Sunday, August 20, 2017

Blaze – Wonderland (BAAS Recordings)

Most Wanted! Blaze – Wonderland (BAAS Recordings)

The end of the 90’s saw the release of many gems on Japanese labels such as Flower Records, P-Vine, Pony Canyon. As many pieces of music which the die hard fans could most likely find in no other places but Dubspot in New York or Vinyl Junkies in London.

This is exactly what happened with the 2002 deep ‘Wonderland’ by the likes of Blaze jumping on some unusual Nu-Jazz territories. A cut which resurfaced 6 years after on Gilles Peterson‘s ‘In The House’ compilation although credited to Alexander Hope who’s no one else but Josh Milan formerly of Blaze

Formed by the mid-80’s, Blaze progressively made themselves the depository of a unique sound. Eventually being to House Music what New Jack Swing happened to be to R&B. In other words, from a blend of Gospel, Jazz, Afro, Latin and Funk influences.
Initially a threesome with Chris Herbert who left by the beginning of the 90’s, Kevin Hedge and Josh Milan have crafted some of the most vibrant pieces of music one might think of. From the early Phase II‘s ‘Reachin’ to the anthemic ‘Lovelee Day’. From the soothing ‘Wishing You Were Here’ to the infectious ‘Funky People ‘ featuring Cassio Ware. And the list goes on, not to mention their memorable collaborations with Louie Vega.

They released a total of 5 albums in a 15 years period of time. They are also responsible for the UDAUFL album. A concept album which featured a myriad of luminaries with the aim to collect funds to fight against AIDS.

Blaze came to an end in the second half of the 2000’s. With Milan running his own Honeycomb label from then. And Hedge sharing the duties behind the decks with Louie Vega at the weekly Roots party at NYC Cielo.

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