As you know, periodically we here at Gazfunk like to take a little break every once in a while and hand over the blog to one of our friends to write a guest post for us. Over the years we’ve had many djs, bloggers and vinyl enthusiasts give us a little insight into the type of tunes that gets their juices flowing. This year it’s been a little thin on the ground and not as regular a feature as I would have liked, however starting this week I hope to bring you more frequent guest contributions.
So then, on to today’s pop-picker and we’ve got a very special guest digging into their crates for us – Mr Pete Isaac. As some of you are aware, Pete is one half of 45 Live http://www.45live.net/?feed (the other half being Scott Hendy aka Boca 45) which is a collective of some of the UK & Ireland’s top 45 collectors/djs as well as a blog, record label and events organiser.
Pete’s own musical journey started out in 1993 with the launch of Jelly Jazz www.jellyjazz.com – a seminal club night based in Plymouth. The club’s success enabled them to attract guest djs like Gilles Peterson, Mr Scruff, Norman Jay, Quantic, Andy Smith and a whole cast of some of the most respected djs in the U.K. As well as the guest djs, Jelly Jazz also regularly featured many live acts who went on to forge successful careers for themselves some of whom played their first ever U.K. shows at the club.
Well then, I think it’s about time I passed over the baton to Pete. Over to you mate…
The Perfect Circle ‘The Hands Of Time’ (Inner City)
Gaz kindly asked me to write a piece about a record in the collection recently, which I did, but I had replicated one that had already been done before, should have checked I guess! The focus of that story was about the journey a piece of music can take you on, how far that might be and of the connections and impact that a humble record can make. It was ‘Acid Jazz Vol. 1’ on BGP by the way.
So take 2, and I’ll keep to the sentiment of the other piece and focus on the way music unites. Way back in my early days as a promoter/DJ in ’94, I used to call up Soul Jazz Records in London every Tuesday morning to buy as many records as I could to drop the following night at Jelly Jazz in Plymouth. On the other end of the phone a young chap called Chris Goss who quickly became my go-to guy to ask for, he got me sussed quickly and was able to play breaks and grooves down the phone that I would invariably buy. He must have sold me thousands of pounds worth of records over those first few months! Naturally I would tell him stories of our midweek club night deep into the SW, and a DJ booking for Chris soon followed. I wasn’t that far out of art college at this time so was living in somewhat modest conditions, i.e. a tiny room in a shared house with loads of muso’s and hippies, and Chris got to stay on some cushions in a rough-as-you-like basement lounge. But anyway, we didn’t care about such conditions, youth was still on our side!
Typically, the club that night was rammed to the rafters with a bonkers mad-for-it collections of hippies, ravers, musicians and students. We enjoyed that rare commodity of an audience that just lapped up everything and anything you threw at them. This was obviously years before the internet so obscure American funk etc etc etc was just not so easily accessible, so those calls to Soul Jazz each week were invaluable. But the best way to discover music was of course to hear it in a club, so when Chris and a few others like Bunny from Acid Jazz came down with bags of records we’d never seen, Wednesday nights were always punctuated with mindblowing moments. One of the comments we most heard from punters at the time was something along the lines of “damn, what is this music? Where the hell do you get it?”, I pretty much said the same myself to those early guest DJs we had! Chris dropped a killer set that night with hip hop, jazz, jazz-rock etc, but when he dropped ‘The Hands Of Time’, it was one of THOSE moments. Both myself and fellow Jelly resident DJ Griff flew up to the decks to find out what it was before rejoining the packed dancefloor to literally go nuts. What a monster of a track, fusing the best of jazz, funk and disco into a relentless groove punctuated with stuttering breaks and spaced out instrumentation, a phenomenal track from a killer LP. (Sometimes, don’t you wish you could hear something for the first time again?) Of course I had to obtain the record and eventually procured an original copy, signed by the main man George Semper too for added niceness!
Chris pretty much cemented himself as a regular with that drop and set and fast became our favourite guest DJ and played almost every month for years and years, as well as becoming great family friends. Any old school Jelly Jazz fans will well know the regular ‘Goose Fever’ sessions, where Chris would play all night for a few weeks if I was away from town. These days he has of course gone on to run the world’s biggest D&B label, Hospital Records, but for me, he’ll always be the guy that dropped ‘The Hands of Time’! That and our Tuesday morning record purchasing created a lot more than the sum of their parts, a connection through music that became a fantastic friendship and shared passion for records, especially for things like The Perfect Circle, Brian Auger and the like, we both appreciate a damn good red wine too!
I love the way any record will have it’s immediate story, but you can always consider it’s influence further and be surprised at what direction it ultimately leads you in. Chris and I get to DJ together on the odd rare occasion these days, so next time, through these hands of time, I’ll urge him to drop it again, it will be a perfect circle.