“Hello, we are CBQ, the name is TBC, I’m CLB, we don’t stop – and if you wanna go to the tip top – put the jazz back in Hip Hop....."
is what I meant to say. In the event, I said something like that.
Over the past week or so, we’ve been quietly preparing a brand new surprise performance – and so it was, on Wednesday: the debut of The Clayton Blizzard Quartet, at Gallimaufry’s on Gloucester Road.
The name chosen initially was this simple description (trying to channel Miles Davis, or one of them cool fellas from the past…) but the more popular choice is Clayton Blizzard & The Boys From Marketing, which has so far met with unanimous approval.
The idea was to create a Jazz/Hip Hop Quartet to play my Folk Rap songs. I know what you're thinking, and you're right: written like that it does seem far-fetched…but I reckon we pulled it off. Down to some top-fucking-notch work from these Marketing whizz kids, yeah?
And we’re going to do it again. Oh yes.
The band is built around the piano show GrayDog and I have been working for the last year or so – with the addition of a rhythm section, in the shape of A-Dog (bass) and Fitz (drums).
We have jammed a few times before - mostly at festivals, with the inimitable People’s Front Room, but never playing these songs and never with this line-up. All three members of TBFM are also in a ruddy good band called Bombs, and I’ve guested with them over the last couple of years, so it’s a symbiotic relationship (that’s the kind of thing we say in marketing, OK?)
Still, we had one practice, the night before the gig. It’s a jam band really, on a polished improvisation tip, for those who remember their GCSE Drama Studies (“Studies” has a pompous ring to it, in retrospect, but hey, I’m not gonna bullshit you OK, I’m a bit pretentious – so just bloody SHOOT me, OK?)
The night started in fine style with Chuman, with whom I’ve shared a stage or two. This kid’s got potential. I think we could bring him into the fold, work with him, get his look just right, make a shit-tonne of money. And then, just like, chill with the G’s back in Hounslow, riiight?
But seriously, it was great, check him out. When I stepped up to stage to tune the old mandolin (which can take anywhere between 30 seconds and 30 minutes), the boys (led by GrayDog, of course), ran some smooth jazz while people wondered if we’d started or not: Is this the show, is this the new thing?
Well, yeah. We’re not here to bullshit you, OK? We’re just a bunch of guys who love jazz and play in a kick-ass band with this rapper. Sure, he’s rough around the edges, but we’re gonna work with him, bring him into the fold, get him on message and really shove this thing right up there. And make a shit-tonne of money.
The night was, by any standards, a ripsnorting success. Everyone seemed to have a good time. Even the mandolin (which stays in tune for anywhere between 30 seconds and 30 minutes) sounded good. There were smiling faces everywhere, and for The Boys From Marketing, that spells one thing: millions of beer tokens in the bank.
So, we're gonna be hawking that good old jazzy-folkrap Hip Hop shit around ALL The Right Places: Let's take this puppy on the road.
So now The Boys From Marketing, and I, are off to Cambridge Folk Festival, with the aforementioned PFR, to blow some minds wide open and sell a fucktonne of contemporary urban music. Lots of potential here, some serious disposable income, plenty for The oys to work with.
I’ll be in polemical mode, outlining my contention that Hip Hop is urban folk music with global influences – and global influence.
Clayton Blizzard & The Boys From Marketing’s agenda for the next quarter?
Total Fucking World Domination.