So with the lockdown extended in the UK and continuing in one form or another globally this issue of #NFTG is a bumper one with things to watch, things to read, things to listen to, things to study and a shit tonne of music to experience.
We celebrate the life of Bill Withers, whom we sadly lost this month, with a musical tribute to him as a songwriter in a mix prepared for The Illicit Grooves Radio Show broadcast on the 12th of April and link to the excellent BBC4 documentary Still Bill.
April marked the 50th anniversary of the release of Bitches Brew and we have sourced footage of Miles Davis in concert performing that very album as well as a couple of articles looking back on the importance of Bitches Brew to jazz and to popular culture in general.
We have also sourced a series of podcasts where the excellent Reggie Yates talks to a range of guests from Riz Ahmed to Jacob Sanderson AKA Raleigh Ritchie to Naomi Harris. The work of music organisation Tomorrow’s Warriors is discussed by co-founder, the bassist and former Jazz Warrior, Gary Crosby. A radio documentary on the Griot drummers of Senegal, early footage of Bass maestro Esperanza Spalding, the Polyrithmic Britain podcast and the artwork of Fela Kuti’s album covers are also included in this month’s offerings. Furthermore you are also invited to a talk by It’s A London Thing author Caspar Melville (reviewed in the #NFTGJanuary) and a trip around a Basquiat exhibition plus a schlepp around the music landmarks of Manchester with UK DJ legend Colin Curtis along with Greg Wilson.
For the past few years The Return of the Illicit Groove and The Illicit Grooves Radio Show has been a partner of the global event that is the UNESCO sanctioned International Jazz Day spearheaded by Herbie Hancock. The #IllicitGrooves contribution has included several special radio broadcasts, live events, screening the #JazzDay concert via the #IllicitGrooves website and even being in Havana, Cuba for the 2017 global concert. Sadly this year’s concert, hosted in Cape Town, South Africa, will not be going ahead due to the lockdown. However, we have been informed by the organisers that #JazzDay itself will still be marked on the 30th of April as it is every year since its inception. What will take place will be any events scheduled as remote events such as radio broadcasts and online activities. There will also be access to footage of past #JazzDay global concerts via the official website here.
To mark Cape Town’s selection as the host city for #JazzDay2020 we created a DeepThrillsMeanSomething mix featuring music from that great city. You can listen to that mix here.
Bobhill Illicit Grooves DJ · Deep Thrills Mean Something Vol V Cape Town Jazz And Funk Mixdown
As always there is plenty of music with the listen again options for The Illicit Grooves Radio Show broadcasts, the New Grooves For News From The Grooves mix and a series of Rare Groove inspired mixes we’ve created for the indie bar Belgium & Blues, Bournemouth.
So, along with the #JazzDay2020 global concert from Cape Town we have already been notified of the re-scheduling, postponing and cancellations of Glastonbury, Cross the Tracks and Love Supreme in the UK , Worldwide in Sete, France, Kala in Albania and festivals across the World with no continent, save Antarctica, left untouched. It’s hard to imagine what this means for promoters, venues, musicians, artists, techies, labels and all those affected, including fans and consumers.
With art galleries, bars, clubs and museums all part of the lockdown we now find ourselves unwilling characters in a story that is reminiscent of E.M Forster’s The Machine Stops. A story which foretells the internet to such a degree that online shopping, virtual concerts, virtual museums and art gallery tours and music piped into the home are all included in its pages.
Let us hope then that idiot Presidents telling people to inject bleach aside, we soon find ourselves out of this nightmare and once again can congregate to listen to music, to dance, to laugh, to cry, to kiss, to fuck and to frolic with a backdrop of art and culture as our scenery. In the meantime let us at News For The Grooves try and add to the online options for a scenery to our, sadly necessary, social distancing.
The New Grooves For News From The Grooves
Please sit back and enjoy a selection from the new, unreleased, recently released, promos, re-issues, new mixes and other tunes that found their way onto the #IllicitGrooves playlists this month.
