine looks at five artists from the 1960’s scene including Evan Parker and Norma Winstone, ten London centric recordings from the likes of Joe Harriot, Stan Getz and The Jazz Warriors, a rundown of London Jazz joints from Ronnie Scott’s to The Vortex and The Jazz Cafe and a feature called London Rising covering six young artists from the current LDN Scene. The six artists in the latter piece being Jacob Collier, Shabaka Hutchings, Binker Golding, Yazz Ahmed, Nubya Garcia and Theon Cross.
These features are a good intro of the London scene to a US readership but come with a couple of inaccuracies. None more so than incorrectly attributing Courtney Pine as heading record label and event promoters Jazz Re:Freshed. Quite a glaring mistake which really should not have been made considering the massive importance of the work of Justin and Adam et al from Jazz Re:Freshed in creating a weekly event which has run for 16 years in London and gave many of the young artists featured in Jazziz their early professional gigs at the Mau Mau Bar and the annual Jazz Re:Fest event. (more on this later).
Also in this issue of Jazziz, look out for the excellent interview with the amazing Carmen Lundy and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington.
Jazzed. A New Online Platform to Access Jazz
The brainchild of JazzFM colleagues Chris Phillips and Tim Garcia (the founder and curator of the excellent Musica Macondo website) Jazzed is a content platform which allows users to watch, listen and read. The themed music playlists include contemporary jazz from London (LDN State of Mind) to those which feature the big bands, jazz vocalists and the innovators of the Be-Bop era. The music player (from 7Digital) is clear, easy to use and sounds great and it is possible to listen to a playlist and simultaneously read the articles on the site.
As well as free content on the site there is a subscription option which allows access to more content. The publishers of Jazzed are offering a special offer for new subscribers of 3 months for £1. Just go to jazzed.com and sign up using the code jazzed2020
Jazz Re:Freshed and Jazz Re:Fest
News has reached us that the weekly Jazz Re:Freshed gig at the Mau-Mau Bar in Portobello Rd, west London will be moving venues after over 16 years. The organisation is looking for a new space to continue this important event which famously started after Adam and Justin found themselves attending Jazz events in London and were the only black people, and by far the youngest, in the audience. As mentioned earlier this gig, the record label and the 5ive series of releases has been part of the incubator that has seen the current Jazz scene in London, and artist such as Nubya Garcia, Moses Boyd, Ashley Henry, Shabaka Hutchings, Nerija, Seed Ensemble and more rise to prominence.
The organisation also takes young UK talent abroad with recent trips to Sao Paolo, Brazil and showcase gigs at the prestigious SXSW event in Austen, Texas. Be sure to add the 25th of July to your calendar as that will be the date that the annual JazzRe:Fest event once again takes over the Brighton Dome on the south coast of the UK. A fantastic event which provides areal spotlight on UK Jazz talent such as we saw at the 2019 show which included Theon Cross, Camilla George and Rosie Turton on the bill.
Illicit Grooves Gigs, Mixes and Shows
Illicit Grooves at Le Mellotron, Paris
Just a heads up that on Friday the 13th of March Bob Hill will be guesting at and on the famous Parisian venue and radio station Le Mellotron. The show starts at 8pm French time (7pm in UK) and will be broadcast on Le Mellotron website and livestreamed via Le Mellotron facebook page.
Illicit Grooves in Belgrade
If you are anywhere near Belgrade, Serbia the following weekend the Bob will bringing the #IllicitGrooves flavours to Strogi Centar on the night of Friday the 20th of March and then to Leila Records on the evening of Sunday the 22nd March. This will be Bob’s 4th visit to Belgrade and DJing in those fantastic venues. Read about his previous #IllicitGrooves expeditions to the ‘White City’ here.
A Special #IllicitGrooves Mix and Playlist for Disco JuJu
Welcome to the results round-up of the #IllicitGroovesAwards2020.
