Steve Williams

steve-williams

It all started circa 1983, a Vespa scooter gave me the freedom during my final year of secondary school to visit a local Birmingham record shop during my lunch hour. Back then I was buying Motown and stuff like The Animals and The Spencer Davis Group, visiting the odd Northern Soul and ‘Scooter’ night, and shaking off having been through a big Blondie phase in my earlier years. My earliest musical recollection was debating The Jackson 5 and The Osmonds with my father… he was in to Nat King Cole, whilst my mother enjoyed a little Mario Lanza. We had many records in the house.

I had this urge for something musical that I couldn’t put my finger on. I bought Carl Anderson’s ‘Buttercup’ on 7″ from a department store in Birmingham in 1985 just as things started to fall into place. Out went lots of vinyl and my quest for 2-step and the entire Curtom (Curtis Mayfield) catalogue took hold with ‘Rare Groove’ coming to Birmingham via Tim Westwood (yes Tim Westwood) as he played out an all-dayer with Maceo & The Macks’ “Cross The Track (We Better Go Back)” and The Jackson Sisters’ “I Believe In Miracles” – the crowd paid little notice as they left The Powerhouse but I was hooked. This was it!

Hop skip and jump a day or two and I was spending every waking hour in a record shop. Manchester, London, Birmingham – wherever the groove took me. It was at this time a school friend, Flirty Berty, invited me to join ‘Crush Pack Connection’ sound system to add a little of the so-called ‘Rare Groove’ people were eager for (after they had exhausted the wallpaper music [Lovers Rock]), with Omar’s “There’s Nothing Like This” and Stavue’s “Body Fusion” real crowd pleasers.

But what of the jazz I hear you ask? Well the all-dayers had a jazz room and the likes of Chris Reid were playing unbelievable music with only a handful of dancers at the time. I had not a clue what any of the music was. Even resting the album covers on top of the record boxes for me to see made no difference – I hadn’t heard of any of it.

Boss-Trios

With no internet, magazines or even friends into this music, I had no chance of finding the music I really dug. Yeah there were endless Robbie Vincent shows and the odd Gilles Peterson gig but without the all-dayers I really was left out in the cold.

Powerhouse

It was also in 1990 that I was invited on to Metro FM to do a pirate radio jazz show with my good friend, Donald Palmer, and together we played Roy Ayers, Jon Lucien, Airto, Tania Maria etc. to the Birmingham black community. This took me off to do a show alone on Power FM and then PCRL (the longest running pirate radio station). From there in 1993 I set up VIBE magazine – our first issue hit the streets on January 1st, but after a few issues we noticed Quincy Jones had launched his own magazine of the same name so added the UK prefix to stop any confusion.. ha!

I’ve added a bunch of my 90s radio shows to http://www.thepiratearchive.net if you fancy a laugh (at my expense).

decoy-1996Just 17 issues later and we had interviewed Archie Shepp, Nnenna Freelon, Carmen Lundy, The Roots, Nana Vasconcelos, Gary Bartz, Terry Callier, Branford Marsalis, Rachelle Farrell… well, you get the picture. I was going to Dingwalls on a Sunday, Mr. Smith in Warrington on a Wednesday, various nights around the Midlands, oh, and Rock City in Nottingham, Manchester from time to time, and the obligatory Brighton Jazz-Bop… But times were difficult. The team were hand delivering the printed magazines to record shops around the country – Tower Records, Soul Brother, Decoy, Same Beat, Soul Jazz, and so on. Yes we had great advertising and no shortage of contributors, but it was all a bit too much. Deadlines, distribution, cash-flow and Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all put a stop to the printing.

brighton-jazz-bop

Then along came ukvibe.org around 2002. We have added a few of the old articles to the site and growing each day. We are trying to fight off the advertisers – keeping it real, as they say.

I’ll be adding to this from time to time as my fading memory sparks up. The team hope you enjoy our pages. Black music is a colourful place to relax, to dance, to be.

Steve

Editor, publisher, loose leaf tea drinker, husband and father.

