02 December 2009

Voices of Freedom - 18th-23rd January

Voices of Freedom @ Rich Mix
18th-23rd January 2010
35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA

To mark Martin Luther King Day on Monday 18th January and the first anniversary of Barack Obama's inauguration on Tuesday 20th January, East London cultural arts centre Rich Mix is to present a week of special events encompassing theatre, film, spoken word and live music, which will celebrate and question the notions of freedom at the start of the year of the next General Election.

The programme includes award-winning saxophonist Denys Baptiste's 'Let Freedom Ring!'. The show promises a world class line-up of jazz musicians, brand new visuals from VJ collective Yeast reflecting on Obama's first year, and extracts from the epic poem 'Mental Fight', whose author, Ben Okri, will be "In Conversation", looking at his career and inspirations, including readings from his latest work 'Tales of Freedom'.

Film and theatre promise to examine the lives of controversial and influential Black Nationalist leaders on both sides of the Atlantic, with a screening of Spike Lee's 'Malcolm X' and a performance of Eclipse Theatre's one-man show, 'Michael X'.

Spoken word performances will complete the week, with Elizabeth Mansfield sharing stories of refugees and exiles from all over the word in 'The Uninvited' and an All-Star Poetry Olympics Superjam celebrating freedom, with a line-up of poets and writers led by "jazz poetry pioneer" Michael Horovitz.

Full details and press release below.

Mon 18 Jan / 7pm / Screen 3 / £5
1993/USA/201mins/cert 15
Dir: Spike Lee
Starring: Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Albert Hall

"Lee's acclaimed biopic of the controversial and influential black activist Malcolm X takes us from his inauspicious beginnings and imprisonment, through to his conversion to the Nation of Islam and his later rejection of their divisive teachings. Born Malcolm Little, he became a gangster, and while in jail discovered the Nation of Islam writings of Elijah Muhammad. He preaches the teachings when let out of jail, but later on goes on a pilgrimage to the city of Mecca, there he converts to the original Islamic religion and becomes a Sunni Muslim. He changes his name to El-Hajj Malik Al-Shabazz and stops his anti-white teachings, as he realises the error of his mistakes. He is later on assassinated, and dies a Muslim Martyr."

In Conversation with Ben Okri
Tue 19 January / 7.30pm / Screen 2 / £5

"As a preview to the performance of Let Freedom Ring! which features his poetry, Ben Okri will join us In Conversation to talk about his life, inspirations and work to date. Okri has published 10 novels, including The Famished Road, as well as collections of poetry, short stories and essays. His work has been translated into more than 20 languages. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has been awarded the OBE as well as numerous international prizes, including the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Africa, the Aga Khan Prize for Fiction and the Chianti Rufino-Antico Fattore. His latest book, Tales of Freedom was published in April 2009."

Wed 20 Jan / 7.30pm / Venue 1 / £5

"The Uninvited is a performance tour de force telling the extraordinary stories of refugees and exiles, from all over the world, past and present. Poems, writings and testimonies flow into songs – Spanish, Filipino, Farsi, Bosnian – sung both in original language and in English translation. Premiered in the USA, in the wake of 9/11, The Uninvited celebrates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights through the words and music, the humour and courage, of those forced to flee their homes, and make a new life in foreign lands. Performed by Elizabeth Mansfield, Olivier Award nominee for 'Best Actress in a Musical'."

Fri 22 Jan / 7.30pm / Bar / £12/ £10 concs

"Michael Horovitz presents a galaxy of scintillating superbards: Francesca Beard, Charlie Dark, Salena Godden, Daljit Nagra, Molly Parkin, Tim Wells, with Pete Lemer's Piano, Annie Whitehead's trombone, vocals and spoken-word settings, the William Blake Klezmatrix Band, plus special guests. Michael Horovitz is best known for his appearance at the International Poetry Incarnation at the Royal Albert Hall on June 11 1965, alongside Allen Ginsberg and Alexander Trocchi. And then came the Poetry Olympics which have taken Horovitz all over the world, his aim being 'to join hands, hearts and heads, to communicate and exchange at the grass roots.' Less appreciative voices of the establishment claim that Horovitz's selections and modes of presentation are 'subversive'. Horovitz hopes that this charge is justified: 'Subversion usually means change', he says, 'and poetry should change people'."

Eclipse Theatre presents MICHAEL X
By Vanessa Walters
Fri 22 Jan / 7.30pm / Venue 1 / £12 / £10 concs
Directed by Dawn Walton. Design by Simon Kenny. Cast: Clint Dyer

"Who was Michael X? Black Power Activist and Political Icon? Liar Pimp, Murderer? A Trini 'bwoy' rolls off a boat into 1950s London. Ten years later he's the most famous black man in Britain, but who was Michael X? The 'authentic voice of black bitterness' [Observer 1965] or the ex Rachman henchman for whom politics was just another hustle? Set at a political rally, Vanessa Walters' new play probes at the heart of politics in 1960s Britain. Michael X tells the tale of one man's experience set against the backdrop of social change. This compelling monologue will be performed by stage and screen star Clint Dyer. Eclipse theatre is a national touring company whose recent work includes The Hounding of David Oluwale (Best Director nomination: TMA awards 2009) and Angel House by Roy Williams."

Music: Denys Baptiste - LET FREEDOM RING!
Sat 23 Jan / 8pm / Bar / £15 / £12

"Stirring contemporary jazz with gospel, blues and Afro-Cuban music from Mercury/MOBO award winning saxophonist Denys Baptiste, inspired by the spirit and rhythms of Dr Martin Luther King's momentous 'I Have A Dream' speech on its 40th anniversary, and featuring an explosive 11-piece international line-up including Abram Wilson, Andrew McCormack and Gary Crosby (Jazz Jamaica). Jazz has always been closely connected with the struggle for freedom and justice, and the suite's four parts – 'I Have A Dream', 'With This Faith', 'Let Freedom Ring!', and 'Free At Last' – pay tribute to those who have fought to overcome oppression, expressing ideals which are as relevant today as they were 40-odd, and even 200 years ago. Collaborating with Booker Prize winning author Ben Okri, Baptiste has synchronised extracts of Okri's epic poem Mental Fight into this exhilarating mix of music."

Video art: YEAST

"VJs of acclaimed film-makers, Yeast join the band to present a creative live mix of footage of the musicians' performance on stage, the text of Ben Okri's poem, and powerful images of the struggle for freedom, equality and justice by oppressed peoples throughout the international community. An incredibly moving experience, the music and visuals act as powerful reminders of why the quest for freedom and civil rights must continue."

16 November 2009

Jazz On The Road feat. Snowboy live - Fri 20 Nov

Jazz On The Road featuring Snowboy live. Friday 20th November, 2009.Beat generation-inspired club night Jazz On The Road relaunches this Friday 20th November with a Latin Jazz special at Dalston's latest popular warehouse venue, the new Empowering Church.

