Dad liked the Stones, Hollies, Frampton. Mum liked the Stylistics, Bread, Glen Campbell. Neither played an instrument but Top of the Pops popped in our semi-detached.
I remember early on having deeply emotional reactions to music – I felt dark threat in ‘Paint it Black’, melancholy in ‘New York Mining Disaster 1941’, hopeful sentimentality (plus hopeful expectation of a Subbuteo prez) in ‘I Believe in Father Christmas’, sunny joy in ‘Car Wash’ and something-deep-inside-me-that-I’d-understand-later in Barry White’s ‘I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby’.
Emotional connection and an East Midlands tribal outlook (Foxes not F****t) got me into 2 Tone, Adam and the Ants and eventually to my musical home of the next decade – Heavy Metal. My first gig, aged 12, was Thin Lizzy at De Mont – the experience left me scarf-wristed, hearing-impaired and with a lust to shred guitars and throw my hair like Scott Gorham.
Frantic guitar study developed my musical taste. Learning Fishbone riffs led to Parliament, Sly Stone, Curtis, Donny, Shuggie. Brave attempts to nail Allan Holdsworth’s fluid, sax-aping led to Trane, his classic quartet and the defining moment in my jazz love. As is true for many, ‘A Love Supreme’ was realisation, Acknowledgement. It is, to this day, the most important album in my collection.
This jazz/soul exploration began in the late 80’s/early 90’s – perfectly in sync with a mad healthy UK jazz scene, Eddie Piller’s Acid Jazz, Swifty, the gorgeous Straight No Chaser and my developing graphic designer skills. It was clear in that potent, eclectic aesthetic that I’d found my second home – Roy Ayers at Mosquito Coast led to rapid-fire gigs (no clue re chronology) Django Bates, Bheki Mseleku, Tony Remy, JTQ, Corduroy, Julian Joseph, Mother Earth, Cleveland Watkiss, Steve Williamson, Pharoah Sanders, Terry Callier…then as is now – Pursuance.
I work as design partner at Ward Creative Partners – creating offline/digital customer journey’s (for Local Gov/Social Care, Boots, Lloyds Bank, E-on, Emma Bridgewater), branding, graphic art and merchandise.
I’m also an illustrator (painted a lucha libre mural in Chicago), a wine geek (studying the DipWSET) and a (very niche) t-shirt designer. The t-shirts fuse my two favourite wastes of time, music and wine, in a hopefully IP-safe way…although i’m always open to a well-written cease and desist.
Ian’s Top 20 for 2018
(In no order)
Nat Birchall – Cosmic Language (Jazzman)
Abstract Orchestra – Madvillain Vol.1 (ATA)
1000 Kings – Raw Cause (Jazz re:freshed)
Muriel Grossmann – Golden Rule (RR Gems)
Sons of Kemet – Your Queen is a Reptile (Impulse!)
Ed Motta – Criterion of the Senses (MustHave/Membran)
Moses Boyd – Displaced Diaspora (Exodus)
Ambrose Akinmusiere – Origami Harvest (Blue Note)
Al Doum and The Faryds – Spirit Rejoin (Les Disques Bongo Joe)
Kikagaku Moyo – Masana Temples (Guruguru Brain)
John Coltrane – Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album (Impulse!)
Uniting of Opposites – Ancient Lights (Tru Thoughts)
Jason Isbell and the 400 unit – Live from the Ryman (Southeastern)
Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert – Here Lies The Body (Rock Action)
Kamasi Washington – Heaven and Earth (Young Turks)
Peter Gall – Paradox Dreambox (Traumton)
Maisha – There Is A Place (Brownswood Recordings)
White Denim – Performance (City Slang)
Nu Guinea – Nuova Napoli (NG)
Tenderlonious Featuring The 22archestra – The Shakedown (22a)