Seymour and I met way back in 1984, at an obscure pub called, "The Belvedere Arms". Little did we know that here would begin a worldwide Jazz phenomenon. Jazz Dance started earlier, but "The Belvedere" was where Gilles Peterson first came to prominence.
Crowds danced to Jon Lucien, Sergio Mendes, Cal Tjader, "Bossa to Latin" and most things in between. Not long after, the "Jazz Juice" series started ,and went global, tapping into an expectant new desire for quality music.
Nobody missed Sundays at "The Belvedere", because this is where it was really happening. My week revolved around Sundays, as did many others. From there Gilles, Kevin Beadle, Joe Davis, Patrick Forge, and Chris Bangs, started to branch out, "Cock Happy", "The Wag", "Do at the Zoo", "Dingwalls" etc.
Suddenly Jazz was hip again, and many tried to get on the rollercoaster, but the diehards wanted fast tunes to groove to. The "Bass Clef" (Blue Note) at Hoxton on Sundays, "Hi Hat", "Messin Around", all played their part in keeping the Jazz Dance scene alive.
"Jazz 90" in the Art Rooms, kicking it to Shihib Shihab, everyone there for the love of the music, and each other. I've made many great friends, and after 22 years, I'm still there pushing my frail body to the limit. I like Jazz dance because it pushes me to the edge, sweat dripping, muscles aching, the "Electric Ballroom reunion", left me off work for two days, I was gone.
I can't do the pyrotechnics anymore, for I have a really bad knee, and muscle problems. My balance has gone too, although I was offerred a place at the "Royal Ballet school" when I was 14, halcyon days. Many people are unaware that I am a fully trained classical dancer, I did 7 years at ballet school., on a scholarship.
I met Nureyev in 1981, and still go the ballet regularly. My favourite dancer is Mikhail Baryshnikov, a true genius, and Sammy Davis Jnr my favourite entertainer. "Dingwalls reunion was amazing, heavy Jazz Dance tunes, which everybody went mad too, brilliant afternoon.
I felt so good afterwards, as Seymour and I and few of the boys went for a pizza. This site is special because Jazz is a serious art form, and Seymour and myself want new people to know about the past as its crucial to the furtherance of the music.
Please check my "Jazz Dancers Top Ten", as there will probably be some tunes that you are not familiar with. As Janet Lawson says in her classic, "Harolds House of Jazz", "Real Jazz is for the folks who feel Jazz".
Jazz dancing is for people of all standards, and abilities, so don't be afraid of making a fool of yourself, that's how you learn. Come and say hello, I wont bite, Tjader.
My top jazz dance tunes, they are not in order of precedence, Tjader.
So High- Janet Lawson Quintet
Southern Roots- Michel Legrand
Mambo Mindoro- Cal Tjader
Caravan (Drums on Fire)- Art Blakey
Song Of The Yellow River- Cal Tjader
Pao De Acucar- Pacific Jam (Featuring Flora Purim)
Wild Rice- Eddie Lockjaw Davis with the Ray Barretto Latin Section
Caravan- Johnny Scott Quintet
Om Mani Padme Hum- Shahib Shihab And Francy Boland
DINGWALLS "TALKING LOUD" REUNION 2011
We met at Camden Town as usual for the Pre "Dingwalls" Drink Club, "The Whitby Samba Crew", and "The Wimbledon Samba Crew", thirteen of us. As it was to be my 50th birthday on December the 9th, we decided to make it special. As we entered, I saw Jeanine, took me back to Belvedere days, she's great, always pleased to see everyone. As I entered, Patrick was spinning fusion heaven, "Grandma's Rocking Chair", "North Station", "Karma", "Bamboo", the killer Colombian fusion classic. Lots of faces from the past and new faces too.
It all took off when Art Blakey's "A La Mode" came on, frenetic bodies pulsating to his incessant rhythm. Everybody mouthing the lyrics to Janet Lawson's "Shazam", a little played gem. Unusual track of the day was a personal favourite, "Love For Sale" by Mel Torme with a blistering scat vocal, even Ella got played.
Latin fever blew the place apart when Clare Fischer's dance floor earthquake "Descarga Yema-Ya" from Salsa Picante started a crowd of writhing Bacchanalian dancers, love it. Lots of love in the room, and a guest singer Gregory Porter with a probable future classic "1960 What?", singing over the record as Gilles played the decks.
My good friend DJ Harv was enjoying himself too, check out his awesome show on Point Blank 90.2 FM Tuesday mornings, superb music, a must for any jazz fan. Anyway after imbibing far too much alchohol, including a double cognac from Gilles [after 26years of following him, I bloody deserve it], we hit a local pizza, much laughter and joy.
Missed Seymour this year and a few others, but I'll be there next November, god willing. Please come and say hello, Jazz is my religion, and I always go to church, Tjader.
DINGWALLS "TALKING LOUD" REUNION 2010
Sunday Novemer 14th dawned, my friend from Jazz 90's days was down from Newcastle, a cultural desert, he says. A good session at my house, Tjader, Murphy, Flora friends got us in the mood. Twelve mad jazz nuts met in pub, laughter ensued. Patrick was spinning some classics as we entered, old friends came to say hello, brilliant expectant crowd.
I woke up when "Waiting on the Corner" came on, Charlie Rouse, tune after tune followed, I was in the zone. Band played "Salsa Picante", and flute on Tjader number, loving it, great Timbale and Conga solos.