There's an amazing line-up featuring Snowboy & The Latin Section live plus JazzCotech dancers Kola and Maki showing off their moves and guest DJ Perry Louis (Shiftless Shuffle, Jazz Cafe, etc.) who DJ'd for me at Right On! back in 2005.

If you like your Latin jazz and hard bop, then this is one not to be missed.

Jazz On The Road @ The Empowering Church
Friday 20th November 2009
1a Westgate Street, London, E8 3RL
Times: 10pm - 5am
Admission: £12 (£10 advance)

09 November 2009

London Dossier feature by The Londonist

The Londonist have just published an interview they did with me about The London Dossier site. Check it out here:


I notice The London Dossier was also mentioned by Stitch & Bitch who were interviewed last month (thanks for that!):


04 November 2009

Divas of Motown - 2 for 1 special ticket offer

I'm pleased to be able to offer readers a very special deal for the Divas Of Motown show coming up at The HMV Hammersmith Apollo on Friday 13th November (see my earlier post for full details):

TWO tickets for the price of ONE!

If you follow the link below, you can purchase two standing or two seated tickets for the price of one. This makes the concert absolutely fantastic value and you'd be mad to miss out.

To take advantage of this offer, just click here

30 October 2009

Marva Whitney live - Sat 14 November

Seems a real weekend for legendary female soul singers coming up in a fortnight, as James Brown's original funky diva Marva Whitney is to appear live at the 100 Club on Saturday 14th November as part of the Messin' Around club night. She will be backed by top Japanese funk band, Osaka Monaurail.

I saw Marva with the same band live at The Jazz Cafe in Camden a couple of years back and can tell you she was fantastic. Well worth catching - especially at this great, historic venue (far more atmospheric than The Jazz Cafe).

DJs on the night are Perry Louis, Adrian Gibson (Freestyle Records) and special guest DJ Pari from the USA.

As ever, there will also be a live performance by The JazzCotech Dancers.

Discounted entry is available via the Jazzcotech Dancers' guestlist, making admission £12 before 11pm and £6 thereafter. Text / contact Christiane on 07903 932 463 to get on the list.

Saturday 14th November
Messin' Around @ The 100 Club
100 Oxford Street, London, W1. (020) 7636 0933
7.30pm - 3am

27 October 2009

Ultimate Motown sessions: 9th-12th Nov

Ultimate Motown Sessions, 2009Following the announcement of the Divas of Motown concert coming up at the HMV Hammersmith Apollo on the 13th November, I have since found out that there will also be a string of intimate dates in the lead-up to the big event.

Jammin' with Jack at the Borderline:

9th November - A Funk Brothers night featuring Jack Ashford and special guests including including Nikki Lamborn & Margo Buchanan jamming the night away in a soul/funk spectacular.

The Borderline, Orange Yard, off Manette Street, London, W1D 4JL
Doors: 7pm. Tickets: £18.50

Motown Sessions at the Jazz Cafe:

10th November - The Funk Brothers featuring special guests Sherrie Payne and Lynda Laurence, formerly of The Supremes

11th November - The Funk Brothers featuring special guests Mable John, Chris Clark and Brenda Holloway

12th November - Thelma Houston and guests

The Jazz Cafe, 5 Parkway, Camden Town, London, NW1 7PG
Doors: 7pm. Tickets: £25 (10th & 11th Nov) / £20 (12th Nov)

Tickets for all of these shows are available from Ticketmaster. Book online at www.ticketmaster.co.uk or by phone on 0844 277 0700.

You can find out more about the artists from the following press release:

"One of the greatest female R&B singers of all time, Thelma Houston will give an intimate solo performance at the Jazz Cafe. The first Motown artist to win a Grammy, Houston received the award for best R&B performance by a female artist. On the eve of the release of a remix of her number 1 hit club anthem 'Don't Leave Me This Way', Houston is not only a true Motown legend but also an icon to the gay community as a disco diva. She recently headlined at Gay Pride New York and is a firm favourite on the club circuit as well as with connoisseurs of Motown's rosta.

"Motown's first recorded female artist Mable John is one of gospel music's luminaries. Discovered and groomed for stardom by Berry himself, she sang alongside Billie Holiday before eventually moving to Stax where her soul singer status was solidified by a career with the Raelettes - Ray Charles's backing singers. A fascinating character, Mable became Dr. Mable John when she earned her Ph.D in counselling.

"At first glance, young 17-year-old Chris Clark - a tall blue-eyed California import - seemed an unlikely candidate for membership in Detroit's closely-knit Motown family. Thanks to Gordy's renowned genius at spotting and developing raw talent, she went on to become not only the first White album artist on the label, but also an integral part of his creative team.

"Multi-award-winning R&B pioneer Brenda Holloway was one of few Motown artists to write her own songs which were tailored to her inimitable voice - gritty, powerful and sassy. Holloway toured the US with the Beatles in their heyday and has become one of the label's most distinguished female artists.

"Jack Ashford's legendary performances on the tambourine and vibes enhanced the majority of the Classic Motown hits from the 1960's through the early 1970's. As a member of the Funk Brothers Band, he played on more number one hits than the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley and the Beatles combined. Also known as 'The Fabulous Tambourine Man' he is the remaining original member of the Funk Brothers Band.

"The Supremes are Motown's most successful female group. Their reign over the music charts was predominant throughout the 60s and 70s and earned them global accolades. The Supremes had eight individual members during this time and each of the eight ladies contributed to the group's recording and performing success. Sherrie Payne & Lynda Laurence are two former members of the Motown signed and recorded Supremes. Freddi Poole, who completes the trio, has toured extensively with the legendary Motown songstress Gladys Knight."

14 October 2009

Divas of Motown revue - Friday 13th November

Divas of Motown revue posterAn unbelievable line-up of 60s/70s soul talent comes together on Friday 13th November for a one-off show at The HMV Hammersmith Apollo.

Looking like a kind of dream Motortown Revue, the show features some of Motown's greatest female singers:

Brenda Holloway ("Every Little Bit Hurts", "When I'm Gone")
Mable John ("(I Guess There's) No Love")
Chris Clark ("Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)", "Love's Gone Bad")
Thelma Houston ("Jumpin' Jack Flash", "Don't Leave Me This Way")
Scherrie Payne & Lynda Laurence (members of The Supremes in the 70s)

All backed by the Funk Brothers band no less!