Steve’s 40 favourite albums of 2017:

(In no order)

Adrien Chicot – Playing In The Dark (Gaya Music Production)

Angles 9 – Disappeared Behind The Sun (Clean Feed)

Anne Quillier 6tet – Dusty Shelters (Label Pince-Oreilles)

Antonio Lizana – Oriente (Sony Music)

Black Motor – Branches (We Jazz)

Cat Toren’s Human Kind (Private Press)

Charles Lloyd New Quartet – Passin’ Thru (Blue Note)

Collocutor – The Search (On The Corner)

Esperanza Spalding – Exposure (Concord)

Frank Carlberg Large Ensemble – Monk Dreams, Hallucinations and Nightmares (Red Piano)

Georges-Edouard Nouel ‎– Chodo 1975 (Rebirth On Wax) Reissue

Ill Considered ‎– Ill Considered (Ill Considered Music)

Jaimie Branch – Fly or Die (International Anthem)

Khaled Kurbeh And Raman Khalef Ensemble – Aphorisms (Between Buttons)

Ludere – Retratos (Blaxtream)

Matteo Pastorino – Suite for Modigliani (Challenge)

Minco Eggersman – Kavkasia (Volkoren)

Nicole M. Mitchell & Haki R. Madhubuti – Liberation Narratives (Third World Press)

Nitin Sawhney – Live at Ronnie Scott’s (Gearbox)

Okay Temiz – Zikir (Ada Müzik) Reissue

Pacific Express ‎– Black Fire 1976 (Matsuli Music) Reissue

Robert Mitchell – A Vigil For Justice. A Vigil For Peace (Depth Of Field)

Salim Washington – Sankofa (Private Press)

Samuel Eagles’ SPIRIT – Ask, Seek, Knock (Whirlwind)

Shahin Novrasli – Emanation (Jazz Village)

Sibusile Xaba – Open Letter to Adoniah/Unlearning (Mushroom Hour)

Søren Nissen – Departures (Private Press)

Terje Gewelt – Wow And Flutter (Resonant Music)

Terje Rypdal – Bleak House 1968 (Round 2) Reissue

Terry Pack’s Trees – Heart of Oak (Symbol)

Timothy McNealy ‎– Funky Movement (Now-Again)

Tobias Meinhart – Silent Dreamer (Enja)

Tom Haines & The Birmingham Jazz Orchestra – Live (Private Press)

Tony Tixier – Life Of Sensitive Creatures (Whirlwind Recordings)

Toxic: Mat Walerian, Matthew Shipp, William Parker ‎– This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People (ESP Disk)

Uri Gurvich – Kinship (Jazz Family)

Verneri Pohjola – Pekka (Edition)

Wadada Leo Smith – Najwa (TUM)

Wildflower – Wildflower (Private Press)

Zephyr Avalon ‎– Zephyr Avalon (Beakerbox)

Steve’s favourite tracks of 2017:

(In no order)

Web Web – Journey to No End [LP: Oracle] Compost

Arnaud Dolmen – Tonbé Lévé [LP: Tonbé Lévé] Ma Case

Tobias Meinhart – Equality [LP: Silent Dreamer] Enja

Kondi Band – Geibai Gpanga Ne Gna [LP: Salone] Strut

Shahin Novrasli – Jungle [LP: Emanation] Jazz Village

Zephyr Avalon – Suspect [LP: Zephyr Avalon] Beakerbox

Uri Gurvich – Go Down Moses [LP: Kinship] Jazz Family

Andrew Bain – Accompaniment [LP: Embodied Hope] Whirlwind

Tony Burkill – Work Money Death [LP: Work Money Death] ATA

Eero Koivistoinen Quartet – Hallanvaara [LP: Illusion] Svart

Radio Citizen – Danse Dance [LP: Silent Guide] Sonar Kollektiv

Harold Land ‎– Dark Mood [LP: A New Shade Of Blue] WEWANTSOUNDS

Terrence Ngassa – Toupouri [LP: Ngassalogy Vol. 3] Housemaster

Jaska Lukkarinen Trio – Beauty Passing By [LP: Origami] We Jazz

Terry Pack’s Trees – Scarborough Fair [LP: Heart of Oak] Symbol

Salim Washington – A Stritch in Time [LP: Sankofa] Private Press

Art Fristoe Trio – Seventh-Four Walkup [LP: DoubleDown] Merry Lane

Terje Rypdal – Dead Man’s Tale [LP: Bleak House 1968] Round 2 reissue

The James L’Estraunge Orchestra – See You Tonight [LP: Eventual Reality] BBE

Thomas De Pourquery: Supersonic – Sons Of Love [LP: Sons of Love] Label Bleu

Angles 9 – Disappeared Behind The Sun [LP: Disappeared Behind The Sun] Clean Feed

