The second instalment in the Mod Jazz series conjures up the ultra-hip mod scene in an era when the DJ was experimenting with the musical taste of his audience by rediscovering new dance sounds from the 50s and 60s. This trend launched many DJs into searching out the more obscure offshoots of the traditional soul and R&B mod sounds of Tamla Motown and Atlantic Records - thus discovering blues, ska and jazz.
The music that was prevalent on the 80s Mod scene was never viewed as merely 'nostalgic', it was considered more of a continuation in the progressive attitude of the 60s. Although the classic Mod tracks that were already well known provided the backbone of the music scene, the Mod lifestyle dictated the necessity to seek out tunes had seldom been heard before.
The constant quest for elitism brought about the discovery of many fresh and exciting tunes that had previously remained undiscovered - possibly since they were first released.
The labels featured in this collection, such as Riverside, Prestige and Battle, are excellent examples of specialist labels producing first class originals as well as foot stomping cover versions that kept the dance floors of clubs like Sneakers, the Outrigger and the 100 Club heaving with bodies twitching to the hip-bending beats of years gone by.
The pace is set by the big band soul sounds of Johnny Griffin. The Hammond organ grooves of Freddie Roach carry it through into the city blues of Junior Wells and BB King. We shimmy around the outskirts of town with the urban blues from the likes of Lightnin' Hopkins and Mose Allison, sliding into the Latin jazz conga beats of such luminaries as Mongo Santamaria and Henry "Pucho" Brown. Mellow modern jazz in the form of Johnny Lytle and vocalist Mark Murphy soothe the soul in time to bring us smoothly back down to earth from jazz heaven. Nice...really nice.
by Richard Early