COLIN CURTIS PRESENTS JAZZ DANCE FUSION VOLUME 2.

Colin Curtis Presents Jazz Dance Fusion Volume 2.

Label: Z Records.

Format: CD.

During the late-seventies and early eighties, one of most popular DJs on the UK jazz-dance scene was Colin Curtis, who was born Colin Dimond, in Madeley, Staffordshire 1952. That was where the his lifelong love of music began when he started to listen to offshore pirate radio stations like Radio Caroline. Not long after this, a friend of Colin Curtis’ sister showed him her collection of Tamla Motown singles, and this was the state of a lifelong love of black American music.

Soon, Colin Curtis was collecting record soul and R&B, and in the late-sixties, started attending Northern Soul all-nighters at the Twisted Wheel in Manchester, and later, at the Golden Torch in Tunstall, Staffordshire. However, Colin Curtis wasn’t content just to dance at the all-nighters, what he really wanted to do was DJ.

He got his opportunity in the late-sixties, while still a teenager, and before long was part of the DJ line-up at the Golden Torch all-nighters. However, it was in 1973 that Colin Curtis got his big break, when he began a weekly residency at the soul nights at the Highland Rooms at the Blackpool Mecca. Soon, Colin Curtis was joined by fellow DJ and record collector Ian Levine, and this was the start of a five-year partnership which that lasted until 1978. However, during this period, there was a split in the Northern Soul scene.

Up until then, the Northern Soul scene was primarily a revivalist scene, with the majority of DJs looking for obscure soul singles from the sixties and seventies. This was too restrictive for Colin Curtis and Ian Levine whose music tastes were much more eclectic. The pair who pioneered mixing in the UK, began adding disco, funk and jazz to their sets which was a controversial move. So much so, that the Northern Soul scene was split in two and the modern soul movement emerged out of the Highland Rooms.

The demise of the Colin Curtis and Ian Levine DJ-ing partnership took place in September 1978, after five years at the Highland Rooms. However, Colin Curtis left to take up a residency at Rafters nightclub in Manchester, which  marked a turning point in his DJ-ing career.

Although Colin Curtis still played  soul and disco in his sets, they started to move towards  jazz funk and fusion. This was the sound that Colin Curtis played at all-nighters up and down the country, including venues like the Blackpool Mecca and Manchester Ritz. These nights were hugely popular, with Colin Curtis regularly playing in front of crowds that ranged from 1,500 right up to 3,000. Colin Curtis’ new sound was proving as popular as the Northern Soul nights he had played at a decade earlier.

Buoyed by the success of his new sound, Colin Curtis started playing at venues around the UK, and by the early eighties, was even playing in mainland Europe. By then, Colin Curtis was regarded as a pioneer of the UK jazz-dance scene which would explode over the next few years. However, if it wasn’t for DJs like Colin Curtis, the UK jazz-dance scene may not have been the success it was. 

Over thirty years later, and Colin Curtis is still passionate about the music he played on the UK jazz-dance scene. So much so, that in 2018  Z Records released Colin Curtis Presents Jazz Dance Fusion. It was released to plaudits and praise and found  favour with dancers and DJs who have been waiting for the second instalment 

Two-and-a-half years later and Colin Curtis Presents Jazz Dance Fusion Volume 2 has just bee released by Z Records and  continues to document the glory days of the UK jazz-dance scene.

On Colin Curtis Presents Jazz Dance Fusion Volume 2 theres thirteen tracks, and he eschews the predictable and familiar and instead, digs deep into his collection for deep cuts, rarities and hidden gems. However, there’s still plenty of floor filling favourites and these top quality workouts  will test the stamina of even the fittest dancers. Itquality all the way and it’s not going to be easy to choose the highlights of a compilation of the quality of Colin Curtis Presents Jazz Dance Fusion Volume 2.

Opening Colin Curtis Presents Jazz Dance Fusion Volume 2 is Revelation by Paoli Mejias and is taken from the Puerto Rican percussionist’s debut album Mi Tambor. It was released on his  Paoli Mejias label in 2004. It’s a breathtaking slice of Latin jazz will test the stamina of dancers. This hidden gem and is welcome addition to the compilation. 

In 2010, Leslie Lewis and Gerard Hagen Trio released the album Keeper Of The Flame on Surf Cove Jazz. One of the album’s highlights was the title-track which features a vocal masterclass from one of jazz’s best kept secrets. Leslie Lewis combines power and emotion as she breathes life and meaning into the lyrics on what’s a tantalising taste a truly talented vocalist.