I'm not quite sure why Mable John is billed as having never played the UK before, when I saw her live at The Barbican a few years back as part of a Stax revue (and sadly wasn't too impressed by her that night I have to say), but I wouldn't miss this show if it were just Brenda Holloway or The Funk Brothers alone, so take my advice and grab yourself a ticket while they're still available!

www.hammersmithapollo.net / 08448 44 47 48

13 October 2009

A Swingin' Halloween All-Nighter

Swing Mon Amour flyerPlenty happening this Halloween, but if you're a fan of swing or rhythm & blues, then the place to be is Swing Mon Amour @ Charlotte St. Blues - a lovely, spacious, new venue with wooden floors.

There'll be hot swing from Top Shelf Jazz and I'll be on the decks alongside Tim's Jumpin' Jive (Hellzapoppin') to keep your bones shakin' till 4am to the sounds of r&b, jump blues, rock 'n' roll, swing and hot gypsy jazz from the 1920s-1950s.

So whether you're a Lindy Hopper, jiver, or just a lover of good old vintage music, come along and raise hell on the dancefloor!

Swing Mon Amour - All Night
@ Charlotte Street Blues, 74 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 4QH
Saturday 31st October. 11.30pm - 4am
£15 (£10 in advance)

I'll also be DJing at the weekly Swing Mon Amour Tuesday session on 20th October and admission is free. So if you fancy a mid-week dance or just want to check out the venue or get a taste for the sort of music I'll be playing on Halloween, why not pop by?

For full details of both nights, visit: www.johnjohnrecords.com/swingmonamour/

09 October 2009

Gene Drayton Unit live - Sat 10 Oct - FREE

Sorry for the short notice, but I just had to let you know that The Gene Drayton Unit (GDU) are playing a free gig at the lovely King's Head pub in Islington this Saturday 10th October.

Long-time London Dossier readers will know that I'm a big fan of this 60s-style Hammond combo and there's not much more I can say about them except: if you haven't seen them before, then do it now, as it won't even cost you a penny!

The King's Head is located at 115 Upper Street, N1 1QN (nearest tube: Angel). The music runs from 8pm until late but it may be worth getting down earlier if you want to try and get a table.

If you can't make it this weekend though, fear not, as they will also be playing at new live music based club night A Go-Go @ Peter Parkers Rock 'n' Roll Club on Thursday 12th November.

You can find out more about the band, view details of their upcoming gigs and listen to some of their music on their MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/genedraytonunit

09 September 2009

Octave has closed down

More bad news I'm afraid. I was in Covent Garden this week and found that Octave has closed down. That's one less decent central London bar and one less venue where you can go to hear live jazz.

According to their website though, they do plan to reopen elsewhere at some point:

"Octave Jazz Bar & Restaurant in Covent Garden opened its doors for the final time on Saturday 11th July 2009. However this isn't the last you heard of Octave - The management are currently looking for larger premises and hope to re-open the in the very near future."

Octave's General Manager, Brendan Lucey, is quoted as saying:

"We would like to thank our loyal customers and musicians who have been supporting our establishment for the past five years. Our 3-tiered approach of live jazz, cocktails and fine food proved very popular and we are looking to relocate to larger premises."


07 September 2009

The Black Gardenia to close

Sadly, I've found out that the wonderful Black Gardenia club in Soho will be closing in mid-November to make way for the new Cross Rail line. So get down there while you still can! Though quietier than weekends, Tuesdays are particularly recommended as there is live blues and jazz from the delightful Mika Doo (the closest you'll get to Billie Holiday in London?). Tuesday is also the only night of the week when admission is free (there is a cover charge after 9pm on all other nights).

The Black Gardenia, 93 Dean Street, London, W1D 3SZ

Jukebox Jam relaunches in West End - Fri 11 Sept

Jukebox Jam posterAfter two years in the East End (at The George Tavern), Jukebox Jam is moving to a great, new, central London venue on Friday 11th September. With its juke joint feel, Peter Parkers Rock 'n' Roll Club (also home to The Vout-O-Roonie) could have been tailor-made for this hot rhythm & blues hop.

Resident DJs Liam Large and Michael Jemmeson will be joined by special guest Jazzman Gerald for a night of 50s and 60s jump blues, r&b, ska and a little boogaloo.

There will also be live performances from Tom Colborn and an excellent garage / r&b outfit called The Dirty Robbers (as you can tell from the name, they are heavily influenced by The Sonics, though play some great blues too) with a handsome young vocalist whose scream is sure to drive you wild.

Jukebox Jam are also celebrating their 2nd anniversary by launching a reissue label, in association with Jazzman Records, promising to feature "nothing but raw 50s / early 60s R&B". The first two 45rpm releases will be available to buy on the night for £5 and will hit record shops shortly after, retailing at £8. These releases are:

JBJ-1001 - Rose Mitchell – "Baby Please Don't Go" b/w Jo Ann Henderson - "Baby Please Don't Go"

JBJ-1002 - Joe Tex – "Pneumonia" b/w "Pneumonia" (alternate version)

And as if that wasn't enough, there will be free mix CDs given away on the night too!

With the possible exception of Musical Fever (which happens to be on the following night - Saturday 12th September) this looks like being the best night out this month, so make sure you don't miss it!

Jukebox Jam @ Peter Parkers Rock & Roll Club
4 Denmark Street, London, WC2H 8LP
Friday 11th September. 9pm - 3am
£4 before 10pm / £6 after

28 August 2009

Steve Fishwick album launch - Thu 3rd Sept

Album coverExcellent, young hard bop outfit The Osian Roberts/Steve Fishwick Quintet, will be launching their new album on Thursday 3rd September downstairs @ The Spice Of Life in Soho. Titled "... WITH CEDAR WALTON!", this latest album was recorded in New York with legendary pianist Walton (who played on such seminal albums as Art Blakey's "Free For All" and John Coltrane's "Giant Steps") and is released on the independent Hard Bop record label. Unfortunately though, Cedar Walton himself will not be playing on the night.

The Spice Of Life, 6 Moor Street, London, W1D 5NA
Admission: £8 (£6 concessions)
Doors: 8:30pm

For more information on the venue and event visit: www.spicejazz.co.uk

You can find out more about the album and record label from: www.hardboprecords.com

And for more information on award-winning trumpeter Steve Fishwick, check out: www.stevefishwickjazz.com

The Portobello Film Festival - 3rd-20th September

Poster for The 14th Portobello Film FestivalThe 14th Annual Portobello Film Festival starts on 3rd September and runs until the 20th. There will be over 700 short and feature films shown and best of all the screenings are free. On top of this, there will also be art on display by some of London's finest up-and-coming "street" artists.

