This is the conceptual brainchild of hip-daddies Marc JB from Midas-touch remix duo Bimbo Jones and Simon Bartholomew from multi-million-album-selling funk-soul brothers The Brand New Heavies – together they are spawning Disco for a New Generation.
Calling themselves JBZ (pronounced Jay-Bee-Zee), Marc JB and Simon are producing what promises to be one hellova sexy, shiny mirrorball of an album. Fusing 70’s and 80’s epic, timeless funk with modern production, the album boasts stellar vocal contributions from disco luminaries Beverley Knight, Leo Sayer, Omar, KC (from the Sunshine band) and Junior Giscombe as well as more recent bright young things Aurora Dawn (from Alabama 3), Sharlene and Vula (from Basement Jaxx).
Marc JB speaks proudly of the project ",The first artist we recorded with was Jocelyn Brown at her London home; we took a mobile studio up there, she did the most amazing one-take adlib track on the end of her tune; that is something I will never forget. We also have had the pleasure to work with Bond score composer John Altman on this album - who is a living legend!"
No stranger himself to chart success, Marc JB has to date remixed 71 number ones under his Bimbo Jones guise and their discography includes tracks for Lady Gaga, Pussycat Dolls and Kylie.
What inspired the retro collaboration that is JBZ? Marc JB tells us ",I love the disco-soul-funk sounds of the 70's and early 80's; the thing that made those records so good was that it took a whole team of people to put them together. You had the, producers, musicians, arrangers, record label executives - everyone put their emotion and ideas in, which is why the music was so multi-dimensional. On Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller ‘for example there would have been upwards of 60 people pitching in to make the tune come to life. So we have put a modern spin on the production by bringing in loads of artists and musicians to put their energy into the album."
Even more eclectically, Marc JB brings his talents as a jazz pianist to the recording and Simon Bartholomew often uses a talk box with his guitar (the talk box was commonplace with the likes of Sly & the Family Stone and connects a tube from the guitarist’s mouth to an amplifier, the effect of which allows the guitar to ‘speak’.)
Simon states ", you won't be getting any Village People business here. JBZ is more on a soulful tip. Disco got a bad name, but there were some HEAVY Disco tunes made... We're gonna add some modern flavours into the JBZ mix too."
JBZ plan to perform live with the project too; with a show to include many of the guest vocalists, guitars and synths onstage and the whole ensemble rocking some serious disco fashion! ",I love that whole 70s look with the bright colours and browns,’ enthuses Marc JB ‘, we are all about big fake fur coats, tight flares, mental footwear, tweed, retro pimped up jackets, this is where it all starts!". We are assured 80’s influenced Puma kicks will make an appearance in the JBZ styling too – and they’re keen to give a nod to the flamboyance of D&G.
When asked if he thought there was anyone still missing from the lip-smacking, platform stomping glitterati of collaborators with the project so far, Marc JB quipped ",Quincy Jones! Quincy if you’re reading this, phone me baby!"