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News From The Grooves: April 2020

Welcome to the April edition of #NewsFromTheGrooves  (#NFTG ), your monthly round up of music, news, arts and culture gathered by The Return of the Illicit Groove and The Illicit Grooves Radio Show.

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.

Bill Withers

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.

bitches

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.

reggie

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.

jazz-day-2019-fb

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.

forster

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.

  1. Die Reck & DJ Sean P – No Question (Illect)

  2. Out of the Ordinairy – The Republic of Persevere (LP Version) (Ramrock Records)

  3. Luis Radio – Straight Ashead (BBE Music)

  4. Kameelah Waheed – Holding On (North Street Vocal Version) (Ramrock Records)

  5. Twylyte 81 – A Dreamer (Favourite Records)

  6. Carvalho – Indigo (Vesrifymusic)

  7. Master Chivero – Black September (Daniel Haaksman Edit) (BBE Music)

  8. Brazilian Soul Crew & Sterling Ensemble feat. Nadine Navarre – Can You Feel It (Khulili Kholwaku Retake) (Grooveland Brazil)

  9. Loren Oden – Queen (Linear Labs)

  10. Sergio Mendes & Brazil 66 – Mas Que Nada (Edit by Mr K) (Mr K Digital Edits Vol. 5)

  11. Angela Munoz – In My Mind (Linear Labs)

  12. Jneiro Janel – Banana Peel (Cascaro de Platano) (Far Out Recordings)

  13. Binky Womack – Let’s Do It Again (Last Valentino)

  14. Gazzara vs Alex di Cio – Magic (Superstrut Mix) (The Man IRMA Dancefloor)

  15. Kutiman – Layla (Full Suite) (Siyal Records)

  16. Malcolm Strachan – Time For A Change (Haggis Records)

  17. Nico Gomez and His Afro Percussion Inc. – Lupita (Bosq Rework) (Matasuna Records)

  18. Patrice Rushen – Settle (South Beach Recycling Edit) (SBR)

  19. Shamrock – Put On Your Dancing Shoes (Gotto Records)

  20. Teddy Pendergrass – Joy (Alex Di Cio Edit) (Alex di Cio)

  21. Waaju – Listening Glass (Olindo Records)

  22. 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.

Reggie yates

 

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.

zakia's doc
Image by Sandhya Ellis

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.

miles

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.

BitchesBrew
Bitches Brew: Created by Mati Klarwein

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.

miles again

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.

beast of no nation
Beast of No Nation: Image created by Lemi Ghariokwu

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.

basquiat

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.

colin-curtis_landscape

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.

paulette

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.

poly britain

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.

london thing

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.

melville

 

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.

Total_refreshment_centre

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.

makespace

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.

twistedsoul-daniel-casimir-tess-hirst

 

and finally…

There are many ways to follow and enjoy the content created by The Return of the Illicit Groove including following this blog right now.

You can also access the links to all our social media sites, playlists, podcasts and more by clicking on the image below.

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News From The Grooves: March 2020

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 Showan archive edition of Talking the Groovenews 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.

News

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 Show playlists 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.

jfm awards 20

Totally Wired Radio,the home station of The Illicit Grooves Radio Show continues 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.

TWR_Logo-02-512-ns

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.

jazz zouth

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.

JOTT mug

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

The New Grooves From News On The Grooves

A selection of new music, recent releases, promos, re-issues and grooves that found their way to The Return of the Illicit Groove’s record box this month.

News From the Grooves March 2020 Playlist

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  1. Tony Allen & Hugh Masekela – Robbers, Thugs & Muggers (O’ Galijani) (World Circuit)