The festival has a number of different themes including:

Caribbean Film (a two day showcase of contemporary films produced by Caribbean filmmakers)

European Films (a 'Best Of' selection from France, Spain, Germany and around Europe)

London Film-Makers (a selection of contemporary London film making)

Some particularly interesting-sounding highlights include:

The Beat Goes On
Fifty Years of Counter-Culture from The Beat Generation to A New Waste Land featuring live poetry and music plus rare films of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and UK Beat poets and musicians.
Friday 4th September from 8pm
@ The Tabernacle, Powis Square, W11 2AY

Duke Vin And The Birth Of Ska (Gus Berger)
Sunday 6th September. 5.35pm
@ Westbourne Studios, 242 Acklam Road, W10 5JJ

The Power Of The Vagina (Jimmel Daniel)
Wednesday 16th September between 7pm and 11pm
@ The Tabernacle, Powis Square, W11 2AY

The Faces of the Slave Trade (Neigeme Glasgow-Maeda)
Wednesday 16th September between 7pm and 11pm
@ The Tabernacle, Powis Square, W11 2AY

For full listings and details visit: www.portobellofilmfestival.com

Carnival After-Party - Sunday 30th August

Flyer for Carnival After-Party @ Ginglik
If you're looking for a carnival after-party this Sunday, there's only one place to be: Ginglik in Shepherd's Bush.

I'll be DJing there myself, alongside Natty Bo (Gaz's Rockin' Blues / Ska Cubano / Top Cats) and Count Sizzle, plus live music from The Severed Limb.

Expect to hear a real mix-up of roots music from the 1950s-1970s; from sexy calypso, cumbia and mento to Jamaican ska, rocksteady and reggae, all the way to dirty funk, jazz and rhythm 'n' blues.

Date: Sunday 30th August 2009
Address: Ginglik, 1 Shepherd's Bush Green, London, W12 8PH
Times: 7pm - 2am
Admission: £6 before 10pm then £8
Venue website: www.ginglik.co.uk

27 August 2009

Carnival time!

Girl dancing at Notting Hill Carnival 2008Well, the Bank Holiday weekend is nearly upon us, which means only one thing: Carnival! Nothing beats dancing to great music out on the streets in the sunshine (fingers crossed!) in the company of thousands of other like-minded revellers.

The Notting Hill Carnival means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but to me it's mostly about the sound systems. Fortunately, despite the parade being given earlier start and finish times this year, the static sound sytems will be playing from noon till 7pm on both Sunday and Monday, just like last year (though I still feel that's way too early to have to stop the music and dancing).

The two must-visit sounds are The Gladdy Wax Road Show, which plays 60s ska through to 70s reggae, and Gaz's Rockin' Blues, which plays mento, calypso, ska, rocksteady, early reggae, soul and rhythm & blues. Gaz's sound system is always the biggest and most exciting-looking too (in fact he's deservedly won the "best-dressed sound" prize a number of times over the years) and each year he picks a different theme for it.

If roots reggae is more your thing though, you probably want to check out Channel One, Aba Shanti-I and Jah Observer.

The other sound system I enjoy is The Latin Rave Street Jam, which is the only sound playing pure Latin and Salsa on both Sunday and Monday. Fortunately, this is situated right next to Gladdy Wax, so it's easy to flit between the two (and there are public toilets nearby too - a fact well worth bearing in mind).

The Gladdy Wax Road Show is located adjacent to 304/306 Portobello Road, near the corner of Golbourne Road.

Gaz's Rockin' Blues is located outside 103 Talbot Road, near the corner of Ledbury Road.

The Latin Rave Street Jam is located outside 318 Portobello Road, right by the corner of Golbourne Road.

If coming by tube, Westbourne Park (assuming it's open) is the best station to use to get to these sound systems. Be aware that there can be tube station closures throughout the weekend though, due to overcrowding.

With the huge crowds making it difficult to move around, it can be hard to find particular floats or bands amongst the parade, but if like me you're also a fan of samba, be sure to look out for The London School Of Samba who will be celebrating 25 years at the Notting Hill Carnival this year, with the theme of their parade being "A History Of Samba". There's something very special about the sound of a Brazilian bateria parading down the street (not to mention all that sexy dancing). To find out more, visit: www.londonschoolofsamba.co.uk/public/default.asp

And finally of course, I mustn't forget the steel pan bands, which are, after all, fundamental to the roots of carnival. You will find around a dozen different pan bands playing along the parade. But with all the mobile sound systems playing on the same route, it can be difficult to find and listen to the steel bands. So, if you're a real fan of steel pan and calypso, make sure you head down to The National Panorama Championship in Hyde Park tomorrow (29th August). This takes place near Speakers Corner from noon until 9pm (the main competition starts at 4pm) and is the offical opening of the Carnival weekend. Here, you will get to hear all the different bands playing at their best, as they vie to be crowned champion.

For more on the Notting Hill Carnival, including maps and travel information, visit:

Prince Buster gig cancelled

Bad news I'm afraid; the Prince Buster gig at the Camden Centre (due to take place on the 5th September) has been cancelled. I have been given no official explanation for this, but have heard through the grapevine that it is due to medical problems. I can only hope that Prince Buster and his band are ok and that any illness is not serious.

21 August 2009

Update on Mark Lamarr's BBC Radio shows

I've received some excellent news from Mark Lamarr. Following a meeting with BBC Radio 2 management last week, he is happy to report that his Shake, Rattle and Roll show has been saved from the axe and will be back on the air.

Unfortunately however, there's no sign of his Reggae or Alternative 60s shows returning. Personally, I think this is a great loss and I would still urge readers to write in to The BBC Trust complaining about their disappearance and asking that these genres of music continue to get airplay:


But fans of good ol' rock 'n' roll at least have some great music to look forward to over the next couple of years. Here's the full message from Mark himself:

After a particularly frustrating silence it's with great pleasure that I can now give a huge thank you to those people who cared enough to somehow be involved in any of the various campaigns and forums designed to save Shake Rattle And Roll.

I finally got my first chance of a proper sit down with my boss and the news is very good. The show will return for a shortish run of 8 shows later in the year but he has assured me that from next year it will be back to 26 shows a year, which is actually a few more than it has been for 3 years or so and is a very good sign for all non mainstream music broadcasting. Incidentally, I was told that the average listenership for the various specialist shows approaches a million listeners, so there is definitely a massive audience out there for all things non-chart.

I'm truly thankful for the pressure a few people have exerted and I hope I manage to repay you all with some worthy shows over the coming years.

Sincerely, Mark Lamarr

London Dossier club listings updated

Just finished an update of the club listings for August/September/October. So, if you haven't already seen the new calendar functionality, now's the time to check it out! If you have any problems with the page or have any feedback, please leave a comment or drop me an email: info@londondossier.com

Club listings and updates should also be sent to this address.

You may notice that the page's URL has changed too, so if you have it bookmarked, please be sure to update your links. The new address is: http://www.londondossier.info/clubs.php

07 August 2009

Prince Buster live in Camden - Sat 5 September

The King Of Ska, Prince Buster, is to play a rare, one-off, central London gig on Saturday 5th September.

