Snowboy 50… ‘From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz: A History Of the UK Jazz Dance Scene

The Book... a decade of digging!

Sadly, I missed the Southend author, bandleader and congalero’s 50th birthday party but I’m sure it was a cracking affair with a maelstrom of fine music. As you may, or may not, know Snowboy’s seminal ‘From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz: A History Of the UK Jazz Dance Scene’ was Chaser Publications very first foray into the book world.

If you don’t own a copy of this book you most definitely should. This what a few very discerning music people have said about it….

‘Couldn’t put this book down – there’s a lot of history here! A fine piece of work – respect to Snowboy for reminding me of a large chunk of my dj life’
Gilles Peterson – BBC Radio 1: Worldwide

In sum, the cultural significance of this text is immense. It is a classic in the field of dance and music.
Professor Robert Farris Thompson – Yale University

Dripping with sweat and knowledge, this book has the driving rhythms of jazz dance down like a hi-hat beat. Master percussionist Snowboy is a fine proponent of this amazing underground scene.
Robert Elms – BBC Radio London

Whether you were there or not this book is a must have for fans of dance jazz. Snowboy has painstakingly pieced the story together. By printing his interviews verbatim he manages to get a great first person touch. Snowboy is a Don!
Jez Nelson – BBC Jazz On 3 / Somethin’ Else

As a DJ and music maker with taste and knowledge as far as the eye can see, there is no better man than Snowboy to document this remarkably effervescent and unique corner of dance culture. Through the personal testimonies in this book, you’ll see a whole world unravel before your very eyes, and in his painstaking efforts to give the phenomenon it’s correct context, you’ll also happen to be in possession of the most comprehensive guide to the UK underground clubbing scene of the last 4 decades that’s ever gone to print. Mark Webster: TV & Radio Broadcaster + Journalist

There is a saying that goes: “If you can’t remember something then you weren’t really there”. I was and I can’t! Thank God Snowboy can. A book not so much researched as lived. This is a fascinating insight into what history may well come to decide was a period of musical activity far more influential than ‘Brit Pop’.
Craig Charles – Craig Charles’ Funk & Soul Show BBC Radio 5

“By the time you read through the various DJs’ playlists at the back, you’ll be scurrying back to your collection or boogalooing down to your retailer of choice. A specialist triumph.”
Daryl Easlea, Record Collector 369 – 4 Stars

Cotgrove’s gathering of extensive testimony of an already seemingly lost world lays the basis for much wider future studies. At its peak, Jazz Fusion involved thousands of utterly devoted young males, whose commitment and enthusiasm would have been the envy of the UK dance world, if only they knew about it.
Terry Monaghan – Dancing Times

This is a book predominantly of use to insiders who want a comprehensive scrapbook to reminisce over, or to social historians looking for first-person accounts of 80s subcultures. It’s written by an enthusiast for enthusiasts… and there’s material here for a documentary or feature film that would no doubt be a great watch. Mark Fisher – The Wire

It’s much more than a niche story about jazz dancers. It shows how the scene cross pollinated with other movements in this incredibly fertile period for youth culture in the UK, whether it was Punk in the late Seventies or Acid House in the late Eighties. And that makes this an essential read for anyone with a passing interest in what makes the heart of young Britain beat.
Andy Thomas –

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz is densely packed with information and cross referenced with great care and a no-nonsense approach. In all a great book for newcomers to discover a significant piece of dance history and the people and tunes that shaped it, and no doubt sure to cause spirited debate within the jazz dance community. Spine Matthew Bazergan –

“A really incredible book — and one of the best accounts of any music scene we’ve ever read! Dusty Groove – Chicago

The story of a culture that didn’t have one look, one sound and one path. A subculture that wouldn’t fit nicely into a box and too often got written off before it got written down. It’s not that I am just enjoying the book, I am thrilled to be reading it Damian Rafferty –

Mark ‘Snowboy’ Cotgrove has superbly and successfully distilled and bound into 290 pages, the essence of a uniquely British Jazz Dance era and its infrastructure. It will rekindle fond memories of those who were there and educate in some depth those who weren’t. A most captivating and enlightening read.’

Longtime in the making and a true perfectionist as he is… Jazz guv’nor Snowboy has toiled long and hard to record a major concise part of music/dance history. ‘From Jazz Funk and Fusion to Acid Jazz’ does exactly what it says on the label, with interviews from the people that made it happen. Lee Tyler

Reading From Jazz Funk & Fusion to Acid Jazz has also made me feel enormously nostalgic for the Eighties, the decade that taught me most about jazz when (club) culture was still underground and exciting, reminding me of all those people and characters that built the scene, and filling in a lot of gaps in my own knowledge of the history. I just hope that the book reaches a few younger folk who will hopefully find it inspiring. Patrick Forge DJ / broadcaster – London / Okinawa

OK… once more, birthday greetings & big respek to Mark ‘Snowboy’ Cotgrove – a man who is a tireless champion of the scene.


A still from Dick Jewell's classic film; The Jazz Room.

About Paul Brad

Freelance journalist / Publisher / Editor - Straight No Chaser magazine / Editor - L FM : Broadcasting In A Pandemic - Gilles Peterson (Worldwide FM) / Publisher: From Jazz Funk & Fusion to Acid Jazz: A History Of The UK Jazz Dance Scene by Mark 'Snowboy' Cotgrove / Music Fan: Interplanetary Sounds: Ancient to Future / Cultural Event Consultant & Activist / Nei Jia practitioner
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3 Responses to Snowboy 50… ‘From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz: A History Of the UK Jazz Dance Scene

  1. cevon says:

    Thank you for a great post.

  2. Interesting post reminds me of another gem. God makes stars. I just produce them. Samuel Goldwyn 1882 1974

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