There’s a trip-hop Dix­ieland jazz-lov­ing col­lec­tive based in Mar­seilles in the south of France who I have been a big fan of for the past cou­ple of years. Some­what elu­sive and under the radar in the UK, the intrigu­ing posse go by the name of Chi­nese Man. So who are they? To quote from their website:

One-quarter Can­tonese, two-thirds Man­chou, the Chi­nese man appears to be from the Wu Tang Moun­tain, not far from Mar­seilles, France. In 2004, the Chi­nese man (as we affec­tion­ate­ly call him) decid­ed to send his dis­ci­ples around the world to spread the Zen spir­it with old music sam­ples and super­son­ic bass !

Chi­nese Man’s music does­n’t come much bet­ter than the bril­liant album The Groove Ses­sions Vol. 1. 2004–2007. It’s one of those albums that I try not to over-play as I don’t want to tire of it, but with its pow­er­ful, skil­ful and exu­ber­ant mix of jazz sam­ples, swing, funk and reg­gae, it man­ages to work its mag­ic every time.

chinese man groove-sessions

High­lights of the album include Wash­ing­ton Square feat. Bion­ic Man Sound, which is one of those tunes that has you think­ing, ‘Now WHERE have I heard this before?’. It’s actu­al­ly a rework­ing of the instru­men­tal Dix­ie style num­ber ‘Wash­ing­ton Square’ by the Vil­lage Stom­pers, from 1963. Dub reg­gae infused Skank in the Air is a volup­tuous, late-night, bass-rich groove. And I’ve got that Tune with sam­pling from the Wash­board Rhythm Kings ‘Hum­min to Myself’ is the track that gave the Chi­nese Man col­lec­tive greater expo­sure when the track was picked for a Mer­cedez-Benz pro­mo­tion and for a Hong Kong French Film fes­ti­val. ( I even found a Lin­da Ron­stadt ver­sion dur­ing my research).

In com­mon with DJ Shad­ow’s Endtro­duc­ing, the Groove Ses­sions album in its entire­ty takes you on a musi­cal jour­ney, a rich mix seam­less­ly brought together.

Chi­nese Man will be briefly touch­ing down in the UK in Jan­u­ary lat­er this month play­ing Brix­ton, Brighton and Bris­tol as part of a tour. The Lon­don gig at The Elec­tric, Brix­ton is from 10pm to 6am so I’ll excuse my, ahem, old­er read­er­ship here if you want to bow out. But please check out their music.


A couple more Gallic goodies to enjoy…

French Disko by Stereolab

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