Having seen him in concert twice over the last few years, I can highly recommend catching him live. So if you haven't seen him before, don't miss out! His voice is still excellent and he performs many of his greatest tunes, not just the big hits.

The concert takes place at The Camden Centre, near King's Cross / St. Pancras stations. Tickets are unfortunately a little expensive at £38.50 (plus transaction fee), but it's not every day you get to see a true ska legend like Buster in London. I'd also suggest buying tickets ASAP as the gig is likely to sell out.

Doors: 8pm
Venue: The Camden Centre, Bidborough Street, WC1H 9BT
(Evening entrance is on Euston Road, WC1H 9JE)

To buy tickets visit: www.seetickets.com/agmp/

To find out more about the venue (including travel information) visit: www.camden.gov.uk/ccm/navigation/leisure/events/camden-centre/

06 August 2009

Help save Mark Lamarr's BBC music shows

Photo of Mark LamarrYou may have already heard this sad news, but I feel it's important to help spread the word as widely as possible. Due to management changes at BBC Radio 2, Mark Lamarr's excellent Reggae, Alternative 60s and Shake, Rattle 'n' Roll music shows have unexpectedly been axed. Lamarr's shows are loved almost universally by vintage music fans and these were amongst the very few shows on mainstream radio playing this sort of quality music.

So acclaimed were his shows in fact, that for Shake, Rattle 'n' Roll he won the Bronze award for Best Music Broadcaster in 2003 and 2002, and the Music Broadcast Award and the Special Interest Music Award at the 1999 Sony Radio Awards. His Beginners Guide to Reggae show also won a Sony Award.

The only show of his that is currently still on air is the equally fantastic God's Own Jukebox. However, the future of that show is by no means certain either.

It is essential that anyone who cares about having a diverse range of music on British radio stands up now and lets their voice be heard.

If you're not familiar with Mark Lamarr and his shows, check out his page on the BBC website:


A group of rock 'n' roll fans have got a well-organised campaign underway aimed specifically at saving Lamarr's Shake, Rattle 'n' Roll show. You can find out more here:


They are collecting email addresses to forward on to the head of BBC Radio. I would urge everyone to email them right away on this address to show your support:


You don't have to write a message, but I feel that it's important to let them and the BBC know just how much all three of Lamarr's shows are loved and how important it is to have all of this music represented on air.

You can also make a complaint yourself, directly to The BBC Trust:


Remember, this is not about the cult of the personality or keeping someone in a job, but about keeping quality music on British radio, presented by someone who's passion for collecting and sharing obscure vintage music is second to none.

Wheelie Bag Wednesdays come to an end

DJ Wheelie BagOne of London's best-loved sessions has come to an end. After 8 years at The Pillars Of Hercules, the legendary DJ Wheelie Bag has been told by the venue that his services are no longer required. This comes as quite a surprise as Wheelie Bag's weekly Wednesday evenings have always been popular and well-attended. He has gained a lot of press over the last few years too and in my opinion has helped popularise this otherwise uninteresting Soho boozer.

Well, all good things come to an end as they say, but let's hope that this is a new beginning and that Deejay Wheelie Bag finds a new home where his talents are better appreciated.

You can find out more about the great man from his website: www.djwheeliebag.co.uk

25 June 2009

The Heptones live @ The Hootananny - Sun 19 July

The legendary Heptones (minus Earl Morgan) are to perform live at The Hootananny in Brixton on Sunday 19 July.

Led by Leroy Sibbles, The Heptones are one of the greatest vocal groups in the history of Jamaican music. Following a stint at Caltone, this soulful trio came to prominence in the late 1960s recording immortal rocksteady classics for Studio One. For this London date, the group are backed by Basque Dub Foundation (BDF).

When The Heptones played The Hootananny last year, the gig understandably sold out, so make sure you get your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.

The Heptones @ The Hootananny
95 Effra Road, Brixton, SW2 1DF. (020) 7737 7273
Tickets: £12 in advance
Doors: 8pm
Info and tickets: www.hootanannybrixton.co.uk

You can find out more about Basque Dub Foundation and listen to some of their music on MySpace: www.myspace.com/bdfbasquedubfoundation

The Dualers live @ The O2 - Thu 16 July

South London's ska dynamic duo are to headline their own show at The O2 on Thursday 16th July. The Dualers are one of the most authentic 60s style ska vocal groups around at the moment and have supported legends like Prince Buster in concert. They have a loyal following of their own, thanks not only to their vocal harmonies, but their youthful good looks, great stage presence and fantastic dance moves.

DJ support on the night comes courtesy of DJ Cello from Coast To Coast who has an enviable collection of rare ska 45s.

For more info and to book tickets, visit: www.thedualers.com

Swingin' at The Jazz Joint with JP - Tue 30 June

I've been invited to DJ alongside JazzMonkey at The Jazz Joint @ The Last Days Of Decadence this coming Tuesday, 30th June.

Held in the basement of this elegant club, The Jazz Joint is a night of swinging jazz; from Charleston and big band swing through to 60s organ grooves, flighty bop and honking R&B stompers. On top of this, there is also live jazz upstairs in the lounge bar.

Beginners and intermediate level Lindyhop classes are held at the beginning of the evening, between 7pm and 9.15pm, so you can learn some steps to try out later in the night. The club session itself runs from 9.15pm til just before midnight.

The Jazz Joint @ The Last Days Of Decadence
145 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JE
7pm - midnight
£5 for lesson or club session / £8 for both lesson and club session

For more info check out: www.tomkerwin.com/thejazzjoint
To find out more about the venue visit: www.thelastdaysofdecadence.co.uk

15 June 2009

Mose Allison @ Pizza Express this week

The great Mississippi blues-jazz composer/singer/pianist Mose Allison returns tonight to Soho for his week-long annual residency at The Pizza Express Jazz Club. Once hailed as a "Jazz Sage", Mose Allison is acclaimed for his witty and intelligent lyrics, authentic blues voice, laid-back stage manner and fast-fingered piano playing. He has been recording and performing since the late 1950s and still shows no sign of slowing down. Although his voice is not as strong as it once was, he is still an excellent singer and if anything his piano playing is better than ever. Whether you are familiar with his music or not, if you are a jazz or blues fan, make sure you do not miss him.

Mose Allison live @ The Pizza Express Jazz Club
10 Dean Street, Soho, London, W1D 3RW
Monday 15th June - Sunday 21st June
Doors: 7:00pm
Tickets: £22.00

Note: Dining is not compulsory, but if you do wish to eat (and the pizzas are pretty good!) I would advise you to arrive early in order to finish before the music begins.