If you missed the results announcement in the #IllicitGrooves show on Totally Wired Radio broadcast on Sunday 24th January you can read the full list of winners below and access the show on the embedded player facility.
Now in its 4th year the #IllicitGrooves Awards asks the readers of this blog and the listeners of the #IllicitGrooves radio show to vote from a shortlist of artists and music in four categories; Favourite Album, Favourite Track, Favourite Re-Issue and Favourite Compilation Album.
The winners for 2020 are as follows.
Favourite Track – The Fantastics! – Pyramid (BBE Music)
Favourite Album – Gary Bartz & Maisha – Direct to Disc Session (Nightdreamer)
Favourite Compilation Album – Modern Jazz Dance Classics (MJDC)
Favourite Re-Issue Album, Single or EP – Tony Allen & Hugh Masekela – Rejoice (World Circuit)*
*Though not strictly a re-issue we thought Rejoice best fit in this category as the tracks were originally recorded in the early 90s and were ‘re-discovered’ for release in 2020. The precedence for this decision can be found in earlier versions of the awards when ‘found’ music from both John Coltrane and Charles Mingus were included in the Re-Issue category despite never having been previously released.
The Illicit Grooves Arts & Culture Award
This is an award which we at The Return of the Illicit Groove and our sponsors ReddSugarBlack Creativity bestow as the Arts and Culture Award. In previous years this award has gone to organisations, events, publications, exhibitions that have shown innovation in bringing arts and culture to the public. Due to the COVID pandemic it became clear that this award would in all probability be awarded to an online event or content creator or to some kind of publication that would be accessible to all of us in lockdown.
This year, as with in 2019, we took the decision to award to two joint winners. Two online events which managed to replace somewhat two events cancelled due to the pandemic and still present a wide range of music from a diverse and culturally significant line-up of live acts, Djs, radio shows, braodcasters, presenters and promoters.
The Joint Winners of the #IllicitGroovesAwards2020 Arts and Culture Prize are
The polls are now open for the #IllicitGroovesAwards2020
It’s easy to vote; simply click the graphic below and you will see the four categories and the the ten nominees in each. Easy peasy lemon squeezy just select one nominee in each category.
The polls will remain open until 6pm (UK Time) on Wednesday the 20th of January with the winners announced in the #IllicitGrooves show on Totally Wired Radio at 1pm (UK Time) on Sunday the 24th of January.
If you want to remind yourselves of the music by the nominees then you can do so by visiting the special shows we produced below.
While you are here follow us here on The Return of the Illicit Grooves blog.
Having revealed the nominees in the Favourite Album and Favourite Re-Issue categories in a previous post it is now time to publish the nominees in the Favourite Track and Favourite Compilation Album categories for the #IllicitGroovesAwards2020.
All released in 2020 and played on the #IllicitGrooves show on Totally Wired Radio and/or playlisted on any guest mixes or included in the #NewGrooves mix in the monthly #NewsFromTheGrooves blog, you can vote for your choice in each category when polls open on Friday the 8th of January 2021.
Make sure you Follow this, The Return of the Illicit Groove, blog and Like and Follow our Facebook page here to ensure you have the chance to have your say on the four categories.
So to the nominees.
