If I’m known for anything it will probably be as a Latin Percussionist, Band Leader, Recording Artist and a DJ of different permutations and era’s of Jazz, Latin, Funk and Soul, so no one was more surprised than I when Wayne Hemingway MBE contacted me and offered me a job as a curator at the inaugural and enormous ‘Vintage’ festival at Goodwood on the Sussex Downs in 2010.
I was honoured and flattered that Wayne said that he’d been told that I know a lot about many styles of music. Whether that’s correct or not, I’ve been a music writer, reviewer and CD compiler for years and have even written a music history book (“From Jazz Funk And Fusion To Acid Jazz”). I have a very varied 30,000 piece record collection which started in earnest in the early 1970’s. I am just one of these boring people that just retains all kinds of musical facts and figures that make people glaze-over when I talk to them, so it’s great to put that knowledge to some use at last. So here I am now at ‘Vintage’: the curator of 1940’s music and entertainment in the 2,000 capacity ‘Torch Ballroom’.
On my journey as a musician over the last 30 years I’ve met many artists and musicians, and it recently occurred to me that I know virtually everybody on this compilation. It is a very small world indeed. I’m very excited that BBE have given me the opportunity of doing this album as it’s something I’ve wanted to do for years. There are so many artists around making amazing period-influenced music that I thought it would be great to see a compilation mixing it up. This would have been the first time it’d been done but I got pipped to the post by the very friendly US Vintage connoisseur, promoter and musician, David Gasten (his CD ‘This Is Vintage Now’ introduced us to the delights of Caro Emerald infact), but nevertheless, I have a different take on it. With a backlash against bleak, sterile chart music, it excites me to see the huge worldwide public interest in artists such as Amy Winehouse, Imelda May, Kitty Daisy and Lewis, James Hunter, Sharon Jones, Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed, Caro Emerald and (don’t shoot me) even Paloma Faith in places. She was very, very ingrained in that whole underground vintage burlesque world. No one can deny that. Through their influence and exposure it means that there’s a chance that thousands of other similar dedicated artists may get noticed too.
As all the bands on here are current, you may be surprised to see that I’ve included Crazy Cavan and the Rhythm Rockers ‘Teddy Boy Rock And Roll’. They’ve recently celebrated 40 years together and I wanted to acknowledge that achievement. They’re still out there doing it too, and that makes them current.
Personally, I’m not keen on the term ‘retro’. To me that say’s “A thing of the past”. Whether you’re keen on the term ‘Vintage’ or not (and some of the artists here are not comfortable with that term), a definition in the Collins Dictionary is “Representative of the best and most typical”. There you have it. Of all the amazing artists on here, I have been very fortunate that BBE have somehow managed to license a track by virtually every single major artist and group making waves in that world today too. You’re in for a treat.