Superb band, best I've heard in ages, who needs X-Factor? Looked around, everyone dancing, happy faces everywhere, can't beat it. Towards the end Gilles went two step, Hutson's "All Because of You", "Stay", Herbie's "I thought it was You", joy unending on a cold and miserable London Town day.
Took three newbies, they want to come next year, so my job done, more converts. Lots of people missing, Rocky, Sarah, Seymour, Gary etc, but there in spirit. Anyway, have Coltrane playing "Equinox" in background, reflective jazz, see you all next year, Tjader.
DINGWALLS "TALKING LOUD" REUNION 2009
Well a year had passed, today was the day, not even the driving rain was going to stop everybody from getting to Camden Town, the jazz was calling, we were mere slaves to its rhythms.
Nine of us, five Belvedere boys, met in Worlds End. Had a few liveners, and off we set up for it big time. The place was kicking, with the dancers spinning to "Vera Cruz", the samba was setting the pace.
Well Herbie Mann's "New York Is a Jungle Festival" let rip, soon the pulsating beat of Carlos Patato's percussion filled the room, even a legless man has to dance to this, awesome rhythm.
Lovely to see Beadle, Gary Nurse, Afro, and lots of other serious dancers, and the boys from Bristol, burning the dance floor, when the be -bop fired on.
I think the biggest track was Quartet Tres Bien, played from the first "Jazz Juice" twenty five years ago, and still moving the crowd, after all this time.
As always, a brilliant vibe, and friendly crowd, still makes this the hippest scene as far as I'm concerned. Anyway, as I've always told people once your into jazz, it's a life sentence, I dont want parole, all my love, Tjader, "The Vibe Master".
Till next year. Keep, dancin'.
DINGWALLS "TALKING LOUD" REUNION 2008
You wait all year expectantly, and then that day arrives. I got up at seven, showered to Jon Lucien, as you do, playing in the background. Pouring with rain, my two friends arrived, well you know the score.
I kicked on "Sunny Day (Live)", "Perry", the throbbing "Zanzibar" on Nicola Contes Re-Mode, and just to get out the door, "Mark Murphy and The Five Corners Quintet", big band vocals at its best.
In a euphoric mood, we got to Camden, where I met up with three old 'Belvedere' mates from 1984, Matt, Simon, and Martin. With four others we were ready, who cares about precipitation, when Flora's vocals drift across Camden Lock
Well it lived up to its reputation. Everybody was having a great time when "Silk", Fuse One came on, straight out of the closet... no prisoners Jazz. Well it was kicking, then an all time favourite, Ronnie April's "Snowflake", Clare Fischer's "Salsa Picante", old school, but sounded like we were in Spanish Harlem.
But "Los Conquistadores Chocolates" just blew the system, sounded unbelievable. A few faces missing, but my drummer friend Mark, a Gilles virgin I might add, said he arrived in Heaven. I said I've had 24 years of this, and I'm still buzzing.
Lot's of lovely people, sad to see Patrick off to Japan, but I put on "Another Star", and my god it went mothership. A fantastic grey afternoon in London.
Seymour was missing, that brought me down a little, but I rung next day, and after a little chat we were ok. I'm 47 next month, and during Gilles set I looked around and was so proud of our scene, the music, the people, the vibe, 'Dingwalls will always be special to me, and many others.
Gerald and I had a quiet pizza, and I went home frazzled with the system still ringing in my head. Next day I stuck on Janet Lawson's "Sunday Afternoon", sounded so good. I just hope in ten years when Gilles, Patrick, Jeanine, Seymour, Afro, Russell, Snowboy, Phil Levene, and all my boys are in our middle fifties,
that once a year we will meet up, and dance the time away with old friends, if you can get in, as it's so popular now.
As Cal Tjader once said when asked if he considered himself an innovator, he replied, "I'm just a participator!" That's what I am, A Jazz Slut!" See you soon, Tjader, 'THE VIBE CONTROLLER'
DINGWALLS "TALKING LOUD" REUNION 2007
Well what another incredible Sunday. The furious speed of Raices "Lenguas", Poncho Sanchez's electric congas on Cal Tjaders "Mambo Mindoro" , the atomic "North Station" by Harris Simon, and Art Blakey's seminal "Night in Tunisia", it just dosent get any better.
No compromising on the quality of the music, nowhere in the world can you hear such a rich texture of sound, driving percussion, and myriad multi layered rhythms, and when Patrick dropped Stevie Wonder's "Another Star", everybody took off, a profound feeling of joy just permeated the room.
Nice to see Gary (Seymour's twin brother), Jerry Barry, Simon Mansell etc. Lots of new faces, taking it all in, the Dingwalls vibe spreading its sinewy tentacles ever further. I felt totally invigorated the next day, although a little tired, as I walked to Wimbledon to pay some bills, in my head I was there in the jazz zone.
Janet Lawson, Sahib Shihab, no time wasters please, I just love it. I'm forty six on the 9th of December, but I'll just keep on dancing till the quadraceps wither, and the brain atrophies, thats jazz, once you're in, you're in for life.
Respects from "The original Belvedere member 001", its growing still, Tjader, Founder of "The Wimbledon Samba Crew", I'm the only one still dancing, their loss, cheers Paul.
Paul "Tjader" dancing Jazz on the Point Richmond Harbour (Cailfornia), while singing the timeless, "Vera Cruz".