  2. Shabaka & The Ancestors – The Coming of the Strange Ones (Impulse! Records)

  3. Koichi Sakai & Afla Sackey – Wono (Olindo Records)

  4. Mikis Theodorakis – Honest Cop (We Want Sounds)

  5. Visions By Statues – Lele (eclectics)

  6. Emanitive – As Of Yet (Remix 2016) (Emanitive)

  7. Gary Bartz & Maisha – Leta’s Dance (Night Dreamer)

  8. Hak Baker & Joe Armon-Jones – Thirsty Thursday (Live From Maida Vale) (Brownswood)

  9. Bodhi Satva Feat. Eman – Brown Sugar

  10. Shamrock – Utekka (Gotto Records)

  11. Penya feat. Msafire Zawosi – Penya Safari (On The Corner)

  12. Oveous – Unfrozen (BBE Music)

  13. Tuca feat. Conrad Rochester – Music (Original Mix) (Grooveland Brazil)

  14. Art Eixample of Canigo – Le Four de Sainte Jaques (Fradhoino Mix) (MJDC)

  15. Adrian Younge & Shaheed Muhammed feat. Azymuth – Apocalaptico (Jazz Is Dead)

  16. Hideto Sasaki & Toshiyuki Sekene Quartet – Carole’s Garden (BBE Music)

  17. Guedra Guedra – Uggug (On The Corner)

  18. Tony Allen & Hugh Masakela – Agbada Bougou (World Circuit)

  19. Ricardo Richaid – O Velho Kai (Far Out Recordings)

  20. 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.

steel and skin

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.

B-boys In New York City

Jean Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child

Definitely one of the favourite artists at The Return of the Illicit Groove so 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

Jean-Michel_Basquiat_1986_by_William_Coupon

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.

ezra collective

 

 

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.

"Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art Of The In-Between" Costume Institute Gala - Arrivals

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.

There are two tracks from Rejoice featured in the

News Grooves From News Of The Grooves Playlist featured in this month’s newsletter.

To read the article click on the image of the cover of Rejoice below.

Rejoice_Allen & Masekela

Manu Dibango

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 Radio from 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.

dibango

 

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News From The Grooves: February 2020

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

  1. Nato – Yako

  2. Emma-Jean Thackray – Raindance

  3. Moses Boyd – B2B

  4. Collocutor – Pause

  5. Arema Arega – Electronic Life

  6. Angela Munoz – I Don’t Care

  7. Ricardo Richaid – O Velho Cai

  8. David Walters – Mesy Bon Dye

  9. Iyoshi Karaou & The Wop – Soul Tripper

  10. Tito Lopez Combo – Far Canal

  11. The Herbaliser – Takedown

  12. Irreversible Entanglements – No Mas

  13. Wildflower – Mirage

  14. Forest Law – New Thoughts New Eyes

  15. D’Oke – Sogodounou

  16. Koichi Sakai & Afla Sackey – Atenteben Blues

  17. Ivan Mamaoa Conti – Katmandu (Original Mix)

  18. Andy Compton – Last Night In Jozi (Sax Mix)

Competition:  Win a handful of CDs and a full set of #IllicitGrooves Badges

IMG_20200113_123105

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?

To enter just click here.

Tales From The Illicit Groove

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 Me click 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

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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.

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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.’

For more info and booking details click here.

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.

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Including a collaboration between Sons of Kemet and Britten Sinfonia, performances from Sofiane Saidi & MazaldaKit Downes Quintet and more.

More details click here.

Andrew Weatherall: A Tribute and Mix from Bill Brewster.

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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.

jazziz cover

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.

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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.

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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.

Read the full statement from Jazz Re:Freshed here.

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.

jazz refest 2020

 

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.

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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

World beats collective and club night Disco Juju invited #IllicitGrooves to contribute a mix to its online content after hearing the West Africa Continental Drift mix featured in January’s News From The Grooves.  Take a listen to the mix here on the Disco Juju Mixcloud page.

 

A Recap of all of February’s Broadcasts of The Illicit Grooves Radio Show

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Watch the #JazzDay2020 Virtual Global Concert Here & read the 2020 Jazz Journalists Association Awards Nominations too.

So with COVID-19 wrecking live music events across the Globe this year’s International Jazz Day Concert, initially scheduled for Cape Town, is now a virtual affair with artists performing in isolation.  The show must go on and indeed will go on with streaming on Youtube starting at 3pm in NYC, 8pm in London, 9pm in Cape Town, Paris and Berlin and 10pm in Moscow.

Also today was the announcement of the 2020 Jazz Journalists Awards nominations.   The JJA Awards results will be announced in mid-May and reward work from 2019.

You can read the full list of nominations by clicking here.

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Back to the International Jazz day 2020 Virtual Global Concert.  Now named as Jazz day At Home 2020 the event will include contributions from Herbie Hancock, Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Lizz Wright, Danilo Prez, Lwanda Gogwana, Sibongele Khumalo and more.

Watch below from the times stated above.

Not Record Store Day But You Can Support Your Indie Record Store Online

This lockdown is severely affecting artists, venues, labels and promoters alike and now we can add record shops to the list of things we hope are still extant when this Zombie Apocalypse is over.

