I was putting together a jazz-dance set and found a fairly interesting website on the UK Jazz-dance scene in the 1980s. Don’t know if it’s of interest to anyone here, but this is DJ History, so…
The site itself looks rather dated and isn’t optimized for mobile, which is a bit frustrating if you’re accessing through your phone. But it has some interviews with DJs and clubbers and dancers, and some good detail including videos from some of the clubs. During the pre-house era, jazz-dance felt like a contender on the urban nightlife circuit, with some associated bands breaking through into the charts (perhaps most notably Working Week), and it had a clear influence on the whole acid jazz scene in the late-80s/early-90s. I may be wrong on this, but I think it became a bit like Northern Soul - an almost exclusively revivalist scene that seemed to stop bringing in new listeners and dancers. DJ’s like Mark ‘Snowboy’ Cotgrove keep it alive, pushing new artists or modern tracks that fit the established musical mould, but I suspect that the scene is now largely based around annual weekenders full of middle-aged people. I hope I’m wrong about that as some of the music is vibrant, lively and musically strong and I’ve enjoyed revisiting some of the sounds. I recall the scene garnering a bit of interest around the broken beat/nu-jazz era in the early 00s when labels like Freestyle began releasing lots of modern Jazz-dance tracks, but after that it just seemed to fade. Or maybe I was the one who faded…?? My wife would have an opinion on this, for sure.
For the uninitiated, the music was largely uptempo afro-latin-cuban, bop, swing, or danceable funky jazz-fusion tracks. My recollection was that it grew out of the jazz-funk and post-punk scenes in the UK during the early 80s. Dance styles drew heavily from jazz, latin, and capoeira, and had a clear influence on the streetdance scene.
If you’ve got anything to add (anecdotally or musically), stick it here! Otherwise I’ll keep myself amused with the occasional post (we’re only allowed to do 3 in a row, so help me out if i get stuck after 3…)