For further information and to book tickets, call 0845 6027 017 or visit www.pizzaexpresslive.co.uk

To find out more about Mose Allison check out moseallison.com

01 June 2009

The Story of London @ Tate Britain - Fri 5 June

On the first Friday of every month, Tate Britain presents an after-hours evening of free performances, music, talks and films. Half-price entry is also offered to current exhibitions (no concessions).

This month's Late At Tate Britain takes place on Friday 5th June, and sounds particularly interesting. The theme is London's many histories. Highlights include:

* A walking tour of the Tate's neighbourhood to find out how today's gallery was shaped by an imposing prison, a Victorian sugar baron, a military hospital and abandoned yet ambitious schemes

* Discussion of Black History in London including the 1975 film "Pressure", widely acknowledged to be the first feature film drama to be made by a black film-maker in Britain

* A recreation of William Blake's 1801 Soho exhibition and a talk about Blake's Life

* Explorations of the Tate's archive including rare Blake images, Hogarth engravings, Dore illustrations and other early images of London

* A programme of silent films from a Lost London brought to life with a newly-commissioned score; from the bustle of the Victorian commute to the ordeal of the Blitz

On top of this, The Shellac Sisters will be present playing a selection of original 78s on their vintage 1920s gramophones. They'll be in Room 9 - "Romantic Painting in Britain" - for the whole evening.

The Story of London
Late At Tate Britain
Millbank, London, SW1P 4RG
Friday 5th June. 6.30pm - 9.30pm
Free admission

For full details visit www.tate.org.uk/britain/eventseducation/lateattatebritain/lateattatebritainjune2009.htm

To find out more about The Shellac Sisters check out: www.shellacsisters.co.uk

30 May 2009

Amato is no more

Sadly I've just seen that Amato on Old Compton Street has closed down. This was the place to get the best cakes in Soho and as such it will be sorely missed.

Things could be worse though, as the site is to become a branch of English restaurant / tea house Richoux. Watch this space for news of its opening.

You can read my review of the Piccadilly branch of Richoux here: www.londondossier.info/cafes.htm

18 May 2009

Havana Rakatan @ Sadler's Wells Peacock Theatre

Havana Rakatan has returned to Sadler's Wells Peacock Theatre for its third year. With a press release that promises "Mambo, jazz, bolero, son, cha-cha-cha, rumba and salsa all come alive in a dazzling dance display of Cuban passion [...] Havana Rakatan is a captivating journey through the dance and music of a truly unique country", it was with high hopes that I set off to see the show for the first time.

I must admit I envisaged Havana Rakatan being something of a Cuban "Brasil Brasileiro". This was an incredible show that ran at the main Sadler's Wells theatre in 2006. Given that it was one of the greatest music and dance spectacles I've ever been fortunate enough to experience, it may be that my expectations were a little too high. Frankly however, Havana Rakatan was just not in the same league.

Another mistake I made was to expect an array of authentic Afro-Cuban dance forms. In fact it became clear from the outset that this is not the case. The dances fuse traditional Cuban styles with elements of contemporary, ballet and street, to varying degrees of success.

The show's opening scene was particularly weak. This could have been an opportunity to really show off and get the audience excited, but instead I found it uninspiring and lacklustre. I think the idea was to "transport" the audience to Havana before going back in time to examine the roots of Afro-Cuban music and dance, but I feel the show would have benefited from skipping this scene entirely.

The second scene is titled "Afro-Flamenco" and for me contained one of the best dances of the entire show: an excellent solo Flamenco from Maria Mercedes Perez Rodriguez. What then follows is an examination, through dance, of the historical melding of the African and Spanish cultures. Though a challenging concept to choreograph, I felt this scene had a lot of potential. Unfortunately it was not adequately realised and I found parts of it rather clumsy.

After this, things went further downhill and I was left sadly disappointed by most of the first act. There was frequently too much going on and the show didn't seem able to make up its mind as to whether it was a serious dance piece or a humourous musical drama complete with multiple props. I have no problem with a fusion of styles in principle, but in this case it just didn't work. At best it came across as slightly messy and at worse quite cheesy. There was even a momentary diversion into Chippendales territory (I couldn't help but think the dancing and costume should have been sexy enough to make a gimmick like this redundant).

Fortunately the second act is stronger and far more enjoyable. It disposes altogether of any pretensions at musical theatre (props and all), shifting focus almost entirely to the dancing itself. However, even this act was not consistent enough for my liking and it becomes increasingly evident throughout that some of the dancers are far better than others.

All of the music in the show is played live by a group called Turquino. Instrumentally, this group are top-notch, though vocally I was not so impressed. The best of the singers was Geydi Chapman who I found far more soulful that her male counterparts. It also struck me as a mistake to have the singers come front stage at times as it becomes obvious they are no dancers.

The material itself was generally good though, with only the performance of "Guantanamera" (unaccompanied by dance) coming across as unnecessary cliché.

Musically, the real highlights were instrumental versions of "Babara Batiri" and "Manteca"; both played superbly. "Babara Batiri" was actually one of the show's highest points as it also featured some fantastic dancing well-suited to the music. Unfortunately the same can't be said of "Manteca", which I feel was a wasted opportunity. Although the dancing itself wasn't bad, it just did not fit in with the music. Another example of poor choreography.

It isn't only the choreography that lets the show down though. I frequently found the synchronised group dances just not tight enough, giving the impression of too little rehearsal. At times, some of the dancers' mannerisms spoiled otherwise good performances. The fact that some of the costumes left wanting also did not help proceedings.

In conclusion, the show contained some interesting ideas, some excellent music and some exciting dancing, but there was too much filler and not enough of the good stuff. In fact, the programme which provides a short history of Cuban dance alongside some wonderful vintage images, was almost more inspiring than the show itself.

Havana Rakatan runs until 23rd May. For details visit: www.sadlerswells.com/show/Havana-Rakatan-09

05 May 2009

Dave Barker at Coast To Coast - Sat 20 June

The Coast To Coast club night will be celebrating its 10th Anniversary on Saturday 20th June. To mark the occasion, legendary reggae star Dave Barker will be performing live alongside up-and-coming ska outfit Intensified.

Dave Barker is a fantastic reggae and rocksteady singer with a string of solo albums to his name. He also recorded as a one-time member of The Techniques and as half of the duo Dave and Ansell Collins who topped the UK charts with 1970's infectious "Double Barrel".

Despite their relatively young age, Intensified are making quite a name for themselves and have already backed other Jamaican greats on stage such as Dennis Alcapone and Winston Francis.

This promises to be one of the greatest nights ever at Coast To Coast so make sure you arrive early and don't miss out.

