Classics: Blaze presents UDAUFL – We Are One (Sean McCabe Vocal Remix) (King Street)
“We are one, one in the spirit…” Not to be missed with Black Coffee‘s track of the likes. ‘We Are One’ is one of the most meaningful songs from the UDAUFL 2004 ‘Keep Hope Alive’ album… Its timeless aspect resides in the meaning of its lyrics which depict what humanity is about. In other words, a whole that gets its richness from its diversity. A fact that too many of us seem to have forgotten about, as echoed on almost everyday news…
‘We Are One’ in the meantime pretty much depicts what we’re about here on IDMW.
In charge of the remix, Bristol-based DJ/producer Sean McCabe brings it to a brand new exciting life in a bumpin’ bass-driven mood.
Download from Traxsource.
– On the heels of the 1996 released Nuyorican Soul album concept, Blaze went on to gather a collective of artists (the Underground Dance Artists United For Life) with the aim to raise funds to fight against AIDS back in 2003.
Among the participants, Arnold Jarvis, Barbara Tucker, Byron Stingily, Darryl D’Bonneau, Dawn Tallman, Joi Cardwell, Keith Thompson, Michelle Weeks, the late Sabrynaah Pope, Ultra Naté and, last but not least, Kenny Bobien.
– Blaze saw the light during the mid 80’s when Chris Herbert introduced Josh Milan to Kevin Hedge. The release of their debut-single – ‘ Yearnin’ For Love’ back in 1985 on Ace Beat Records markin’ the opening of one of the most impressive accounts in the history of House Music. Under their own guise or in terms of remixes. A long time Black Music fan, I naturally found the substance in the Jersey Sound. With props due to Joey Negro who got me into it via his ‘The Garage Sound of Deepest New York’ compilations at the time.
From then on, it would only be a matter of time before we meet. Via the late Peter Harris at Slip’N Slide where we both happened to be signed (with me as a compiler). Via the late Mel Cheren with whom they shared an office in NYC. In Miami, during the WMC. Or at the Sunslice Festival in the early 2000’s where we both happened to be spinnin’…
The first singles I got from them bring me back to the souvenir of Abigail Adams‘s Movin’ Records label. A quick listen to Phase II‘s ‘Reachin” and LaChandra‘s ‘Just Started’ which they produced got me as a definitive follower of their sound from then. But also into what Tony Humphries was championing at the time – the Jersey Sound (also known as Garage for some reason) – at the Zanzibar. They soon after would be followed by Phase II‘s second single (‘It’s A Mystery’) and Blaze‘s own ‘Can’t Win For Loosin’. Meanwhile ‘So Special’ and the subtly Reggae influenced ‘We All Must Live Together’ highlighted their debut-album. An album titled ’25 Years Later’ which Timmy Regisford who was A&Ring for Motown back then signed on the label. Chris Herbert deciding to go his own way the year after.
It would take 7 years before the arrival of its follow up – ‘Basic Blaze’ – on Slip’N Slide. The latter featuring the classic ‘My Beat’ which Swag managed to brilliantly remix, and also ‘Wishin’ You Were Here’.
Blaze released their third opus – ‘Natural Blaze’ featuring James Tooney, Jr. – 4 years after on Japanese label Life Line. This time delivering gems such as ‘How Deep Is Your Love’ and ‘Better Days’. Not to mention the Latinesque ‘Elevation’ and the abyssal ‘Lovely Ones’. They eventually shared once more the duties with James Tooney, Jr. the following year on ‘Wonderland’ (BAAS Records).
In the interval, they would also make quite a sensation with ‘Lovelee Dae’. One of their biggest classics, from their 1996 ‘Trans-Jazz’ EP on Simplex Records.
Blaze delivered ‘Spiritually Speakin” that same year (in 2002) on Slip’N Slide. An album which is mostly remembered for ‘Do You Remember House’ and ‘Breathe’ which Ashley Beedle eventually reedited on its single releease. I gotta say I never understood why the label didn’t release the outstanding ‘Sweeter Than The Day Before’ though.
In the meantime, the twosome had started collaborating with NYC Nitegrooves label. Venturing in Afrobeat territories on ‘Seasons Of Love’. But also enlightening us with the soothing ‘Shine’ along with Palmer Brown. The early 2000’s seeing them jamming along with ‘Little’ Louie Vega on ‘Elements Of Life’. A track which would mark the start of regular collaborations between them. With ‘Brand New Day’ comin’ up in 2002. But also ‘Love Is On The Way’ and ‘Sunshine’ along with Raúl Midón. Then ‘Love Remains The Same’ with Luisito Quintero in 2007 on Vega Records. Kevin Hedge sharing the duties with Vega at their Roots NYC weekly party. And Josh Milan becoming a member of Louie‘s Elements Of Life band after Blaze decided to split in the second half of the 2000’s.
The list would be incomplete without a mention to Blaze‘s UDAUFL concept album. A project which they’d put together in order to raise finds against the AIDS. It saw them collaborating with a plethora of artists. From Ultra Naté to Byron Stingily. Not to mention Kenny Bobien or Arnold Jarvis to name but a very few. Therefore givin’ birth to gems such as ‘We Are One’, ‘Wonderful Place’ and ‘Hiya Love’ among others. This in addition to ‘Most Precious Love’, ‘Keep Hope Alive’ and ‘Be Yourself’ which Peppe Citarella brilliantly remixed in early 2018. Meanwhile, they would also venture into Bossa Jazz territories, eventually releasing ‘Found Love’ on West End.
