Mad Professor ADD

Review: Randy Valentine - Still Pushing EP Launch in London, UK 5/25/2015

05/27/2015 by Angus Taylor

Review: Randy Valentine - Still Pushing EP Launch in London, UK 5/25/2015

If I cry it's because I'm happy” says Randy Valentine to an adoring Jazz Cafe.

His mother and father, brothers and sister are in the audience. His musical family, who have come out for the launch of his Still Pushing EP, include its producer Joe Ariwa, Joe's dad Mad Professor, radio presenters Robbo Ranx and Natty B, producers Curtis Lynch, Rory Stone Love and actress Judith Jacob. There hasn't been such a community atmosphere in the venue since Bunny Lee’s last birthday or Tippa Irie and Friends.

This is the expatriate Jamaican and his Swiss/UK management’s third release launch in London. He's backed by the Soul Rebel Band: who stay supple to his moods and motions throughout a selection from his dubby new project, its more eclectic predecessor Break The Chain, and initial Studio 1 mixtape Bring Back The Love.

His voice spans ages and approaches. As an overture to Wake the Town he takes full ownership of Otis Redding’s I’ve Been Loving You Too Long, then pays respect to the path laid by U Roy in deejay fashion. Having saluted the legends he bigs up his own parents “for what they taught me” before riding the double drums of Roots and Culture. He brings his brother on stage for an unplugged Inna Di Ghetto explaining that "This is how we started, at acoustic open mic nights. I want to share with you how it all started".

"You are kings and queens in the crowd” he warns “Don't let anyone tell you you’re a sufferer. I grew up in Jamaica thinking I was slave. I'm a king in this ya". That’s his prelude to Mamma Said on Augustus Pablo’s undulating King Tubby Meets The Rockers rhythm. The spirit of Pablo lingers as he showcases an unreleased song with Stingray about his suspicion of religion to the backing from I Kong’s classic The Way It Is.

I get joy from listening to music” he explains, as if detecting a collective sense of wonder in the air “If I can sing to give you joy, mission complete.

Remarkably he's managed to hold the audience after a blistering live dub mix by Joe Ariwa and chief support General Levy that, naturally, went into full 160bpm plus jungle territory. Ariwa’s guests also included long-locked Swiss Guadeloupian Cali P (sharing songs from his Healing of the Nation album) and a surprise appearance by the Mad Professor himself playing an intricately tessellated percussion track (“If you're not African bring the African out from inside of you” he laughed “It must be lurking in there”).

The evening commenced with two acoustic sets from very talented singers. The powerful but subtle voiced Sherii Ven Dyer – of the same JOAT stable as Randy - shocked the crowd with her whistle falsetto. Dionne Reid’s warm personality offset her cool jazzy tone and poetic flow.

When we released Bring Back The Love mixtape it was a genuine request. And look now - bare love in the room” is Randy’s appraisal of how his musical movement has grown.

The Jazz Cafe even lets him play for half an hour after the twelve o’ clock curfew. Nothing can spoil this night.