Coast To Coast @ On The Rocks
25 Kingsland Road, London, E2 8AA
Doors: 10pm - late
Admission: £10 (NUS £7)
Band on stage at 11pm

For more information check out www.coasttocoast.org.uk

22 April 2009

Jazz Jamaica live at The Albany - Sat 25 April

Jazz JamaicaSaturday 25th April
Jazz Jamaica: Tighten Up!
@ The Albany
Douglas Way, Deptford, SE8 4AG
£13.50 in advance
£17.50 on the door
Doors: 7.30pm

Gary Crosby's award-winning group Jazz Jamaica return to The Albany this Saturday 25th April with a brand new set: Tighten Up! They promise to raise the roof with their special blend of rocksteady, ska, jazz and pumping reggae grooves. Tighten Up! pays tribute to some of Jamaica's greatest artists and record labels, featuring all-time classics like: The Skatalites' "Guns of Navarone", Prince Buster's "Al Capone" and Harry J All Stars' "Liquidator".

Given the name of the new show, who better to provide DJ support than Mistah Brown from the Tighten Up reggae club (recently relaunched in Brixton) who will be joining Bid Mosaku (Rugged Tunes Sound System) to spin a selection of the finest Jamdown sounds.

The line-up for the gig will be:

Gary Crosby – Double Bass / Band Leader
Abram Wilson – Trumpet
Nathaniel Facey – Alto Saxophone
Denys Baptiste – Tenor Saxophone
Harry Brown – Trombone
Rod Youngs – Drums
Robin Banerjee – Guitar
Ben Burrell – Piano
Pete Eckford – Percussion
Zara McFarlane – Vocals

For more information and to book online visit: www.thealbany.org.uk

You can find out more about Jazz Jamaica and listen to some of their tunes on MySpace: www.myspace.com/jazzjamaica

09 April 2009

Eco-friendly club night on Easter Sunday - 12 April

This Bank Holiday Sunday (12th April) I will be DJing at Club Surya in King's Cross for the relaunch of The Reference Library club night.

You can expect to hear some fantastic soul, jazz, reggae and funk, as well as other soulful black music from the early 60s to the early 80s - all on original vinyl.

Surya is the world's first eco-friendly nightclub. It runs on green power and uses water-saving devices and carbon-friendly and recycled materials wherever possible. It even has a dancefloor that generates electricity when people dance on it via vibrating piezo-electric crystals!

Other DJs on the night are:

MISTAH BROWN (Tighten Up / Chick-A-Boom)
TEXAS RANGER (Bang Radio / Trojan Explosion)
MARK PROFESSOR (Trojan Explosion)
ANDREW IBI (Home Cookin' / Acknowledgement)
MR NODSTER (Sindecut)
VIRGO (Hoxton's Lost Society)

Full details as follows:

The Reference Library @ Surya
Sunday 12th April (Easter Sunday). 7pm - 3am
156 Pentonville Rd, London, N1 9JL (5 min walk from King's Cross)
FREE before 10pm then £5

26 March 2009

The London Burlesque Festival - 1st-5th April

London Burlesque Festival 2009 posterHow time flies! Seems like yesterday I was at the opening of last year's festival, but in less than a week Chaz Royal's International London Burlesque Festival returns for its 3rd year, showcasing the best in British and international burlesque.

The Festival will expose Londoners and burlesque connoisseurs from around the globe to over 100 of the world's top ecdysiasts hailing from North America, Europe, Australia and of course the United Kingdom. The festival will feature a variety of acts, from the nostalgic traditional style of burlesque's early years to 50s 'Bump and Grind' and more modern avant-garde interpretations that are growing in popularity with neo-burlesque's younger set.

There will be several showcases of sizzling striptease, vaudeville variety and burlesque pageantry taking place across London over the span of five nights:

Wednesday 1st April
Opening Press Party 'Glitterati Gala'
@ CAFE DE PARIS, 3-4 Coventry Street, W1D
7pm-1am, Tickets £18.50 - £24.50

Thursday 2nd April
UK Showcase Night: *2 Showcases
@ MADAME JOJO'S, 8-10 Brewer Street, W1F
Early Showcase - The Princess Palace: 6pm-9pm, Tickets £24.50
Late Showcase - Burlesque Social Club: 10pm-3am, Tickets £22.50

Friday 3rd April
Newcomers Contest 'Battle Royale'
@ THE SCALA, 275-277 Pentonville Road, N1
8pm-3am, Tickets £12.50 - £18.50

Saturday 4th April
International Gala 'Jetsetters Ball': *2 Showcases
@ BUSH HALL, 310 Uxbridge Road, W12
6pm-9pm, 10pm-1am, Tickets £24.50 - £29.50

Sunday 5th April
VIP Closing Party
@ CAFE DE PARIS, 3-4 Coventry Street, W1D
Dinner Soiree, Secrets in Lace Fashion Show, Closing Showcase
6pm-1am, Tickets £34.50 - £39.50

For full details and performer schedule visit: www.londonburlesquefest.com

Tickets are on sale exclusively from www.ticketweb.co.uk

You can read my review from last year's opening show here

Not sure I'll end up on stage again this year, but I will be behind the DJ decks on Saturday 4th April at Bush Hall for both the early and late shows.

To further whet your appetite, here are some photos from last year courtesy of Elizabeth Shingleton:

Photograph of the London Burlesque Festival 2008Photograph of the London Burlesque Festival 2008Photograph of the London Burlesque Festival 2008Photograph of the London Burlesque Festival 2008Photograph of the London Burlesque Festival 2008Photograph of the London Burlesque Festival 2008Photograph of the London Burlesque Festival 2008Photograph of the London Burlesque Festival 2008

17 March 2009

Muddy Waters Jr. at The Luminaire - Thu 19 Mar

photo of Mud MorganfieldMuddy Water's first-born son, Mud Morganfield, will be playing live at The Luminaire with Big Joe Louis and his Blues Kings this Thursday 19th March. This will be Mud's debut London show and should be an unmissable night.

Tickets are still available from wegottickets.com and ticketweb.com, but be quick!

The Luminaire is at: 311 High Road, Kilburn, London, NW6 7JR

Doors open at 7.30pm

Just like his father, Mud Morganfield was a truck driver with a passion for music and in his spare time he would sing with various soul groups. As he grew older and particularly since his father's funeral in 1983 (where he met his half brother Bill Morganfield for the first time) he moved towards and finally embraced the blues. Mud is his fathers son, looking remarkably similar and possessed of a fine baritone voice in the tradition of Muddy Snr. Mud cut his teeth in the clubs of the Chicago Southside, but has until recently kept a low profile and quietly built a solid audience with childhood friends like Eddie Taylor Jr helping him out on the bandstand.

In July 2007 Mud stepped out into the limelight playing a show with Big Bill Morganfield at the Muddy Waters Memorial Festival in Westmont, Illinois and then straight on to his own set at the Chicago Blues Festival. He then released his debut record in 2008 and hasn't looked back.