Favourite Compilation Album Released in 2020
Blue Note Re-Imagined (Blue Note Records)
New Horizons: Young Stars of South African Jazz (Afrosynth Records)
Jazz is Dead 001 (Jazz is Dead)
Colin Curtis presents Jazz Dance Fusion volume 2 (Z Records)
Eddie Piller and Martin Freeman present Jazz on the Corner volume 2 (Acid Jazz Records)
Alex Attias presents Lillygood Party volume 2 (BBE Music)
Inside A.MA volume 1 (A.MA Records)
Global Riddims volume 2 (NYP Records)
African Electric Diaspora: Black Lives Matter (Rebel Up! Records)
Modern Jazz Dance Classics volume 2 (MJDC)
Favourite Track Released in 2020
Deborah Jordan – Horizon (Kaidi Tatham Remix) (Futuristica Music)
Daniel Maunick – Black Magic (Far Out Recordings)
Necktr – Grow
Don Pascal feat. LyricL – Time (r2 Records)
Lady Blackbird – Collage (Bruise Remix)
TC and the Groove Family – Temple (TC&TGF Music)
Ashley Allen – The Question
Soul Inscribed – Let Them In (Irfan Rainy Remix) (Tokyo Dawn Records)
Raul Monsalves y Los Forajidos feat. Betsayda Machado – Mosquito (Olindo Records)
The Fantastics – Pyramid (BBE Music)
The Illicit Grooves Radio Show first broadcast Sunday 3rd January 2021 on Totally Wired Radio
The Return of the Illicit Groove
ReddSugarBlack Creative Words and Content
#IllicitGrooves Awards2020 Nominees part 2
Favourite Track and Favourite Compilation Album categories
Emma-Jean Thackray – Speak No Evil (Nightdreamer) (Blue Note Records)
Mabuta – Slipstream (Afro-Synth)
Gary Bartz with Ali Shaheed Muhammed & Adrian Younge – Distant Mode (Jazz is Dead)
Paoli Mejias – Revelation (Z Records)
Roberta Flack – Compared to What (Acid Jazz Records)
Dayme Arocena – Stuck (BBE Music)
Antonio Trinchera – Our fault (A.MA Records)
Koichi Sakai & Afla Sackey – Atenteben Blues (NYP Records)
Dandana – Free The System (Rebel Up)
Carfoxa – San Gogo Fu (MJDC)
Deborah Jordan – Horizon (Kaidi Tatham Remix) (Futuristica Music)
Daniel maunick – Black Magic (Far Out Recordings)
Don pascal feat. LyricL – Time (R2 Records)
Lady Blackbird – Collage (Bruise Remix) (Artist Release)
TC & the Groove Family – Temple (Kalaux Remix) (TC & TGF Records)
Ashley Allen – The Question (Artist Release)
Soul Inscribed – Let Them In (Irfan Rainy Remix)
Raul Monsalve y Los Forrajidos feat. Betsayda Machado – Mosquito (Olindo Records)
The Fantastics – Pyramid (BBE Music)
To vote in the #IllicitGroovesAwards2020 follow the blog at illicitgrooves.wordpress.com
Polls will be open on Friday the 8th January at 4pm (UK Time) 5pm (CET) and will close at 6pm (UK Time) on Wednesday the 20th of January.
It is that time of year again when we start to review the music that has been released in 2020. More than any other year in recent history we have been reminded of the importance of music and the arts, musicians and artists to human existence. So it is with an even greater pleasure than normal that we at The Return of the Illicit Groove can present to you the viability of the arts with the following lists of nominees in two of the four categories in the #IllicitGroovesAwards2020.
So please find below the lists for the nominees in the Favourite Album and Favourite Re-Issue categories and theMixcloud repeat of yesterday’s special edition of the #IllicitGrooves show featuring all 20 nominees from each of those two categories. The nominees in the Favourite Compilation and Favourite Track categories will be published on Monday the 4th of January 2021 right here.
Remember you, as listeners to the #IllicitGrooves show on Totally Wired Radio, readers of #NewsFromTheGrooves and The Return of the Illicit Groove blog are eligible to vote for your favourites when the polls open on Friday the 8th of January.
Favourite Album Released in 2020
SAULT – Untitled (Black Is) (Forever Living Originals)
Waaju – Grown (Olindo Records)
Nubya Garcia – Source (Concord Jazz)
LCSM – Earthbound (Super Sonic Jazz Records)
Gary Bartz & Maisha – Direct to Disc Sessions (Nightdreamer)
It is definitely that time of year again when we at The Return of the Illicit Groove once again start to finalise the nominees for inclusion in the annual awards.
