Afro Cuban jazz drummer, bandleader who has produced 11 albums and 17 singles, concert player the world over, DJ, music promoter, and journalist Mark Cotgrove (better known as Snowboy) gives us a history of jazz in the United Kingdom and its impact on the UK club scene. Well positioned to do that because he was there for a lot of it, Snowboy has put together what is probably the most complete guide to the British club scene of the last forty years ever to see print. From Jazz Funk & Fusion to Acid Jazz is the product of more than just research. It’s also the product of life and personal experience. That said, it includes a lot of great interviews, charts and tables and statistics, and exploration of the impact of jazz dance on later developments in music from punk to acid house, and the Afro-Caribbean roots of jazz and its interaction with white working-class Brits to produce a fusion sound.
Across the ocean and back again, a musical transformation
Maybe the best way to give a feel of From Jazz Funk & Fusion to Acid Jazz is by dropping some names. Here is a partial list of the people you’ll encounter in Snowboy’s fine history: Michel Legrand, Art Blakey, Flora Purim, Byron Morris, Jane Cortez, Lonnie Liston Smith, Janet Lawson, Herbie Hancock, Jon Lucien, Fela, McCoy Tyner, Sivuca – that’s only a small sampler. The book gives an interesting perspective on how jazz dance jumped the Atlantic and then back again, how jazz, which had its birth in the New World, underwent a bubbling transition in the cauldron of English club music and club dance, and then crossed the sea again to emerge in New York City clubs and bands like Groove Collective and Dana Bryant and musical currents like hip-hop, migrating back across the continent all the way to the West Coast and evolving further as it traveled.