Sugaray Rayford – Don’t Regret A Mile [LP: The World That We Live In] Blind Faith

Tony Tixier – Blind Jealousy of a Paranoid [LP: Life Of Sensitive Creatures] Whirlwind

Sibusiso “Mash” Mashiloane – I Remember Sisa [LP: Rotha: A Tribute to Mama] Private Press

Gilad Atzmon and the Orient House Ensemble – Minor Thing [LP: The Spirit of Trane] Fanfare

Irreversible Entanglements – Fireworks [LP: Irreversible Entanglements] International Anthem

Frank Carlberg Large Ensemble – Rhymes [LP: Monk Dreams, Hallucinations and Nightmares] Red Piano

Hermeto Pascoal – Casinha Pequenina [LP: Viajando Com O Som – The Lost ’76 Vice-Versa Studio Session] Far Out Recordings

Paul McCandless with the Paul Winter Consort – All The Mornings Bring [LP: Morning Sun: Adventures with Oboe] Living Music

Wadada Leo Smith – Ohnedaruth John Coltrane: The Master of Kosmic Music and His Spirituality in a Love Supreme [LP: Najwa] TUM

Steve Williams’ Best of 2016:

1. Naïssam Jalal & Rhythms of Resistance – Almot Wala Almazala (Les Couleurs Du Son)

2. Nat Birchall – Creation (Sound Soul and Spirit) Review here

3. Steinar Aadnekvam – Freedoms Trio (Losen)

4. Alchemy Sound Project – Further Explorations (Artists Recording Collective)

5. Bänz Oester & The Rainmakers – Ukuzinikela [Live in Willisau] (Enja Yellowbird) Review here

6. Nduduzo Makhathini with Umgidi Trio & One Voice Vocal Ensemble – Inner Dimensions (Gundu) Review here

7. Clarice & Sérgio Assad – Relíquia (Adventure Music) Review here

8. Samy Thiébault – Rebirth (Gaya Music Productions)

9. Trio Elf – MusicBoxMusic (Enja Yellowbird)

10. Siya Makuzeni Sextet – Out Of This World (Private Press) Review here

11. Sébastien Jarrousse – Old Fellow (Gaya Music Productions)

12. Sarathy Korwar – Day to Day (Ninja Tune / Steve Reid Foundation) Review here

13. Empirical – Connection (Cuneiform) Review here

14. Myele Manzanza – OnePointOne [Live at the Blue Whale, Los Angeles] (First Word)

15. Azymuth – Fênix (Far Out) Review here

16. Jim Snidero – MD66 (Savant)

17. Pulsar Trio ‎– Cäthes Traum (T3)

18. Spare Parts – Warehaus West Sessions (Ropeadope) Review here

19. Carlos Vega – Bird’s Ticket (Origin)

20. Arnan Raz – Second to the Left (Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit) Review here

Steve Williams’ Best of 2015:

1. Charles Lloyd – Wild Man Dance (Blue Note) Review here

2. Afrika Mkhize – Rain Dancer (Private Press) Review here

3. Ibrahim Maalouf – Kalthoum (Impulse!) Review here

4. Zim Ngqawana – Greatest Moments [Best Of] (Gallo)

5. Géraud Portal & Etienne Déconfin – Brothers (Gaya Music Production) Review here

6. Nat Birchall – Invocations (Jazzman) Review here

7. Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet – Family First (Beat Music Productions) Review here

8. Fabiano do Nascimento – Dança dos Tempos (Now-Again) Review here

9. Makaya McCraven – In The Moment (International Anthem) Review here

10. Artyom Manukyan – Citizen (Ghost Note) Review here

11. Lucas Arruda – Solar (Favorite France) Review here

12. Brian Ellis Group – Escondido Sessions (El Paraiso) Review here

13. Sebastian Studnitzky – Memento (Contemplate)

14. Nate Wooley – (Dance to) The Early Music (Clean Feed)

15. Kenny Wheeler – Songs for Quintet (ECM) Review here

16. Gael Horellou – Synthesis (DTC) Review here

17. Emanative – The Light Years of The Darkness (Steve Reid Foundation / Brownswood) Review here

18. Pó de Café Quarteto – Amérika (Private Press)

19. Donny McCaslin – Fast Future (Grean Leaf)

20. Verneri Pohjola – Bullhorn (Edition) Review here

Astral Travelling Since 1993