Mud Morganfield's first UK shows in 2007 were a sell-out success and he has since toured throughout Europe, North America and South America. Mud's show at The Luminaire on Thursday 19 March will be his first ever London appearance so don't miss out on a piece of living blues history!

You can listen to some great performances from Mud on Youtube here:


For more info on the venue visit www.theluminaire.co.uk

To find out more about Mud Morganfield, check out his website: www.mudmorganfield.com

14 March 2009

The Cavern threatened with closure - please help

Just received news from the promoters of 60s soul night Walls Of Heartache that the club's venue, The Cavern, has been threatened with closure. This is a great night and a lovely little venue that I've DJ'd at myself in the past and it would be a sad thing for the Waltham Forest community if it were to shut down.

If you have time and would like to help protect another independent quality music venue from closing down, then you should email Brian Bowater at Waltham Forest Council ASAP to voice your concerns.

You should send emails to: Brian.Bowater@walthamforest.gov.uk with "The Cavern, Forest Road, Walthamstow" as the subject line.

Please also copy Dave from Walls Of Heartache in at: dave@brhodgson.co.uk so that he can print off the emails ahead of the venue's license review.

Here is the info I received from Dave:

"Dear Walls Of Heartache friends,

Our home in Walthamstow for the past four years - The Cavern on Forest Road - is under threat after one complaint about noise and a petition from a resident following an incident nearby, not even inside, The Cavern over Xmas.

The license is up for review next week and there is a real possibility that the club will be closed.

We are asking people who care to drop an email to the Council's Noise Team/Licensing Dept showing your support for the club.

It's important that we can show that while there may be a few people who want to see it closed for their own reasons, that we see it as an important place where local people of all ages and backgrounds can come together and enjoy themselves without having to travel into Central London or further afield.

We would appreciate it if you could take ten minutes to email the Council officer detailed below.

Many thanks

Fingers crossed

Andy & Dave Wall Of Heartache"

The Cavern (c) Walls Of Heartache

Skinny silk tie clearout at John Pearse

photo of John Pearse tieSoho tailor John Pearse is currently clearing out hundreds of lovely hand-made slim silk ties in dozens of different designs. I have a few of John's ties myself (such as the one pictured) and they are amongst my favourites. They are lovely looking, very narrow and just as importantly they tie extremely well.

The ties have been reduced to £30 each or three for £60 - bargain! Some of these designs are very limited with only one or two left, so get down there now to check them out. And don't forget to say Jean-Paul sent you!

To find out more about John Pearse visit: www.johnpearse.co.uk

18 February 2009

Saturday nights at The Last Days Of Decadence

The Last Days Of Decadence flyerStarting in March, the sumptuous Art Deco Last Days Of Decadence bar/club in Shoreditch is launching a series of weekly Saturday night extravaganzas featuring live music, burlesque and DJs spinning vintage dancefloor sounds.

I've been booked to DJ there myself on Saturday 21st March and will be joined by big little (or little big, depending on how you look at it) jazz band The Andy Williamson Buzztet plus divine burlesque beauty Chrys Columbine.

The night runs from 8pm till 2.30am and admission is just £5 all night. The club is situated at: 145 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JE

To find out more about this lovely venue, visit www.thelastdaysofdecadence.co.uk

09 February 2009

Penny Reel meets Rock A Shacka - Fri 27 Feb

A night of old-school Blues dance vibes coming up later in the month, as Japan's ska master Tommy from Rock A Shacka records meets London's foundation reggae journalist and collector Penny Reel.

Musical Fever is the name of this promotion and they describe their musical policy as "jazz and r'n'b through boogie-woogie, ska, rocksteady, reggae and roots; through soul, Latin and Afro"

If you heard Penny Reel DJ at Right On! a few years ago you'll know you can expect some serious ska rarities from this veteran collector who bought his first Blue Beat single back in 1961.

And as Rock A Shacka is the label that brought out the official reissues of Prince Buster and Gayfeet rarities and unreleased tracks a few years back, I would expect some real rarities from Tommy too.

Details as follows:

Musical Fever presents a night of pure Jamaican Vibes
@ The Others (above snooker hall)
6-8 Manor Road, Stoke Newington, London, N16 5SA
Advance tickets: £6 (more on the door)
9pm - 3am
Sound system supplied by Gladdy Wax

For more info visit www.myspace.com/musicalfever67

Seydou Keïta's photography at Tate Modern

untitled photograph by Seydou Keïta (1953/1994)If you haven't seen it yet, you still have time to get down to the Tate Modern for their exhibition of Seydou Keïta's excellent photography, titled "50 Works". But do hurry, as I believe the work is only on display for another couple of months.

Seydou Keïta (1921-2001) was one of the most celebrated photographers in West Africa. From his studio in Bamako, Mali where he lived and worked, Keïta took about 20,000 portraits between 1949 and 1963.

To find out more and to preview some of the photographs in the exhibition, visit:


05 February 2009

Jean-Paul Séculaire at Jukebox Jam - Fri 13 Feb

Jukebox Jam flyerWell, it's nearly my birthday again! Where does the time go?! I was planning to celebrate at Chick-A-Boom, but unfortunately the Vibe Bar have cancelled it for the time being. So instead I'll be guest DJing at the excellent Jukebox Jam club night on Friday 13th February (don't worry... I ain't superstitious!)

It's a great session in a well-known East End boozer-cum-arts venue and features live bands and DJs playing 50s and 60s rockin' R&B, Southern soul and Jamaican ska. I haven't been there for some time as Chick-A-Boom always fell on the same night, so I am really looking forward to returning. Details as follows:

Jukebox Jam @ The George Tavern
Friday 13th February. 8pm - 3am
373 Commercial Road, London, E1 0LA
£4 before 9:30pm then £6 (£4 for members)

Live music this month will come courtesy of the relaunched Blue Beat label house band No. 1 Station plus a solo set from blues pianist/vocalist Cookie The Cutter.

Please note that the venue only has a 150 person capacity, so do be sure to arrive early if you're coming!

For more info check out www.myspace.com/jukejam

16 January 2009

Texas Ranger's new show on Bang Radio

If you like your old-school Jamaican music, then make sure you tune into DJ Texas Ranger's new show on Bang Radio. The show now runs from 8pm till 10pm.

Texas Ranger is a highly regarded record collector and an excellent DJ. Every Sunday evening she will be spinning rare and classic rocksteady, reggae and more from her enviable collection. If you're based in North West London you can pick up the show on 103.6 FM; otherwise you can listen live online from anywhere in the world by going to:


Formerly known as Life FM, Bang Radio is an award-winning community station run by charity Bang Edutainment. The station is based in Harlesden and specialises in reggae, soul, hip hop, rap and urban music. To find out more visit: www.bang-ed.com