This year there will be four categories open to the listeners of the #IllicitGrooves show and readers of #NewsFromTheGrooves to vote to select the winners. Those categories will once again be Favourite Album, Favourite Track, Favourite Re-Issue and Favourite Compilation. The finalised lists of ten nominees per category will all come from physical and/or digital music released in 2020 and that have featured in the playlists of the #IllicitGrooves show on Totally Wired Radio, in the #NewGrooves monthly playlists or any guest mixes we have done including the monthly LookingOutwardsmix on Stream 101 Radio.
The nominees will be first revealed in the scheduled #IllicitGroovesbroadcasts which go out on Sunday 27th of December (Favourite Album & Favourite Re-Issue) and on Sunday 3rd of January (Favourite Compilation & Favourite Track) on Totally Wired Radio. The Mondays after each broadcast (the 28th and 4th respectively) the nominees will also be listed on this blog with the shows available to listen again via Mixcloud.
Polls will close on Saturday the 23rd of January results will then be announced on the #IllicitGrooves show on Totally Wired Radio broadcast on the next day, Sunday the 24th of January.
There will also be the Arts & Culture Award, Online Event Award and Composition Award with the winners selected in-house by the #IllicitGrooves production team.
For the results of the #IllicitGroovesAwards2019 just click on the image below.
Illicit Grooves & Mixcloud Select
From Friday 8th January 2021 we will be closing down our Soundcloud page and all mixes, playlists, the show archive and other audio features will only be available on Mixcloud.
The #IllicitGrooves show will continue to be available every Monday after the Sunday broadcast as a free ‘listen again’ option. However, there will also be an #IllicitGroovesRadioShowExtra version which will be available only to subscribers. This will be the same show as goes out on Totally Wired Radio but with an extra 30-60 minutes of content. Subscribers (only £3.00 per month) will also get access to the #AcrossTheTracks, the compilation mixes #DeepThrillsMeanSomething archive as well as new content, competitions and other exclusive goodies.
One of the features you can enjoy even as a non-subscriber follower of our page is the series of guest mixes we have done for Stream101Radio. The latest, Looking Outwards: Jazz Italia, is available below and was made to mark the release of #InsideAMAvolume1 compilation on the Italian Jazz label A.MA Records.
This month’s #NewsFromTheGrooves digest is a little shorter than normal due to focusing on the awards. However, we have still found some excellent content and arts and music news from the Web to share with you.
We’ll start with this article featuring 9 London musicians who remind us that art is work and artists are viable. To read on click the pic of Sheila Maurice Grey below.
It’s the 50th Anniversary of the Peter Whittingham Jazz Awards which funds 4 artists per annum to help them with their creativity. Four excellent winners this year and you can read who they are by clicking the image below.
Always fascinating images from the British Culture Archive and below we have selected two articles from it. The first documents rave culture in the East Midlands in the 90s and the second focuses on Rock Against Racism in the 1970s.
90s Rave Culture click the pic below.
Rock Against Racism click the pic below.
Scrimshire’s excellent new album Believers Part 1 is out now and receiving very favourable reviews. Here’s Scrimshire talking about synths in soul music. As always, to read the article, click the pic below.
UK Jazz is hitting the heights all over the World at the moment. This has not been an overnight thing and has its roots in people collaborating and working together. It’s a story of venues, education, friends, family, promoters and musicians doing things together.
Check this video ‘The Current State of Jazz: London’ introduced by Cleveland Watkiss.
And finally, as always we would hate for you to miss out on the latest #IllicitGrooves shows so here is the link to the show archive on our Mixcloud page. Enjoy.
Well, as November kicks off here in the UK we are going into another (partial) ‘lockdown’. So hopefully the digest of net based news and features we have collated here will help those of us across the World find some entertainment and thought provoking art to help us. It’s some solace to all of you in the Southern Hemsphere to at least be going into Spring whilst the North hits Autumn and Winter. Either way let’s hope that once we get through this pandemic that there are still venues, galleries, clubs, theatres, museums and concert halls left standing and musicians, writers, artists and others still working.
