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Spirit: A Tribute To Maurice White & Earth Wind and Fire
February 12, 2016 10:26 AM PST

This is the Rare Groove Show tribute to one of my biggest influences, Maurice White: outstanding vocalist, arranger, producer, drummer, kalimba player, friend of Charles Stepney and Skip Scarborough, businessman, he changed my life and the life of countless others. Dance music as it is would not exist without Maurice White. Earth Wind and Fire were the first soul band I really appreciated and I was awed by their number, image, and what I heard about their live shows. Maybe they were the tightest band instrumentally that ever existed in black music. Listen to find out why Maurice White was a towering figure and to hear the legacy this great man leaves behind.

Mo' Wax + 4
October 19, 2015 11:09 AM PDT
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Mo' Wax + 4 is a mix for a friend who's moving away. I dug out a load of my Mo'Wax vinyl and played it- no preparation and perhaps in a couple of places that can be heard. Many of these records, which I collected between 1993 and 1998 haven't been played in those intervening years. It was nice to get back to them and the culmination of an idea gestating since the Mo'Wax exhibition and James Lavelle's 2014 Meltdown Festival. 'Trip Hop' could, of course, be a little slow so I sped every tune up to a minimum pitch of +4. There are many more songs I could have thrown in but 77 minutes felt ample. The idea is that this will stand the test of time and be an enjoyable listen as well as esoteric enough for anyone remotely interested in the culture created by James Lavelle and Mo'Wax. Enjoy!

Equipment: Technics 1200 x 2, Pioneer DJM 750 Mixer, Sony CD recorder, Bang & Olufsen Headphones, Maxell CDRW, Vinyl.

The Rare Groove House Show
September 12, 2015 04:01 AM PDT
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I'm not a house DJ but now and then I like to round up a selection of records I've acquired - mostly for my own listening pleasure. This is a group of records I've been playing this year- most of them would be classed as house, although they go beyond 4/4 beats into jazz and soul territory. Most tracks here are 2015 releases with a few classics thrown in. Labels featured are Prescription, Yoruba, Strictly Jaz Unit and Soul People. Feedback very welcome!

Equipment used: Technics 1200 turntables, Pioneer mixer, Shure styli, Sony CD recorder, vinyl records.

The Rare Groove Radio Show
June 06, 2015 09:06 AM PDT

More music less chat. This 80 minute selection features some of what I'm listening to at the moment, featuring soul and jazz rarities and new music from Kaidi Tatham and Dego (4hero)

Glenn Underground- A Short Tribute
May 15, 2015 08:03 AM PDT
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Since 1995 when 'Jerusalem EPs' was released on Peacefrog Records I've followed the progress of Glenn Underground and collected his vinyl. Not that I know a lot about him, other than what he creates. That is a superior form of house music, tinged with jazz and soulful elements. Complex live sounding drum patterns which feature lately an African influence are also guaranteed to get the dancefloor moving. Glenn, however, remains a true underground stylist, despite being a go to artist for DJs.

Anything on the GU/Boo Williams label Strictly Jaz Unit is worth seeking out and check out GU's Re-Edits of classic disco and boogie- a series which contains something like 8 releases to date (May 2015).

Glenn Underground is undoubtedly in that class of house artist led by musicianship that soul and jazz fans can relate to:- a group which includes Moodymann, Theo Parrish, Masters At Work, Kerri Chandler and Larry Heard. He is one of the leading innovators in his field and in 2015 seems at the height of his musical powers.