Just as we aimed to do with a previous post on The Return of the Illicit Groove blog which featured several of our favourite indie labels this post looks at a handful of our favourite record shops to support throughout the lockdown.

All are shops from where some of the playlisted tracks you can hear on The Illicit Grooves Radio Show have been purchased, all have physical shops in the real world and all are continuing to trade via their on-line options.  All are also great places to hang out in, to find new releases and dig through well stocked crates of second hand treasure.

On a personal note all also are owned, managed and staffed by good people too.  And never forget that when the tax avoiding high street chains were turning their backs on vinyl and on new music to focus on CDs and the trough of ‘greatest hits’ and Top 40 inanities it was shops such as those featured below which ensured that we could still spend our money on building decent record collections.

The BBE Store. Situated in Helmsley Place  in Hackney, E8 and an easy bus ride from Bethnall Green Tube this is a great place for in-stores as well as knowledgeable staff; Marcio and Grace.  Always something going on and always someone to bump into.  Everytime I’ve popped in I’ve ended up with some gems and I don’t think a visit to the BBE Store has ever lasted less than a couple of very chatty and enjoyable hours.

Click the logo below to get to the BBE Store website.

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Honest Jon’s. With their main and original shop in Portobello Road, W10 (where my Nan came from)  and a smaller unit in Coal Drops Yard, behind Kings Cross Station, N1 you would normally have a couple of options here.  Any of times I’ve played at Spiritland or gone to the Indie Labels Market I’ve popped in to the Coal Drop Yard shop and spent some money. Also, two of my favourite DJs and Broadcasters; one also a radio producer and the other an indie label owner earned their chops at Honest Jon’s so I urge you to click on the image below and take a butcher’s.

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 Love Vinyl.  Found in Pearson Street, E2 in between Hoxton and Haggerston Underground stations you only have to read the online reviews to know what a great shop it is.  With comments that consistently mention the friendliness of the staff and the knowledge about music it’s good to see that the online shop on Discogs matches the website shop for quality of stock.  Big up Zaf and Jake.  Again, click the image below.

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Sounds of the Universe (SOTU). A Soho institution really.  Situated in Broadwick Street, W1F , just around the corner from both Sister Ray and Reckless Records in Berwick Street for me SOTU is part of a digging day out.  Lunch and a coffee in Bruno’s, Wardour Street then ground floor in SOTU for the new and recent  releases then down to the basement to hunt for some treasure in the 2nd hand crates.  Also worth a butcher’s at the books on sale and worth noting that it is the home of Soul Jazz Records too.

Again, click on the image below to get to the website and online sales.

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Vinyl Van. We head out of that London now to a shop in Dorchester, the county town of deepest, darkest, most Romanesque Dorchester. Now I first encountered Vinyl Van when it was literally just that, a camper van full of vinyl and its owners Mark and Helen at a couple of record fairs in Bournemouth (the metropolis of Dorset).  I was DJing at one such fair, aptly titled Crate Digging, and managed to score a couple of LPs off my wants list.  A combination of 2nd hand vinyl and 180 gram quality re-issues is on offer and it’s well worth a schlepp on the train for a dig and a coffee in the physical shop.

For now though Mark is offering virtual digging and you can message him via the Vinyl Van Facebook page he will respond to your queries including sending out stock lists by genre.  You can reach the Facebook page by clicking on the image below.

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This is just a taster of the indie record shops we at The Return of the Illicit Groove want to see thriving during this unprecedented moment we are living through. So, as this Saturday the 18th of April was supposed to be Record Store Day, please don’t wait for the new date for RSD to scheduled before you buy records, go and check out the websites, Discogs, Bandcamp pages of any indie record shop you know of and, as with the indie labels, let’s keep these shops going.

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Keeping The Music Economy Alive: Innovative Online Offers From Indie Labels and Music Retailers

With gig and festival cancellations, venue closures and record shops shut up for the duration it clearly is a tough time for artists, indie labels and retailers across the Globe.

Over the years The Return of the Illicit Groove, The Illicit Grooves Radio Show and our sister company ReddSugarBlack Creative Content have enjoyed excellent relationships with artists, labels and record stores.

It is indeed indie labels and artist released tracks which make up something like 80% plus of the playlists on the New Grooves from the News From the Grooves playlists, The Illicit Grooves Radio Show  and much of the longlists in the annual #IllicitGroovesAwards.  