So let’s start with the results of the #JazzFMAwards2020. Postponed from earlier in the year and held on the 27th of October at the iconic Ronnie Scott’s venue you can watch the highlights of the show and read the full list of winners and nominees by clicking on the image below of nominated vocalist Judi Jackson. On a personal note it was great to see the Jazz Re:Freshed organisation win the Innovation Award for its excellence in continuing to presnt Jazz to a diverse audience during the pandemic and through its use of online and digital media.
Industry magazine Music Week also presented its postponed annual Women In Music Awards in October. You can read the full list of those women that have made and are making a cultural impact on what is still a mainly male and pale run industry and it is worth noting how many of these women are also Black or Brown and also from working class/lower middle-class backgrounds. It is a list of innovators and an important recognition that diversity in the gate keeping and decision making process is crucial to the music makers and the fans of that music.
Again, on a very personal note it is great to see that Janine Irons MBE FRSA, co-founder and Chief Executive of Tomorrow’s Warriors, is amongst the list. You can read more by clicking on the image of Janine Irons below.
and finally in the News section a personal milestone for the #IllicitGrooves project is the collaboration with Italian Jazz imprint A.MA Records which has resulted in the first of a series of compilation albums called Inside A.MA volume 1.
This compilation, curated from the A.MA Records catalogue, is now available for pre-order from Bandcamp with three tracks now and the rest when the album is released on the 27th of November. To pre-order please click the cover art image below.
It’s one of the features of #NFTG that we spend a bit of time trawling the net to find music documentaries to share. It was a real pleasure to be tipped off by different people that an Arena documentary from 1986 about the Washington DC Go-Go scene is up on Youtube. Around the time this was broadcast bands such as Trouble Funk and Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers were starting to break out from the playlists of the underground Soul and Funk clubs and specialist DJs. This documentary shown on BBC2 further pushed the Go-Go scene and its percussion driven Funk into the mainstream.
Larry Levan, along with Frankie Knuckles, Nicky Siano and others are credited with being amongst the innovators of Disco and then House music in New York City and Chicago. In this documentary Larry is the subject as it explores his impact on legendary clubs such as the egalitatrian Paradise Garage and the more elitist Studio 54. The film also serves as an insight into a music scene which brought together Black, Hispanic, Gay, Straight, Blue Collar and White Collar and White people as DJs mixed and cut across genres to blend a dancefloor journey of fun and hedonism.
Moving across the pond to Europe and the UK and to a contemporary scene that has exploded from London this film is Fabrice Bourgelle’s visual diary of Saxophonist Nubya Garcia and the making of her album Source.
The first three of the articles we have collated for this month’s #NFTG focus very much on Black British music artists who emerged at different times over the past 30 or so years and have all made a significant contribution to music and Black British identity. Mica Paris, Ms Dynamite and Skepta are very much a part of the history and story of UK culture and Black History.
As always just click on the images of each person to read the articles.
We start with a GQ article where Mica Paris talks about selling Black soul music to White Britain.
Here, Mercury award winner Ms Dynamite discusses navigating a male dominated genre.
Boasting two MCs, a writer, a broadcaster and a graphic designer here Skepta, his Mum and Siblings are asked if they are the UK’s most creative family.
As well as in music Black Britons have made a major and hugely significant contribution to British culture and in this article Turner Prize, BAFTA and Academy Award winner Steve McQueen discusses how Black Britons have influenced Britain as a whole.
Without a doubt one of the musicians whose music and remixes have found their way onto the playlists of the #IllicitGrooves show on Totally Wired Radio is the amazing Emma-Jean Thackray. In this article for the very informative Music Is My Sanctuary blog Emma-Jean selects her five favourite Blue Note joints. It’s always great to hear musicians talk about what other music influences them and with Emma-Jean being one of the artists chosen by Blue Note Records for the ReImagined album it is great to hear her selections. Again, just click on the image below.
