Friday, February 25, 2005

Do you remember that Iranian guy behind the counter of that shop.....

Got a call today from Norman Jay today which is always cool. I first met Norman back in February 1993 when we bought him and Gilles Peterson in to NZ to play at the Box. Norman did a couple of radio shows with me on bFm back then, introducing me to a number of soon-to-be-classic records that I will always associate with him (I associate a lot of records with certain people…for example Shay Jones’ “Are you Gonna Be There” is forever linked with Manuel Bundy, and I clearly remember the way he always used to touch it with such obvious reverence), we did a few days record and trainer shopping and generally hung out. He played a set at the Box to less than 100 ecstatic punters (although the number of people who now claim they were there could now fill Mt Smart..ha! you wish….)…I mean…this is the man who actually coined the phrase “rare groove” in the eighties…betcha didn’t know that. Sadly, I can lay claim to having coined the phrase “Future Jazz” for the tag line of the second New Groove comp back in 95 and, despite the fact it’s a totally naff tag (but by the time we did New Groove 2 “Acid Jazz” was even naffer), I’ve gotten some sort of perverse satisfaction from seeing how Mark de Clive Lowe took it to the UK and its been disseminated outwards from there (its even listed as a genre on Discogs fer fux sake)…but it ain’t in the same league, or even planetary system as “Rare Groove”…that’s an establishment phrase for the ages…

I’ve seen Norman on and off over the years and I’ve got some killer footage filmed on the stage at Auckland Domain on February 6, 2003. I just like him as a person, I love his soul, his passion and the obvious love he has for his music. And for the fact that his passion has given us so much.

Today we met at Conch and went for a bit of a drive. Back in 93 we took a ferry ride to Devonport but the weather sucked and we had coffee and came back. This year I drove and we went up North Head, which truly (and I’ve been to a fair assortment of fuckme places) is one of the most magical (and spooked..with all those unexplored tunnels….seriously, what on earth were our colonial leaders thinking when they predicted a bloody Russian invasion looming in 1888..keeping the population tamed by fear obviously predates the Dept of Homeland Security by some years) bits of dirt on the planet and Norman was justifiably gobbsmacked, wandering around with his camera in hand. We then drove through traffic to Albany, across the Greenhithe Bridge and around the Northwest for a fair while. We talked about record shops (like the legendary Bluebird off Edgware Road where I used to buy far too many US funk cutouts complete with gatefold covers and those big thick slab pressings…I found out that Norman was responsible for bringing many of those in from the US…never knew that till today), long lost record labels, the art of djing, the people he’d met over the years (one degree of separation today from Larry Levan), the righteous and deserving death of the superclub and the numbers of formerly “name” djs who are now scraping by with bar jobs, a few mutual friends, about knowing and enjoying your past but not being self-righteous about it, and exotic djing locations.

But mostly we talked about and listened to music. Old Philly records from Lou Rawls, Eddie Kendricks and a whole host of others and lots and lots of Atlantic acts from the seventies, mainly because we listened to this twice, about Betty Swann, Ben E King, pirate radio, Major Harris, Skipworth & Turner, Kenny Gonzalez, the magic of hearing early Chicago jacking house and Detroit techno for the first time and how you never loose that passion for it once it hits you (I guess the thing about music is the ongoing need to strive to get that hit again). And how important house and hip hop and soul and funk and reggae, electronic rhythms and indeed rock’n’roll are to us personally and, I suppose how lucky we’ve been to craft some sort of career out of the stuff. Just stuff, y’know.

And it really hit me how much I enjoy being in the company of people who feel as I do, and, fuck it all, how totally privileged I am to be in the company of someone like Norman Jay MBE discussing these things.

Oh, and post of the day goes to Peter Mac for:

headline reads: "Tsunami suffering may inspire Sting song" headline SHOULD read: "Tsunami suffering continues - Sting writing song about Asian disaster"

5 comments:

thewalker said...

man i was SPANNERED at that gig, giles peterson cracked my head open with music i had never heard in a club (i did know what to expect, but it was better yet). angry bob on support, the elite/promoters complaining that he did not mix records together....I still have the flyer in a box somewhere, must did out those photo's....

thewalker said...

dig out those photos, and THEN dig them,

sheesh

Smacked Face said...

Yeah it's funny to hear people round these parts dissing Mr Jay for being cheesy or whatever... but the times I've spent jam-packed up against some stranger's smelly armpit at Notting Hill Carnival have been some of the best times of my life. Good Times, you might say... And Good Times 3 never leaves my record bag. :)

Richard said...

Con the fruiterer?

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