So, in the spirit of mutual respect, symbiotic gratitude and in the interests of  the oil of money continuing to lubricate the engine of the independent music economy here is a selection of labels and other outlets which are offering discounts and deals throughout the lockdown period of this Zombie Apocalypse.

ATA ATA Records offering 25% discount on its catalogue

BBE BBE Music offering 30% discount on its catalogue

easter sale Far Out Recordings offering 50% discount on selected items.

grooveland Grooveland Brazil with across the board low prices.

jazzed Jazzed music platform offering 99p for a three month subscription

OLindo  Olindo Records is offering 10% discounts until 11.59pm (UTC) 

On the Corner  On The Corner is offering a variety of discounts and subscription offers on its catalogue.

ramrock Ramrock Records donating all receipts for the Republic of Persevere EP to Street Work an Edingurgh/Leith homeless charity

rebel up RebelUp Records offering 20% discount on its catalogue

 

 

 

 

Speaking Sabar: The Griot Drum Families of Senegal. Listen Here via BBC Sounds

Anyone familiar with the playlists of The Illicit Grooves Radio Show and its tagline #Grooves4TheGlobalLeftfield  will also understand just why the Radio 4  documentary Speaking Sabar would have such an appeal to everyone involved with #IllicitGrooves.  Read on to find out more and to listen to it via the BBC Sounds app.

Some weeks ago radio producer, broadcaster, cultural historian and rather brilliant DJ Zakia Sewell travelled to Senegal with musicians Beatrice Dillon and Nkisi to meet griot drummers the Ndiye Rose family.

The purpose of this visit was primarily for the musicians to ‘interpret and decode the encoded messages of the drums.  What we also get is an insight into the deep and complex Senegalese rhythms which are apparent and present in music across the Globe.

Zakia’s production of this documentary for Falling Tree Productions was made as part of a wider musical exchange involving the aforementioned participants with the addition of Honest Jon’s Records and Berlin Atonal.

You can watch a short film of the Ndiye Rose Family in performance below.

 

The documentary, which aired on Monday 6th of April 2020, is available now for a year via the BBC Sounds website and app.  You can listen by clicking on the image below.

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Photo by Sandhya Ellis

 

Belgium & Blues Illicit Grooves Fridays

Southampton based Indie bar company Belgium & Blues and The Return of the Illicit Groove are pleased to announce their creative partnership for the Friday nights in the new Bournemouth branch of Belgium & Blues.

Initially due for an opening in March  Belgium & Blues, Bournemouth will open in Post Office Road once the all-clear is given from the unprecedented situation we all find ourselves in.  Once it does open then Friday nights will be given over to Jazz, Soul and Rare Groove sounds curated by Bob Hill of The Return of the Illicit Groove.

‘We are delighted to be forging this creative venture with Belgium & Blues. The weekly Illicit Grooves Radio Show that we present on Totally Wired Radio every Sunday focuses mainly on brand new music from across the Globe on Indie labels. This residency on the Fridays will be a fitting counterpoint to the radio show as we play vinyl only sets of quality Jazz, Soul and Rare Groove from across the decades and #AcrossTheTracks.’ Said Bob

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To stay in touch with when Belgium & Blues will open please follow this blog.  Furthermore The Return of the Illicit Groove will be releasing an hours long mix every Friday until the opening night to give a flavour of what to expect on the Belgium & Blues Illicit Grooves Fridays.  The first is available for you to listen to below, again, follow the #IllicitGrooves Soundcloud and Mixcloud page to receive the new mixes every Friday and the latest broadcasts of The Illicit Grooves Radio Show.

 

 

Ashley Henry Live at 6pm (GMT) from Ronnie Scott’s, London. Watch It here

Having sold out his shows at the legendary Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London’s Soho piano maestro  Ashley Henry will be playing a ‘Lockdown Session‘ in response to the club’s closure for the Zombie Apocalypse.

Henry, whose magnificent album Beautiful Vinyl Hunter was released in 2019 to much praise, played a fantastic gig at Another Sunday Afternoon at Dingwalls last December and is not to be missed.

A big favourite on the playlists of The Illicit Grooves Radio Show ever since his debut Ashley henry’s 5ive was released on Jazz Re:Freshed, he has won awards globally including nominations in the #IllicitGroovesAwards2019 and the JazzFM Awards 2020.

The show starts at 6pm (GMT) and you can watch here on the #IllicitGrooves blog.