BACKGROUND TO AN URBAN JAZZ MASTERPIECE
It all started after Charlie (6’ 8”) Tate graduated from the London School of Furniture. Approached by the infamous Paris based Big Cheese Records to form a funk band, and Big Cheese All Stars was born! 2 singles, an album and several extensive stints of touring and supporting the likes of Don Blackman, Roy Ayers, Gil Scott-Heron, Fred Wesley AND James Brown put an end to a career in bespoke cabinet making. A future immersed in the funk, the soul and the jazz seemed assured. While still with the All Stars, an opportunity to play bass in Neneh Cherry’s band arose and the best part of a year was spent on the road touring her “Woman“album. A lot of fun was had. A lot of drinking was done. But the love of the funk, the soul and the jazz prevailed. Unfortunately the sheer size of what the All Stars had become essentially caused its demise, putting eleven plus personnel on the road became a logistical liability.
Just about then with a bit of folding in the pocket, the idea of forming a record company began to take shape. Your people, King Kooba, had been in existence for some time now, the first releases having been released on a subsidiary of the aforementioned Big Cheese Records. But the thought of an autonomous vessel for representing the Kooba and several other projects seemed too good to resist. Enter Second Skin Records, and what a productive lot they turned out to be! Roughly 30 singles and 12 albums, not a bad output from a hybrid label offering all manner of styles from drum and bass, beats, ambient bizniss, electronica and breaks. Pretty much most of what was going on at the time, perhaps the varied style of the label, but particularly what the Kooba were up to, appealed to San Francisco’s Om Records. Several licenses, then an album and a relationship with Om had been cemented. With the release of “Indian Summer” in the fall of 02’, a man like Charlie decided his fate lay in the Bay area…..
The rest as they say is history! A hook up with Om’s press officer Gunnar Hissam and a shared obsession of all things that contain the funk, the soul, and the jazz started a weekly serving of all the above at a local hostelry deemed Slow Gin. Combined with plenty of refreshing beverages, and all the deepest jazz and soul they could get their hands on, many of Oakland’s finest came to hang out and check the sounds. Even the OPD were known to roll up in a squad car just to listen to the vibes….for real! Then just about last call, oh shit, open mic! Much of what Colossus is about, originated right there! Contacts, MC’s, Musicians, all gathered and vibing to the sounds. Colossus – Tate’s Oakland based hip hop collective was born! Bay Area MC’s: Capitol A, Azeem, Regi B & Delphi along with London’s own Hilton Smythe (AKA Roots Manuva) all joined in on the fun. The results: “West Oakland” – an urban jazz masterpiece hits the streets on October 25th.
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