It’s not often we get to host genuine New York disco/boogie royalty. You can imagine our excitement, then, about our party at the Big Chill Bristol this Friday (26th April), which features none other than NYC remix/edit king JOHN MORALES of ‘M+M Mix’ fame. Yes, really!
To say we’re excited about it is an understatement. Disco/boogie heads have long held John in high esteem for his many great mixes throughout the late 1970s and ‘80s. Recently, his career has been reignited by a series of deserved retrospective compilations on BBE (The M+M Mixes, volume 3 of which is due out anytime now). These are, we reckon, nigh on essential, not least because they feature many of John’s previously unreleased “session mixes” (those completed for his DJ sets after the official mix had been finished) and unheard demos of classic tracks such as the Universal Robot Band’s “Barely Breaking Even”. Volume one (released a couple of weeks back) also includes John’s brilliant, 17-minute version of Inner Life’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” – the epitome of shirts-off disco, and a delightfully uplifting epic.
It’s a bit of a coup to get John (pictured above in his early 1980s heyday) down to our fair city, as his trips over the UK are relatively infrequent. On this trip, he’s doing just two other UK dates, and one’s at Horse MEeat Disco on Sunday. We’re certainly have secured his services.
Even those who aren’t disco and boogie crate-diggers are likely to own some of his productions or remixes. Basically, if you own any disco, boogie, electrofunk or pop records from the late ‘70s and 1980s, it’s likely you’ll have come across John Morales’ work. Alongside longtime studio partner Sergio Munzibai (who sadly passed away in 1991), Morales was responsible for hundreds of remixes of acts as diverse as Inner Life, Odyssey, Jocelyn Brown, The Rolling Stones, Axel F, Miami Sound Machine, The Thompson Twins, Candi Staton and Hall & Oates. Check the labels of those dusty old 12” singles you have tucked away at the back of your collection; chances are, many will feature M+M Mixes.
Born into a hard-working Puerto Rican household in the Bronx in the 1950s, Morales first made his name as a teenage DJ in New York. By the mid 1970s he’d made his first tentative steps into the studio, creating his own medleys and remixes to play in his disco sets. He taught himself to edit on a reel-to-reel machine and never looked back. His now infamous ‘Deadly Medleys’ and ‘Sunshine Acetate Medleys’ brought him to the attention of New York disco producers Greg Carmichael and Patrick Adams who were impressed by the hunger and desire of the self-taught engineer. “My first credited mix was Inner Life’s ‘Caught Up (In A One Night Love Affair)’, though I had worked on a few other records before that, but I hadn’t been credited, for acts like the Universal Robot Band and Musique’s ‘In The Bush’,” he recently told BBE.
Morales continued to work as a session engineer, first for Adams and Carmichael and later Bob Blank (at the renowned Blank Tapes studio) until he had a chance meeting with Cuban-born ‘musical director’ Sergio Munzibai at local radio station WBLS in 1982. They hit it off immediately, and decided to do a remix of Mikki’s ‘Itching For Love’. It was the first of over 650 M+M Mixes during the 1980s and early 90s. Such was their prolific work rate that throughout the decade they would often remix 10 different records a month, often offering up both vocal and dub versions.
Morales’ own remixes, and those produced with his studio partner Muznabi, are once again being reappraised thanks to the popular ‘M+M Mixes’ series on BBE. Two volumes of the series, which features both released and previously unreleased reworks, have already been released, with a third – “The M+M Mixes Volume 3” – hitting stores very soon.
If you’d like to get a taste of his DJ skills, he contributed a fantastic guest mix to Deli G’s show, The Touch, on BCFM last weekend. You can have a listen by clicking here and selecting the second part of the two-hour show.
Speaking of Deli, he’ll be joining is behind the decks at the Big Chill on Friday night, playing in the last hour after John has done his stuff. Deli isn’t just a big fan of John’s productions, but has also been friends with him for a few years.
As for the rest of the night, it’s Bedmo Disco in control in both rooms. Awon and Five-Stylez will be bringing a flavour of the former’s fast-rising hip-hop night, Watch Out! (monthly at The Plough in Easton) to The Study (that’s the smaller room upstairs) from 11pm-2am, while warm-up duties downstairs will be handled by Sell By Dave (with, we suspect, some input from messers Awon and Five-Stylez).
All of this, for free. Yes, free. Not bad, eh? Seriously, though, we’re expecting John to play a fantastic set, the kind of which we rarely get to hear in Bristol. Join us – it should be a wicked party.
Bedmo Disco presents John Morales
Friday 26th April at The Big Chill Bristol
DJs: JOHN MORALES (M+M MIX NYC/BBE), BEDMO DISCO
In The Study: INNOFader presents WATCH OUT’s HIP-HOP JAM with AWON, FIVE-STYLEZ and guests
9pm-3am. FREE ENTRY