My formative musical influences as a child were eclectic and included Marvin Gaye, Irish and Scottish folk and general pop music. By the mid-late 1970s I was beginning to develop more individual tastes and this included listening to the soulful side of disco and independent modern soul. I was just a little too young to ever sample northern soul in it’s golden heyday. The early 1980s was a period of intense listening and discoveries thanks to the likes of Richard Searling and Colin Curtis, the latter of whom’s ‘Jazz Breaks’ bridged the gap between instrumental and vocal music for me. Like many, I initially started with jazz fusion (Herbie Hancock, Fuse One), but quickly developed a passion for Brazilian jazz fusion with George Duke’s ‘A Brazilian Love Affair’ a seminal recording. This opened my ears to a whole new sphere of influence and directly led on to other discoveries from Elis Regina and Tania Maria to the more esoteric hues of Hermeto Pascoal. Latin music started to exert its enduring influence also with Mongo Santamaria, Cal Tjader and the pared down Latin Jazz Ensemble of Tito Puente entering my musical life.
While an undergraduate I began to make musical connections thanks to a student exchange with Cameroon, but it was in fact salsa that I discovered with the Fania All Stars and Celia Cruz’s visit to and concert in Kinshasa, Zaire, as part of Muhammad Ali’s ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ the pretext of a long-term Latin music love affair. It was also the first time I heard African music from Francis Bebey (plus a Fela Kuti vinyl album courtesy of DJ Paul Murphy’s then shop) and that alerted my ears to music from the African continent. My active participation in music began as a student as president and founding member (plus DJ) of a soul and jazz-funk music society and during this tenure the likes of Gil Scott-Heron, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five as well as Light of The World all visited and were well received. Equally I attended my very first blues and jazz festival in 1983, viewing Dudu Pukwana and Big Joe Duskin. By the mid 1980s the first year I lived in south-west France expanded my interest in all forms of Latin music and in the classic French chanson tradition, and my first proper job in 1988 took me back to Manchester where I once again became heavily involved in Brazilian culture more generally, from the literature of Bahian Jorge Amado to meeting Airto Moreira and Flora Purim in person while at a concert. By the beginning of the 1990s I was regularly attending festivals in mainland Europe, throughout France (Marciac, Nice, Vienne) and several trips to the North Sea Festival then in the Hague. My knowledge of African music grew exponentially thanks to sharing digs with students from Algeria, Mali and Senegal, and a second year living and working in France enabled me to establish contacts within the Paris and eastern French jazz community and attending further festivals (Nancy Jazz Pulsations, Paris). As a postgraduate, initiation into salsa dance technique from Panamanian sisters led on to Rubén Blades and other Fania greats and a first glimpse at Colombian salsa when Social Affairs Secretary of the Latin American society and visiting the early 1990s London Latin festival. By the mid-1990s I was DJing once again with a Colombian colleague and improving my knowledge of classic Latin music and then I received an invitation to write for a publication called UK Vibe. This would be the start of a carer in music journalism, though it had actually started in earnest in south-west France writing for a student magazine in Toulouse. By the mid-2000 period I began working for the Manchester Evening News on the arts review, writing music reviews and was proud of showcasing a Mexican roots anthology which then served as the musical backdrop to the Latin American and Spanish Film Festival. Subsequently, I have covered numerous festivals and concerts. I remain committed to searching for new musical beats and expanding my cultural and musical horizons and being part of the UK Vibe has enabled me to achieve precisely that.
Tim Stenhouse’s Best of 2015:
Partikel ‘String Theory’ (Whirlwind) Review here
Cheikh Lo ‘Balbalou’ (Chapter Two) Review here
Marcus Miller ‘Afrodeezia’ (Blue Note) Review here
Tigran Hamsayan and Yerevan State Chamber Choir ‘Luys I Luso’ (ECM) Review here
The Robert Glasper Trio – Live at Capitol Studios: Covered (Blue Note)
Various ‘Amplificador, Novissima Musica Brasileira: The Brazilian 10’s Generation’ (Far Out) Review here
Allen Toussaint ‘Allen Toussaint: The Real Thing 1970-1975’ (Raven) Review here
Various ‘Sam Records Anthology’ (Harmless) Review here
Various ‘Jazz in Polish Cinema. Out of the underground 1958-1967’ (Jazz in Film) Review here
Jack Costanzo ‘Mr Bongo’ (Jazzman) Review here
John Coltrane ‘A Love Supreme: The Complete Masters’ (Impulse!)