Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Artists - Blaze




Back in 1990, I was introduced to Blaze by one of the guys in my local record store. Initially, I was reluctant to listen to the LP he recommended, "25 Years Later", as all I knew of them where that they were "House" and that's not what I was into. And indeed, half the LP was House music, albeit more soulful than I had heard before, but the other side...... that was soul music proper. "All that I can say" just blew me away. Then I found out that they were signed to Motown which encouraged even more respect for the group. There started my love for the soulful side of house music, which led me on to others like Masters at Work, DJ Spinna, Nathan Haines, Elements of Life, Reel People etc etc. Looking through my record collection shortly after buying the LP, I realised that they had done a corking remix of Lisa Stansfield's "People Hold On".......

Blaze was formed by Josh Milan, Kevin Hedge, and Chris Herbert. Herbert introduced Milan, a member of his church choir, to Hedge, his childhood friend. Ironically, Herbert was the one who left the group in 1991, leaving Milan and Hedge to keep working together.

When the group started, Herbert was the singer, with Milan playing the piano, and Hedge on production. After Herbert left, both Hedge and Milan started to share production duties, vocals, and playing most of the instruments of the group's tracks and albums.

Blaze released its debut album, 25 Years Later, in 1990, after which Herbert decided to move to a more R&B-oriented career, while the two remaining members invested in the emerging club culture, opening a nightclub called Shelter. Remix duties on tracks thereafter were often named the "Shelter Mix".

Since then, Blaze released many albums, sometimes under other guises (James Toney Jr. Project; Underground Dance Artists United for Life), alongside many compilations of  productions and works and countless singles. The group also began working with other well-known names such as "Little" Louie Vega, Barbara Tucker, Jody Watley, and Full Intention.

Josh Milan has gone on to form the Honeycomb record label recently, of which the last compilation album featured on our best LP list of 2011.

Soulful House pioneers, mixing Gospel, latin, afrobeat and soul to a dance beat, Blaze deserve a featured place on our Artist mixes.

Grizz back with some rare groove on Sunday, and ill be showcasing the #RequestLine mix; Where our Twitter followers picked the tracks that feature. Very interesting stuff!!

The Soul Mixtape Presents - The Artists - Blaze
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