Blaze also happened to be quite active on the remix front. Delivering outstanding reworks such as ‘People Hold On’ for Coldcut featuring Lisa Stansfield or ‘Take A Stand For Love’ for Gerideau. But also ‘Rose Rouge’ for St Germain, ‘Changin” for Linda Clifford or ‘Star Suite’ for Mondo Grosso. Not to mention ‘Love’s Been Right Here’ for Stephanie Cooke & Kenny Bobien, ‘Resurrect Me’ for Marty Thomas and ‘Wish I Didn’t Miss You’ for Angie Stone. In addition to ‘Only You’ for DJ Jorj and Gary Pinto and ‘Can’t Get Away’ for Mood II Swing. And the list goes on with Dawn Tallman‘s ‘Save A Place On The Dance Floor For Me’ to name a few.
Last but not least, let’s not forget their collab with Tee Alford, Allen Jeffrey and Cassio Ware under the Funky People guise. The latter givin’ birth to a bunch of gems including the memorable… ‘Funky People’ back in 1995.
Josh Milan runs his Honeycomb Music label nowadays along with Adam Cruz. He has recently released a solo album titled ‘6.9.69’.
– Sean McCabe lives in a city – Bristol – where the sound has always had a meaning. Whatever the genre may be at the end. And God knows how the man has set up a clear identity wherever he might have put his hands.
Born in 1985, McCabe saw the light along with House Music. And, by that, belongs to the second generation of actors in that scene. Although givin’ a listen to his already quite consistent repertoire makes you realize it’s way more than that. That ‘that’ bringin’ us to McCabe‘s signature itself. Made of a blend of Soul, Funk and atmospheric vibes over some blowin’ groove where the infectiousness most likely prevails.
Therefore, no wonder why Sean has become a regular on these shores. With his own productions as with his remixes. Thus bringin’ us to welcome many of them as our ‘Single Of The Week’.
McCabe crafted his first production by the age of 17. This under the Southern Divide back in 2003 with the Latinesque ‘Ate O Amanhecer (Until The Dawn)’ in 2003. And even from then you could realize that he had the style. With this eventually gettin’ him to bring 11am‘s ‘Give It Up’ to a stellar dimension soon after for Soulfulric Deep, then to remix ‘Resist’ for Roland Clark on Fluential.
2008 marked the start of what would be a regular collaboration with King Street. This with his remix of Dennis Ferrer‘s ‘Run Free’. But also his rework of ‘Take Me’ for Soulstar Syndicate feat. Dawn Tallman. Then how to not think of his revamps of Blaze presents UDAUFL? From ‘Wonderful Place’ featuring Ultra Naté to ‘We Are One’… Or of the blowin’ ‘Pick It Up’ for Carolyn Harding to name but a few.
With his sound establishing itself as a signature if not an evidence from a release to another. Beginning with his firing rework of ‘God Created Woman’ for Teddy Douglas and Margaret Grace (Save Your Soul). But also his retouch of ‘All This Love That I’m Givin’ for Belezamusica back in 2010 (Soul Love). And ‘Race Of Survival’ for Mekkah feat. Stephen Granville for the same label the year after. This in addition to Nova Fronteira‘s cover version of Roy Ayers‘ ‘Everybody Loves The Sunshine’ here again for the Soul Love label in 2012. Eventually bringin’ ‘Passin Thru’ for Poussez VS Demarkus Lewis into another dimension during the same year. But also turnin’ Nathan Adams‘ ‘I Wonder’ into like a Summer breeze in 2013.
Another year on – (2014) – and McCabe delivered his debut-album – ‘It’s Time’ – on Joey Negro‘s Z Records label. An effort featuring goodies such as ‘Tomorrow’s Another Day’ along with Donae’O and ‘Reach Out’ featuring Hannah Khemoh of the HanLei fame. Not to mention the aptly titled ‘Everything’s Alright’ as fronted by Erick Dillard. Or the aerial ‘Who’s Foolin’ You’ along with the late Diane Charlemagne.
Another two years this time – (2016) – and McCabe would launch his own imprint. This by the likes of Good Vibrations Music, opening his account along with Mike City on the vibrant ‘I Know Someone’. Then joinin’ forces with HanLei on ‘How Does It Feel’. But also co-writing with Lem Springsteen (Mood II Swing) the heartfelt ‘New World’ featuring Pete Simpson. And sharing the bill with Mr. V on ‘It Can Be’. Then doin’ the same with Cinnamon Brown on the infectiously syncopating ‘It’s My Life’. And tailoring the soothing ‘I Wonder’ featuring Nathan Adams with additional remix courtesy of Louie Vega.
Hard to not list neither his rework of ‘Time To Rise’ for Thee Gobbs featuring Kabomo on Atjazz Records. Or his contribution to Louie Vega‘s unreleased of lost mixes of his ‘Starring XXVIII’ album. And more precisely the one of a kind ‘Gimme Some Love’ featuring Vikter Duplaix.
More recently, Sean graced us while delicately revisiting Nathan Adams & Sabrina Joy‘s ‘Love Yourself’ on Tribe Records. And he eventually went further way with Lem Springsteen. With the twosome crafting the deep and jazzy ‘Rocket Love’ along with NYC singer Dannis Winston.