I was first introduced to Kenny Dixon Jr (aka Moodymann) around about the time my ideas about dance music were changing. This was primarily down to Niki Sotudeh, Ben Saunders and Steve Reed and the record shop they owned, worked in and loved, Blackwax Records on King Street here in the disco village. Now I think about it, it couldn't be more apt that it shared it's street location with the old temple of dance music, The Paradise Garage, 84 King Street, New York. I was keen to hang out in a 'proper' record shop and these guys were keen to share their knowledge. Bascially, they taught me everything from Rhythm & Sound to Ornette Colman and Lee Scratch Perry, Jamal Moss, Tom Moulton, Robert Johnson and beyond. It was here with them that they first nudged me towards the sounds from the motor city. As I was still letting go of commerial dance music, some of the first 'new sounds' I identified with were disco and house. KDJ was right there. Between Kenny Dixon Jr and Theo Parrish, Detroit blew my mind. It sounded a bit like the commercial music I knew with it's catchy loops and sweet samples, but so much better with a layer of haze and wonkiness that I couldn't pin down or understand, that narcotic dreamy feeling backed with layers of serious bass oomph that meant on big system it kicked like a mule. The quality of these productions mean that you can go back to even the simplest little ditty and not get tired of hearing it again. I love going back to Detroit and I figured it was Moodymann's time for a showcase.
When I think of Kenny Dixon Jr, I remember seeing him live at the Jazz cafe in Camden. He swaggered about the place with a cushion stuffed up his shirt swigging from a bottle of hennessy, seducing the ladies with a voice as thick as molasses, controlling the show and bringing the soul firmly centre stage. It appeared quite shambolic, lazy, but still mesmerising and just like being at a party which I guess is where Kenny is still at, pimpin' hustlin' and playin' all that jazz. Here's my selections, recorded nice 'n' lo-fi, I reckon he'd dig it like that:
Kenny Dixon Jr by Disco Village