Saturday, May 31, 2008

Down To The Bone @ Southport Arts Centre 1/6/08

Down To The Bone feature Simon.T.Bramley -Bass and banter/Jamie.M.Harris - Tenor and alto sax/ Tim Smart -Trombone/Graeme Flowers - Trumpet/Phil Nelson - Drums/ Tommy Emmerton -Guitar/Neil Burditt - Keyboards/ Stuart Wade and occasional DJ’ing.

The group's MySpace blurb says:

Down To The Bone is Stuart Wade as producer , writer and mastermind behind the whole groove project .Set up at the tail end of 1995 when Wade decided to take a track from the soul band he was in at the time , Think Twice , and remix it to give it a more rawer and stripped down feel . The result was the Down To The Bone remix of the track ‘Joy Is Free’ which was in the top 10 playlist of Kiss FM for weeks on end and resulted in widescale DJ support in the U.K and Europe.

The name also came about from a London club that Stuart went to at the time called ‘To The Bone’ at the Villa Stefano in Holborn, London, run by DJ’s Simon Dunmore , Bob Jones , Mark Webster , Bob Masters and a whole host of others playing funky grooves .Wade frequented many venues and clubs of that time including Martin Lewin’s popular ‘Floorshaker events, co –hosted by other DJ’s including Chris Bangs ,Gilles Peterson and Chris Brown . At the time Wade wanted to take his experiences of these nights and his love for groove music and turn them into a project. He wanted to try to inject some new fresh and funky grooves into a scene that shortly afterwards would start to mellow out with the whole smooth side of things .He wanted to show that the funky side of Jazz groove was still popular and at the same time pay homage to those artists from the past and present who had inspired him to start DTTB .

So, following on from the success of his remix he teamed up with Think Twice keyboard player, Simon Greenaway, to put together a string of songs .This resulted in the first release on a 12” of “Staten Island Groove” .It was released on Internal Bass Records , a label Wade set up with another member of Think Twice , and now ex-business partner, Chris Morgans .This resulted in a huge success and drew the imagination of many DJ’s and magazines resulting in rave reviews for the single and loads of club and radio play in the U.K .Shortly after this Wade and Greenaway recorded the second single featuring “Muesli Brown”, which followed in the light of the first .It was at this time that Stuart could see the opportunity in front of him and decided to try to complete an album .Sadly ,Simon Greenaway was unable to commit to the project so Wade had to branch out looking for future musicians to work with , whilst still working with Internal Bass Partner Chris Morgans , from the label side .This resulted in the introduction of musicians like Richard Sadler , Richard Wargent , Neil Cowley ,Tim Best and later Paul ‘Shilts’ Weimar’ on the second album “The Urban Grooves”.

After the completion of the first album “From Manhattan To Staten” , a title Wade came up with to show his influences came mostly from across the pond , it was decided to try to take the whole sound over to America to see what would happen .Not expecting anything , Wade was astounded by the huge response after two important guys at U.S. radio decided to take it upon themselves to play DTTB on their stations .They were Blake Lawrence and Steve Williamson , who gave DTTB their first radio break in the U.S and with support from people like DJ Chillfreeze , Marc E Copeland, Rick Laboy, Cozmic Cat and Andrea ‘DJ Sun .It was clear that the radio scene was stagnant in the U.S and the audience were desperate for something different to latch on to and DTTB happened to be in the right place at the right time. The momentum grew in America resulting in “From Manhattan To Staten” reaching No.2 in the National US Billboard Jazz Chart , No.3 in the Gavin Jazz chart and No 4 in the Radio and Records Jazz Chart .Not bad for an act that is not strictly Jazz. DTTB was also the No.1 top selling independent Jazz artist of 1999 , No 5 top selling Jazz artist and album of 1998 and No 5 top selling Jazz artist and album in 1999 and with a string of radio hits in the U.S

It shows how DTTB have been able to accumulate well over half a million sales worldwide across their albums. Astonishingly a lot of this success has been down to word-of mouth , with people taking it upon themselves to ‘spread the word’. So then on to a string of successful releases with “The Urban Grooves” in 98 and “Spread The Word” in 2000 , but not being content with that Wade also recorded a new project ,he set up, called ‘The New Jazz Hustlers’ with their album in 2000. These were to be his last recordings on Internal Bass Records. Wade decided to make a split from his business partner , Morgans , and happily signed to Verve Records to enable him to record his forth album “Crazy Vibes and Things” in 2002. With more and more demands for live appearances DTTB was becoming a well established act , especially in the U.S . So much so that Wade had to concentrate on the U.S for the live side of things , much to his frustration at not being able to gig in his home country of the U.K as much as he would like .But after a short spell on Verve Wade decided to move on and sign with his current label Narada/Blue Note where he has recorded his last two albums “Cellar Funk” and “Spread Love Like Wildfire” and is now completing his seventh , “Supercharged” due for release in May 2007 .It has always been Wade’s aim to pay respect to his mentors and he is thrilled to actually be working with some of them as guests on his albums .Such greats as , Rueben Wilson , Brian Auger , Jeremy Steig , Flora Purim and future guest Roy Ayers and also current artists such as the multi talented vocalists like N’Dambi , Hil St Soul and Guida De Palma . With DTTB’s new album “Supercharged” nearing completion it is hard to believe that the project has been making records for just over ten years .

With the release of “Supercharged” in May 07 DTTB will mark a milestone in it’s life as Wade is about to acquire the rights back to the first three albums from Internal Bass , resulting in the release of “The Best Of” in Jan 07 and the re-release of the first three albums in the summer of 07, all on Narada/Blue Note , making that year a prominent one for the act. Wade continues to be amazed at the thought of being able to ‘live his hobby’ and never takes anything for granted .As he says “ you are only as successful as your last album so you never know how long it will last. So you must make the most of it while it is there and as long as you can stand up and say you did your best then no one can take that away from you”.

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