local record stores for Motown. Stax. Atlantic. jazz funk and Salsoul disco. He experienced the disco phenomena first hand while visiting the American side of his family. spending nights out at the Paradise Garage and forging lasting friendships with the late great Larry Levan. David Morales and Tony Humphries.
After founding the Good Times sound system in 1980 with his brother Joey Jay. where he still bombards the hordes with his inimitable blend of garage. soul. funk. Latin. jazz and hip hop. Jay went on to establish pirate radio station Kiss FM in 1985. a role that would later be immortalised by Lenny Henry's pirate radio DJ character. It was at Kiss PM that the term ‘rare groove' was coined after his Original Rare (imow Show that showcased obscure 70s funk tracks. The success of the show led to him hosting the first warehouse parties ever staged in London. Jay was also responsible for establishing the first garage-style club night in the L'K called High 011 Hope. where burgeoning house DJs such as Tony Humphries and Marshall Jefferson and old-school divas such as Jocelyn Brown and Loleatta Holloway appeared to critical acclaim.
All of these credits and many more. including his three- year role in the early 90s as an A&R guru for Talkin' Loud. place Jay at the forefront of British dance culture. In line with his unassuming attitude. he puts his success down to a
combination of love and instinct. ‘l was a fervent follower of
the music not the DJs. because there weren‘t the DJs in those days. so i loved the music and id just go wherever it was being played. which in those days wasn't that many places. 1 was discerning enough to go and look for it.‘
l’rom being a champion of the underground scene. Jay is now the dance music doyen of the stars. In addition to playing records at Mick Jagger’s 50th. he has performed at parties for Michael Caine. George Michael. Will Smith. Bruce Springsteen and most recently for French fashion
H'" "a The“ at.
designer Pierre Cardin. ‘It was the most amazing house I‘ve ever seen or that anyone is ever likely to see. just outside Cannes.‘ says Jay. ‘1 was there to do a party for MTV. during the film festival week and that was just amazing. I thought I‘d seen it all. done it all. played everywhere but occasionally it gets lifted to new heights. l‘ve played in thirteenth century monasteries and some mad places around the world. but Pierre Cardin‘s house takes some beating.’ Despite the allure of showbiz. parties. Jay remains devoted to the Good Times sound system that will celebrate its 21st anniversary this year with the second compilation album Good Times 2 on .\'uphonic Records and a full-length documentary film from up-and—coming. London-based director Terry Walsh. ‘He‘s chronicling a one-man struggle against the system: how i started. why i got involved. and then it focuses on the period in the mid-80s when l was involved with starting off Kiss. doing all the illegal warehouse parties and just showing how I took on the system and beat it. There's loads of people involved from clubland. being interviewed in the film and turning anecdotes. The nearest comparison I can make to it is. if you‘ve ever seen Briana Vista Social Club. this is the L'K version but much better because you know the people and you know the music.‘
Norman Jay will be performing at Waxworks at the Honeycomb, Edinburgh, Fri 6 Jul. The Good Times sound system celebrates Its 21st anniversary at the Notting Hill Carnival on 25-27 Aug.
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