Catch up with the #IllicitGrooves Show, #NewGrooves and #LookingOutwards
#IllicitGrooves on Totally Wired Radio
Looking Outwards. Our monthly guest mix for Stream101 Radio.
Enjoy the mix which went out on Stream101Radio on Thursday 5th November at 7pm.
New Grooves for #NewsForTheGrooves: Our monthly selection of the promos that hit the #IllicitGrooves inbox over the past 4 weeks.
Leaving you with literature
As part of Black History Month London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan interviewed and spoke with the writers Renni Eddo-Lodge and Bernadine Evaristo. Both of thesde Londoners and award winning writers have made a massive contribution to, not only, British culture but also to #BlackLivesMatter and to multiculturalism and diversity in the arts and in life.
So as we start our gentle slide into Autumn (in the Northern Hemisphere) and are hopefully all enjoying some late Summer Sunshine here is the September edition of #NewsFromTheGrooves.
This month’s issue looks at artistic responses to racial violence through the work of Peter Williams, 1970s Soul through the lens of photographer Bruce Taloman, interviews and features with and on UK Jazzers Emma-Jean Thackray and Nubya Garcia, a look at BRUK boogie and the work of IG Culture, the innovative feminist/Lesbian record label Olivia (home to #IllicitGrooves favourite the amazing Linda Tillery) and our regular focii on new music, catch ups with The Illicit Grooves Radio Showbroadcasts from August and more besides.
We start though with new of the winners of this year’s Independent Music Association AIM Awards. Among the winners in the 2020 edition of the awards were #IllicitGrooves favourites Moses Boyd and those fine people at Jazz Re:Freshed. Take a read of the full list of nominees and winners by clicking the image below.
Emma-Jean Thackray, Nubya Garcia and IG Culture
The above named three innovators from the UK’s music scene have all produced amazing albums and/or EPs this year and we can take a look at each of them with various interviews and features from around the Worldwide Web.
Nubya Garcia released her debut album Source on Concord Jazz at the end of August and what a superb album it is. We have featured a number of tracks from it on the #IllicitGrooves show on Totally Wired Radio throughout the month and will certainly be considering Source for inclusion in the Favourite Album category for the #IllicitGroovesAwards2020.
In this interview she discusses Identity, accessibility and independence with Downbeat Magazine’s Tina Edwards.
Speaking with Sam Walton from The Rates online Nubya selects 6 artists she recommends to us. Three coming in the underrated category and three new artists to look out for.
and finally here Nubya discusses Source and the line-up of musicians on it with Hugh Morris for The Grammy magazine.
Emma-Jean Thackray has been simarlily busy in 2020 with the launch of her label Movementt and a number of releases and collaborations including her UM/Yang single available on the direct-to-disc label Nightdreamer. Here Emma-Jean discusses Taoism, her Um/Yang release and more with the Don’t Get Weary blog.
and in this piece by Ally J Steel for Jazz Revelations Emma-Jean talks about Um/Yang and her label Movementt.
Another favourite of #IllicitGrooves is rapper, musician, composer and producer IG Culture. His album Earthbound, released under the moniker Likwid Continual Space Motion (LCSM) is another 2020 release that looks destined for the Favourite Album category in the #IllicitGroovesAwards2020. In this interview with the Sound of Life blog IG Culture talks about his contributions to the BRUK and Broken Beat scenes, his time with Dodge City Productions and the LCSM album Earthbound.
The #IllicitGrooves Show August Broadcasts on Mixcloud
Here you can catch up with all of August’s broadcasts of our weekly show on Totally Wired Radio.
Visual Arts: Basquiat, Bruce Talamon and Peter Williams
With the Boston Museum of Fine Arts planned Basquiat exhibition now on hold due to Corona Virus restrictions this article from Damon Krukowski in Art In America is a focus on the music which is linked to the artist’s work and the musicians around him as he created much of the culturescape of 80s New York City.
