Pete Isaac is best known as the DJ promoter behind the seminal southwest club-night Jelly Jazz since January 1992. In its early days during the height of the southwest's rave culture, Jelly Jazz started out to provide a weekly diet of soul, funk, latin, hip hop and break-beat all with a jazz twist to them. The blend worked and the unpretentious, 'sweat dripping off the walls', 'dance till you drop' attitude and atmosphere driven relentlessly by the musical passion of resident DJ's Pete Isaac and Griff soon became a major force in Southwest club-culture. Fairly soon Jelly Jazz developed an international reputation and was attracting the likes of Gilles Peterson, Norman Jay, Mr. Scruff, Quantic, Patrick Forge, Chris Goss, Andy Smith, Russ Dewbury, Rainer Truby, Jazzanova, and DJ Format as guest DJs.
Branching out Jelly Jazz ended up having residencies in Exeter, Newquay, Falmouth, Truro and the Eden Project. The Plymouth Wednesday-night club sessions became one of the longest running jazz based club residencies in the world, running weekly for 14 years.
As promoter of Jelly Jazz, Pete ventured quickly into live music as well and was the first in the southwest to book many of the early acid jazz acts such as Mother Earth, Corduroy, Izit, The Federation and The Big Cheese Allstars. Live music has remained an essential facet of the Jelly Jazz experience to this day. From small gigs in the Quay Club in Plymouth through to 1400 people at a time to see acts like Pucho & The Latin Soul Brothers, many of the concerts are now legendary in the southwest. The list and the quality is remarkable: Sharon Jones & The Dapkings, Lou Donaldson, The New Mastersounds, The Quantic Soul Orchestra, The Soul Providers, The Bamboos, Sugarman 3, Snowboy and the Latin Section, The Boogaloo Investigators, Manteca, Kokolo Afrobeat Orchestra, Saravah Soul, Ugly Duckling to name a few.
Another crucial part of Jelly Jazz's success was Pete's talent for graphic design running throughout the clubs flyers, posters, backdrops, projections, newsletters and ultimately the website. Recently these talents have turned towards album design for Freestyle records, Record Kicks and One Note Records. He was also responsible for getting a Ray Camacho compilation project off the ground and finally released on Freestyle records. Something of a labour of love, he ended up compiling it, wrote the sleeve notes, and designed the cover himself.
As a DJ, Pete is known for energetic, hard-driving combinations of happy dancefloor jazz, soul, funk, afrobeat, latin, ska, and reggae cut up and mixed with all their modern derivatives in hip-hop, breakbeat, house and drum and bass. In an era when most club-nights tended to play one genre of music, at one tempo all night, Jelly Jazz defined itself with variety. The signature sound of Jelly Jazz is bongos, beats, and bass-lines with scratchy guitars, wholesome horns, and wailing organs. Above all it's got to be funky!
DJ Griff first discovered jazz dance at the age of eighteen in the now legendary Sunday afternoon Camden Dingwalls sessions run by Gilles Peterson in the late eighties. On finding Plymouth somewhat short of the music he loved, he started playing jazz and rare-groove at events in the SU in Plymouth. Through this he was later put in touch with Pete Isaac who had just started Jelly Jazz in Plymouth. Griff was resident DJ from the second week of Jelly for a number of years and has played there regularly throughout the twenty years of Jelly Jazz events. He has also DJed in New York, Canada, Puerto Rico, Buenos Aires, Barcelona and Bolivia and all over the UK. With solid roots in jazz, funk and soul, Griff favours melodic funkiness over relentless beats and is likely to include music from just about anywhere in the world in his sets.
More recently he has turned his hand to production and has a tune out on Carnibal Records under the guise of Señor Griff called 'Cerro Rico'. A recent 16 month jaunt around latin America provided him with opportunities to make music with various musicians and led to his curating a Soundcloud group called Nueva Andina. He is also resident and a founder of Southwest arts clubnight ‘Rambunctious Social Club’ and under this guise indulges his love of Balkan gypsy music, electroswing, deep Colombian cumbia and filthy calypso.
Griff's other clubbing adventures: Rambunctious Social Club