Die Reck & DJ Sean P – No Question (Illect)
Out of the Ordinairy – The Republic of Persevere (LP Version) (Ramrock Records)
Luis Radio – Straight Ashead (BBE Music)
Kameelah Waheed – Holding On (North Street Vocal Version) (Ramrock Records)
Twylyte 81 – A Dreamer (Favourite Records)
Carvalho – Indigo (Vesrifymusic)
Master Chivero – Black September (Daniel Haaksman Edit) (BBE Music)
Brazilian Soul Crew & Sterling Ensemble feat. Nadine Navarre – Can You Feel It (Khulili Kholwaku Retake) (Grooveland Brazil)
Loren Oden – Queen (Linear Labs)
Sergio Mendes & Brazil 66 – Mas Que Nada (Edit by Mr K) (Mr K Digital Edits Vol. 5)
Angela Munoz – In My Mind (Linear Labs)
Jneiro Janel – Banana Peel (Cascaro de Platano) (Far Out Recordings)
Binky Womack – Let’s Do It Again (Last Valentino)
Gazzara vs Alex di Cio – Magic (Superstrut Mix) (The Man IRMA Dancefloor)
Kutiman – Layla (Full Suite) (Siyal Records)
Malcolm Strachan – Time For A Change (Haggis Records)
Nico Gomez and His Afro Percussion Inc. – Lupita (Bosq Rework) (Matasuna Records)
Patrice Rushen – Settle (South Beach Recycling Edit) (SBR)
Shamrock – Put On Your Dancing Shoes (Gotto Records)
Teddy Pendergrass – Joy (Alex Di Cio Edit) (Alex di Cio)
Waaju – Listening Glass (Olindo Records)
Yazmin Lacey – Morning Sunrise (On Your Own Records)
Bobhill Illicit Grooves DJ · #NewGroovesApril2020 Mixdown
Listen Again To April’s Broadcasts of The Illicit Grooves Radio Show on Totally Wired Radio.
Listen To The Belgium & Blues Illicit Grooves Fridays Mixes.
As part of the #IllicitGrooves collaboration with innovative and independent music venue Belgium & Blues we are producing weekly hour long mixes of Rare Groove, Soul, Jazz and Funk to enjoy during the lockdown. Once the venue can open again The Return of the Illicit Groove will be curating a Friday night residency at the venue in Bournemouth, UK.
You can listen to all the playlists here.
Bobhill Illicit Grooves DJ · Belgium & Blues Illicit Grooves
Online Arts and Culture
A fine selection of podcasts, articles, playlists and films to help your culture fix throughout the lockdown.
We start with a series of podcasts hosted by UK based Anglo-Ghanaian actor and broadcaster Reggie Yates. Well worth listening to both series and all episodes of this podcast where Reggie talks to performers from the music and acting worlds about their craft and approaches to it and how their personal lives influence their performance. Insighful stuff here, listen by clicking the image below.
Produced by radio documentary maker and NTS Radio host Zakia Speaking Sabar is a fascinating look and listen to the Griot drummers of Senegal and how electronic musicians from London can collaborate and be influenced by the rhythms of the Griot.
Listen to the documentary on the BBC by clicking on the image below.
It has to be said that one of the most innovative artists we love here at #IllicitGrooves is Esperanza Spalding. In recent years her online and very public projects 77 Hours, which resulted in her Exposure album, and the equally improv based and collaborative 12 Little Spells have been an inspiration to her legion of fans and artistic admirers. Here is a video of early footage of Esperanza in 2009 working with Joe Lovano’s Us Five group.
Former Jazz Warriors bass player Gary Crosby along with Janine Irons have been instrumental (no pun intended) in the rise of the young and diverse jazz talent that has emerged and continues to be nurtured in the UK at the moment. From Shabaka Hutchings to Theon Cross, Daniel Casimir, Nubya Garcia, Ezra Collective and others Tomorrow’s Warriors, the organisation founded by Gary and Janine, has played a major role in their development. Gary discusses this here in a Locked In The Green Room interview.
We celebrated the life of the great Bill Withers this month with his death at 81 years old. As part of that celebration of his brilliance we produced a special selection of songs written by Bill and covered by acts as diverse as Grace Jones, Gil Scott-Heron and Gladys Knight among others. Bill himself stated in interviews that he primarily saw himself as a songwriter and you can hear those great songs here.
Bobhill Illicit Grooves DJ · An Illicit Groove Celebration Of Bill Withers Mixdown
You can also watch the BBC4 documentary Still Bill here as Bill looks back over his life. This is a wonderful documentary that, mixed with archive footage, shows us what a mensch he was.
So a couple of anniversaries came up in April; the 80th birthday of Herbie Hancock and the 50th anniversary of the release of Miles Davis’ game changing album Bitches Brew.
First of all then we can take a look here at a short film of Herbie discussing the making of his Blue Note album Maiden Voyage.
One of the aspects which fascinated me about the processes that were involved in the making of Bitches Brew was the influence of his then wife, songwriter and Funk singer and star in her own right, Betty Davis. It’s hard to equate what that album meant to both Miles and to Jazz in particular. The influences it had on the whole Jazz-Fusion and Jazz-Funk scenes and how it changed or influenced improvised composition and live performance. Below is archive footage of a full live perfotrmance of the album.
You can also read the perspectives on Bitches Brew from ten musicians from now. Ranging from Kassa Overall to Brandee Younger it’s fascinating to read how a new generation of artists connect to the album.