Gil Scott Heron & Brian Jackson
May 10, 2015 10:22 AM PDT
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I initially made this short mix for a friend who knew Gil Scott Heron only as a spoken word artist. This version is tweaked a little. I'm a big fan of Gil's work with Brian Jackson and of both as vocalists. Gil's honeyed world weary tones never sound better than with Brian as his foil. Their work with the Midnight Band is some of the most cherished in my record collection- starting with WINTER IN AMERICA on Strata East Records and giving us a succession of mighty albums from the Mid Seventies to early eighties- FROM SOUTH AFRICA TO SOUTH CAROLINA, MIDNIGHT BAND, IT'S YOUR WORLD, BRIDGES, SECRETS and 1980. Jackson's Fender Rhodes playing and arrangements across these releases mean that their work together treads the apex of the jazz/soul crossover. To quote Brian Jackson: 'We loved jazz. But we also loved soul music, funk and R&B. There was always an Isley Brothers or a Stevie Wonder or an Earth Wind and Fire or an Al Green album about to make an appearance on one of our turntables'.

There are days when I'd rather listen to no-one if it's not Gil and Brian and I hope you too enjoy their inspirational music.

Trip to New York 3
May 09, 2015 10:54 AM PDT
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February 2015 took me back to New York and to a whole other group of record stores. I'd missed out the fantastic Turntable Lab the last time we visited and this time also got to check out the exciting, if daunting, Brooklyn Flea Market. Although flea market digging takes work it can often be rewarding. This mix includes two fantastic $5 finds- Freddie Hubbard's Red Clay from 'The Baddest Hubbard' a mint CTI LP from 1975 and Donald Byrd's 'The Baby' from The Blackbyrd's 'Flying Start' As with the previous New York mix the songs are based more on a vibe than strictly created in New York- that's obvious when you hear Dr. Dre's West Coast classic 'L'il Ghetto Boy with it's wonderful Donny Hathaway sample. I bring it back to NYC, however, with the Jungle Brothers 'Doin' Our Own Dang' & Gza's 'Liquid Swords' Enjoy this, the third in my New York series and write for further tracklistings.

Trip To New York 2
May 08, 2015 01:33 PM PDT
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A selection of records I bought on a Christmas trip to New York at the end of 2014. This is the result of much traipsing around the grids in the bitter cold and snow. With thanks to Good Records, A1, In Living Stereo, Other Music, Academy Records and Ear Wax Records. The Journey goes from Gil Scott Heron to the sumptuous sounds of Raphael Saddiq's Instant Vintage LP. Not all the music originates from New York: It's more of a journey through the racks designed to give a flavour of what appealed to me and the gaps in my record collection which needed to be filled. Volume 3 is in the works. Enjoy!

Brasilian Therapy
June 12, 2014 09:43 AM PDT
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Partly in celebration of this year's World Cup I' ve dug deep to give you the only Brasilian Mix you're ever going to need. There's mambo and conga here not just Samba and bossa nova- I wanted an overall vibe instead of absolute purity. I envisioned a mad house party with this making everybody dance- maybe after an England win over Brasil in the World Cup Final!! Wishful thinking.

This will probably be the last Brasilian World Cup in my lifetime and this mix is built to last. If you like what you hear why not seek out some of the artists on vinyl instead of a compilation. It will sound better and you'll have a possession to cherish. Classic Brasilian albums can be picked up for a song if you look hard enough. If you're a beginner looking to build a collection I suggest as a starting point you look up Edu Lobo, Jorge Ben, Milton Nascimento, Elis Regina and Elza Soares. Soul Jazz Records also compile excellent compilations from their Soho store.

Many of the tunes on this mix are jazz/ bossa crossovers which emanated from New York City in the 1960s-here you'll find Kenny Dorham, Duke Pearson, Grant Green. The only tune I was sad to leave out due to lack of time was Horace Parlan's Congalere- please dig that one out.

For more information about artists, songs or about curating personalised playlists please feel free to leave comments on this page.

Enjoy and samba till you drop!!

Trip to Paris
May 02, 2014 08:58 AM PDT
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An eclectic trip around the world, as usual. From Theo Parrish and Kerri Chandler to Father's Children and Patrice Rushen. All vinyl. Most of these records were bought in Paris, at Superfly Records. Check out a track from Chapter 8- with a young Anita Baker on vocals.

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