When bassist Curtis Lundy released Just Be Yourself on New Note in 1987, the album featured Never Gonna Let You Go. Playing a starring role is vocalist Carmen Lundy who delivers a heartfelt vocal powerhouse. It was one of the highlights of the album and is the perfect introduction to another talented jazz vocalist.

Outside of their native Brazil, not many people will have heard of 8VB. That’s a great shame as they’re a talented group who released their debut album Amicizia on Delira Música in 2007. It featured the genre-melting track Gengis where they seamlessly combine jazz-funk, fusion with Latin jazz on another hidden gem that Colin Curtis has unearthed.

Upa Neguinho featured on the Marita Alban Juarez Quartet’s 2015 album which was released on Youkali Music. It’s a driving Latin jazz dancer that features an almost flawless performance from the Quartet and showcases their considerable skills. 

JD Walter’s Golden Lady is taken from his album Sirens In The C-House which was released by Dreambox Media in 2000. It’s one of his own compositions and features an inventive scatted vocal. However, it’s French pianist Jean-Michel Pilc that steals the show. Despite that, it’s one of the weaker tracks on the compilation. 

When Steven Kroon released his Without A Doubt (Sin Duda) album in 2011 it featured Tombo 7/4. He combines jazz and Latin  during this joyous slice of musical sunshine which sashays along. 

Hajime Yoshizawa was  part of the Nu-Jazz movement in the late-nineties and then formed Kyoto Jazz Massive with his three brothers. However, in August 2008 the keyboardist released his solo album Japan on the Village Again label. It featured Celebration a sultry sounding track where he unleashes a stunning solo and is joined by vocalist Navasha Daya who makes a guest appearance. Together they play their part in the sound and success of this timeless track.

In an instant the Raffaela Renzulli Ensemble transport the listener to Brasilia. It’s a quite beautiful summery sounding track from their 1987 album Children Of The Light. 

Given the quality of Carmen Lundy’s vocal on Just Be Yourself, the inclusion of So This Is Love is a welcome one. She delivers an impassioned vocal on this Latin jazz workout that’s sure to be a favourite of dancers and DJs alike. 

Hungarian guitarist and vocalist Tino Gonzales released the album Latin Gypsy in 2006. There’s a sense of urgency during the title-track which features a scratchy gypsy violin. It’s a accompanied by bursts of a scatted vocal and a fleet-fingered jazzy piano solo. Along with the rhythm section  they drive the arrangement to this glorious floorfiller along.

When Grady Tate released his album Body and Soul on the Milestone label in 1983 it featured Little Black Samba. Straight away the track heads in the direction of vocal jazz as he unleashes an urgent scatted vocal on a track that’s a reminder of a different era.   

Closing Colin Curtis Presents Jazz Dance Fusion Volume 2 is Jam Session Goes Latino’s Manteca. It’s the title-track to an album that featured Al Grey and Isauro. It’s a joyous call to dance that closes the album on a high.

For veterans of the UK jazz dance scene Colin Curtis Presents Jazz Dance Fusion Volume 2 is the perfect opportunity to relive the nights spent dancing to jazz funk, fusion and Latin jazz. The thirteen tracks on Colin Curtis Presents Jazz Dance Fusion Volume 2 were part of this hugely popular scene. It was very different to what had gone before including Northern Soul, disco and boogie and there was a freshness to the music that was being played in clubs.

Never before had DJs played sets that featured jazz funk, Latin jazz and fusion. This many onlookers thought was unheard of, but the roots of the UK jazz dance scene could be traced to the Highland Rooms in Blackpool, when Colin Curtis and Ian Levine started playing funk and disco in their Northern Soul sets. Over the next few years, Colin Curtis’ sets evolved and eventually, he was a pioneer of the UK jazz dance scene.

While other followed in his footsteps, Colin Curtis will always be remembered as one of the pioneers of the UK jazz dance scene who played eclectic sets where anything was possible. Soon, Colin Curtis’ sets featured jazz funk, fusion and Latin jazz, where he eschewed the predictable and familiar for deep cuts, hidden gems and rarities. That is the case on Colin Curtis Presents Jazz Dance Fusion Volume 2. It’s a mixture of floorfillers, fusion, jazz funk and irresistible Latin jazz that are a remainder of the glory days of the UK jazz dance scene.  For veterans of the scene this Colin Curtis Presents Jazz Dance Fusion Volume 2 is a compilation that’s going to be of interest to them and is sure to bring back memories.

Colin Curtis Presents Jazz Dance Fusion Volume 2.

2 Comments

  1. Jazz Dance Fusion great album. Good history of dance piece.

    • I’m glad that that you enjoyed the article. It’s an excellent album. I’ve enjoyed both volumes and hopefully there will be a third.

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