Another African-American artist to note is Peter Williams and in this review by LA Times art critic Christopher Knight Williams’ pointillism paintings depicting and exploring racial violence are reviewed.
You can also hear from Peter Williams in his own words in this interview with the Delaware Arts Museum on the occasion of the museum acquiring his painting Smile for public display in its Contemporary Art Gallery.
And so to photographer Bruce Talamon and his documenting of Soul, Funk and RnB acts over a 40 year period which resulted in the Taschen publication of part of his collection of photographs in the book Soul RnB Funk: Photographs 1972-82.
In this LA Times article by Makeda Easter Taloman shares anecdotes and photographs of time spent with Black Music’s most important artists such as Earth, Wind and Fire, Teddy P, Thelma Houston, Rufus and Chaka Khan, Al Green, Isaac Hayes and others.
One of the tracks that is cemented in the unofficial compilations entitled #IllicitGrooves National Anthems is the amazing Freedom Time track from Black Lesbian Feminist activist and artist Linda Tillery. A powerful song which includes the lyric ‘we’ve been given empty answers, pain of oppression grows inside like a cancer, there’s no saviour in the struggle of freedom time’.
A massive feminist anthem, a rallying cry to Black women and the cause, Freedom Time is a track that needed a home on a radical label willing to promote it and Olivia was just such a label. Read about it in this feature in The Guardian newspaper.
Around The World
We start in South Africa with a two part article on the Music in Africa blog entitled Music is the Medicine. Which looks at ‘Black life and silence’ and features contributions from artists and musicians Zoe Modiga, Asher Gamedze and others.
Part 1 can be read here
Part 2 can be read here
Staying on the varied and diverse continent that is Africa here on the Vinyl Me Please blog is a recommendation piece suggesting ‘the ten best Afrobeat albums to own’
Hopping over the Atlantic to Brazil and a similar list of recommendations from Beatriz Mirands in the Okay Africa blog of the best Afro-Brazillian artists to listen to.
‘For those who make up the Greek hip hop scene, you respond by collaborating with people who share your worldview. As a result, a new generation of Greeks are now growing up with musical heroes who, for the first time, reflect the country’s growing multiculturalism.‘ So says Alex King in a feature on the Greek Hip-Hop scene in the Huck magazine.
and so to the UK with the release of the first trailer from one of five hour long dramas from Academy Award winning director and renowned artist Steve McQueen in the Small Axe series for the BBC. You can watch the trailer in this article by Hayley Maitland in UK Vogue online.
to the USA now and firstly to California, and more specifically the famed Laurel Canyon and the music which came out of that area which include Jazz/Rock/Soul/Folk crossovers and collaborations and included artists such as the Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, The Band and others.
Lisa Robinson’s 2015 article for Vanity Fair explores this 60s and 70s moment of Americana with contributions from David Crosby, David Geffen, Stephen Stills, Glenn Frey and others.
We put together a mix based on the Laurel Canyon groove for our #DeepThrillsMeanSomethingseries. Have a listen to #SurfingLaurelCanyon here.
Marcus J. Moores article in the New York Times in June contributed to the #BlackLivesMatter cause by listing 15 tracks from the radical Black Liberation Jazz movement which celebrated Blackness in the 1960s and 70s. Featuring music from Sun Ra, Sonny Sharrock, Mtume and the Umoja Ensemble and more this article chronicles the music and the context it was created in and shows its relevance to the equality struggle today.
Stream 101 news and links to past mixes.
We are very happy to announce that alongside the weekly #IllicitGrooves show every Sunday (1-3pm UK time) on Totally Wired Radio we are also now producing a monthly mix for Stream101 Radio which will go out on the first Thursday of the month at 7pm (UK time).
