Italians Love Blue Rondo A’La Turk


 Chris Sullivan

As  DJ at Hell in 1980 and was constantly on the look out for recordings that mixed bebop jazz, percussive Latin and hard funk. I went to New York for that summer and heard the Latin and Boogalloo I’d always loved – Ray Barretto, Mongo Santamaria and Joe Cuba – coming out of every East side door, saw James White and The Blacks pushing their punk funk and caught the louche lounge jazz of The Lounge Lizards. Indeed, there was nothing stopping me having a go, mix all three, throw in a smidgeon of Brass Construction and a splash of Last Poets and add my own uniquely amateurish slant.

Then I found a band.  Mark Reilly (Matt Bianco) play guitar Brazilians, drummer Geraldo D’arbilly and bass man Kito Poncioni  Mike ‘Chokko Mick’ Bynoe on conga, Christos Tolera as co vocalist and, one of the finest soul dancers in the UK Tony ‘Moses Mt Bassie’ Gordon on sax. It was all about heavy drum rhythms and bass lines a la Mandrill and chanted choruses. Before you knew it we were in The Face. Subsequently,  a signing to Virgin ensued .

We added the seriously excellent, jazz musicians, pianist Danny White, sax man Art Collins, trumpeter Peter Tsegona and percussionist Robin Jones to the line up and toured the UK and Europe. Ignoring my pleas to get Norman Whitfield of The Temptations or Isaac Hayes, to produce they put us in with a succession of chart producers none of whom got us at all until we met  Blondie and Sweet producer Mike Chapman who twigged immediately. The latter produced our album, Chewing The Fat, virtually  live. The highest chart position we reached in the UK was 28 but the album sold well enough Me and Mr Sanchezwas number one in Brazil for three months and was the theme tune for the 1982 World Cup while Klactoveesedstein was in the UK top 100 charts for 6 months and sold over a 200,000 copies.

Here there are two remixes of Blue Rono tracks and a live mix.

Link 1

Link 2

Leave a Reply