Like so many other DJs, I initially started spinning tunes as an extension of my record collecting and partying, the main intention being to celebrate and promote the music that had come to be such a central part of my life, but which I still considered to be underexposed. I started collecting jazz, soul and funk in my late teens and by my mid-twenties had also started DJing occasionally in various small bars and warehouse parties. I subsequently became part of the WordofMouth DJ and party promotion team and, in many ways, this formed a template for the RIPE events which followed, at least in terms of how the events were promoted (although the two were not particularly similar in terms of musical content).
In the late eighties and early nineties I became increasingly drawn to the house sounds that were emerging from the States. The more I heard, the more this stuff simply sounded to me like the contemporary expression of many of the best aspects of black music, but with a renewed commitment to inspire people to dance.
Since then, of course, dance and club culture has exploded and now dominates popular music. Unfortunately, this great lurch into the mainstream and the grasp of corporate control caused much of the underground spirit and true soul of great dance music to be nudged aside in favour of...well, you know the score. But there are enough of us out there whose passion for music goes well beyond euro-cheese, poptastic plastic, recycled rock, and lazy nostalgia. I figured if I gained so much enjoyment from these fantastic tunes then others would too. I suppose all of us who enjoy spinning tunes for other people to hear (and maybe dance to) are evangelists at heart, desperate to spread the word.
So jazzBabi Productions was conceived of as a means to cover any of the activities (of myself and friends) designed to promote contemporary dance music of depth, emotion and creativity, music that I perceived as growing from the rich and diverse traditions of great black music - a thoroughly modern blend of soul, funk, jazz, disco and dub. Whatever. Real house music.
Now I guess that may sound a bit worthy - but these things only really make sense when you can share them and in the end that means ya got to go out, spread the vibe, and party! It was this that inspired the RIPE nights that ran from 1998-2001, and a whole lot more since (click here for sample flyers).
More recently, it's been gratifying to see the same feeling and attitude shared by so many others. It's given me the chance to spin next to many like-minded DJs, and reminded of me of what moved and motivated me in the first place: the soul, the funk, the spirit, and the groove...and the desire to share it.
Finally, last year I decided to dump the jazzBabi Productions moniker to pursue a series of new projects and collaborations, and it is those to which this site will be devoted.