In a Summer which has seen anti-racism and the #BlackLivesMatter movement once again having to respond to state sanctioned racist killings in the USA and the UK’s racist Prime Minister Boris Johnson weaponising bigotry it is good to see that recording artists are responding to this rise of the far-right with thought provoking music and lyrics of defiance.
As with the articles about the Olivia record label and Black Liberation Jazz the indie music industry has always provided a space where those responses to racism and other inequities can be created and heard. In recent years the Idris Ackamoor and the Pyramids track Warrior Dance or the recent Let Them In track from Soul Inscribed have caught the attention as music which is a call to arms. It is fitting then that we will take a look and focus on an album from 2020 which from title, cover art and whole tracklist is just such a response to the top down, weaponised racism in the UK.
Carvalho – Watermelon Smiles (Versify Music)
From the opening track this album leaves you in no doubt as to its political message with Africa Has No Friends. Africa must liberate itself is the message here and that message is brilliantly put over on top of an infectious dance track.
Carvalho is a Birmingham born artist of Jamaican parents who soundtracked their house with music from Burning Spear to Miles Davis. This mix of Black music styles influenced Carvalho as a bass player in various Jazz and Indie bands in Birmingham and in his decision to study music at the Birmingham Conservatoire. Since then Carvalho has worked with South African producers and the Brazilian production team BSC.
It is this ability that this multi-instrumentalist has to absorb and re-interpret different styles and genres that feeds into the rhythms and melodies of Watermelon Smiles and which carry the messages of defiance throughout.
If Africa Has No Friends is making a strong statement from the get go then every track from then on is the best kind of lesson in how to defy racism and also to identify it and understand it. It is also an album that celebrates Blackness in its myriad forms and acknowledges the diversity that exists throughout Black peoples of the World.
In tracks like Hue Man, with its study of the colonial mentality, and Nigger In The Woodpile it is white people who are perhaps being spoken to here. The messages are then enhanced in both these tracks by infectious dance music.
Overall, this album can be seen as a whole, as a concept album if you will. It is an album where bass lines dictate the mood of the tracks as much as the lyrics do. It is Soul, it is Jazz, it is RnB, it is Afrobeats, it is Hip-Hop. In short it is yet another example of everything that is good and creative in a multiculti UK.
Every track also stands alone with absolutely no fillers here at all. My particular favourite Don’t Watch is a two-step, bass driven groove that, on first hearing, had me rewinding again and again.
We’ve playlisted a number of the tracks from Watermelon Smiles on the #IllicitGrooves show, and it is an album that is likely to make the longlist for the #IllicitGroovesAwards2020.
Bollocks to Boris Johnson, and hurrah for Carvalho and Watermelon Smiles.
As always we put together a playlist of some of the tracks which have made their way to our music folders and record bags as promos, new releases, re-issues and late discoveries throughout August 2020.
News From the Grooves September 2020 Playlist
Carvalho – Fury
Dele Sosimi x Medlar – Gudu Gudu Kan
Huw Marc Bennet – In My Craft
Raul Monsalve y Los Forajidos – Cafunga
Ess Be – The Vibe Is Real
Edmony Krater – Fo Nou Kontinye Goume
Admas – Kalatashew Wagna
Ambiance – The Black Narcissus
Amey St Cyr – Do You Feel It
Sambada – Glass Slipper
Carxofa – San Gogo Fu
Dan Fabrice – Yes I’m Available
Shamrock feat. Andy Compton – Diverse Tribes
Carlos Francisco feat. Mr V – Place of Love (Cesar del Rio & Tatsu Remix)
Arema Arega – I See You In The Sunlight
Kylie Auldist – Is It Fun
Soul Inscribed – Let Them In
Lovescene – Overnight
MF Robots – Happy Song
Natty Wylah – Cinders
Necktr – Grow (Sourpuss Remix)
Nimbus Sextet – Trap Door
Soothsayers – We Are Many
The Fantastics! – Take A Shot (Richard Earnshaw Mix)