Read by clicking the image of Miles below.
The striking cover for Bitches Brew was also ground breaking in its boldness, its black consciousness and Afro-Centrism and its departure from the standard image of the main musician in a sharp suit. You can read about the creation of this cover and the artist Mati Klarwein by clicking the image below.
and finally on the subject of Bitches Brew take a listen to the podcasts about it and the live footage from a performance in Copenhagen via the Consequence of Sound website.
Again, click on the image below to access.
As with the cover art of Bitches Brew another series of LP covers which grabbed the imagination and totally tied in with the music and the political message of the composer and performer of that music was the 26 covers created by Lemi Ghariokwu for Fela Kuti.
Read more by clicking the image below.
In last month’s #NFTG we included a documentary about and featuring Jean-Michel Basquiat. Well, by happy coincedence the Museum of Fine Art in Boston, Mass., was due to open an exhibition this month entitled Writing The Future: Basquiat & the Hip-Hop Generation. Obviously due to the lockdown it is unsure as to when the physical exhibition will go ahead. However the museum’s website allows for a number of interactive methods by which to encounter Basquiat’s work. This includes links to slideshows and videos. Indeed, as it urges the reader to do on the site ‘Dive into writing the future’.
You can do just that by clicking the image below.
From The Twisted Wheel to The Hacienda the UK city of Manchester is steeped in the history of black music and dance music whether it be Northern Soul or Chicago and New York House. In this film DJ legend Colin Curtis, a man whose influence spans a period from the late 1960s to now, joins fellow DJ Greg Wilson for a cultural historic walk around the city visiting the sites of record shops, clubs and bars which still hold an iconic status in the multi-cultural story of the UK.
You can read more about Colin Curtis and watch an interview with him discussing his 50 years as a DJ by clicking the image below.
Speaking of iconic DJs from Manchester’s history in music you may remember in last month’s #NFTG a feature on music having no age limits. One of those who contributed was DJ Paulette who also featured in a For The Record interview for Freed En. In this interview she discusses how age ‘rules’ affect female DJs less advantageously than their male counterparts as well as DJ as performer, connecting with dancefloors and cherry picking from other people’s record collections. She describes her first gig and DJing in gay clubs like Flesh.
To watch the interview click on the image below.
Another look at the Uk’s multi-cultural history is the polyrhythmic movement of musicians who have fused Afro-Latin, Afro and Latin rhythms in a British context. Featuring London bands such as Cayenne and referencing iconic venue Bass Clef and arts backers such as the GLC presenter and producer Vicky Jassey presents a fascinating insight into the cultural exchanges and cross-fertilisation that comes with movements of peoples and the meetings of artists from different cultures.
Access the podcast by clicking on the image below.
Further to the theme of the cultural exchange that is such a dynamic feature of multiculti Britain Caspar Melville’s book It’s A London Thing discusses shared cultural spaces in London through the lenses of the Rare Groove, Acid House and Jungle scenes. Hosted by the Manchester University Press you can join Casper for an author talk webinair on Thursday the 30th of April at 5pm (BST).
For more details of the talk and how to register please click the image below.
Further to the above talk you can listen to an interview with Caspar Melville on the New Books Network podcast. Discussing the book as cultural history, social history, spatial history, racialisation of space, cultural geography and a document of the importance of sound system culture, warehouse parties and the politics of underground movements.
Author, journalist, cultural historian and WorldwideFM presenter and broadcaster Emma Warren (author of the insightful book Make Some Space) is currently researching for a new book on dancing and the relationships people have with the dancefloor. She has also written an insightful article which looks at how we dance now that the usual dance spaces have been closed for the Zombie Apocalypse.
Entitled Dancing at Home you can read the article from the Dorothy website by clicking on the image below.
and you can read a review of Emma Warren’s Make Some Space, a book which analyses the impact of the Total Refreshment Centre as part of London and the wider UK’s cultural capital, from the Guardian website by clicking the image below.
Livestreamed Gigs from the cream of the UK Jazz Family.
The Royal Albert Hall has curated a series of gigs where artists play live from their own homes. Titled as Royal Albert Home you can subscribe to its Youtube channel to stream the gigs. Two recent events you can watch below featured composer, cellict and singer Ayanna Witter-Johnson and pianist and composer Ashley Henry.
In March and in lieu of their cancelled showcase gigs at the SXSW conference and festival in Austen, Texas Theon Cross, Daniel Casimir & Tess Hirst and Noya Rao streamed live performances for the British Music Embassy Sessions and MQA. Sponsored by, among others, Jazz Re:Freshed you can access the archived gigs by clicking on the image below.
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