Wagon Repair step forward with the first album from Jules Chaz, one of Canada’s most exciting talents, who in ‘Toppings…’ unifies the purity of hip hop with contemporary jazz, experimenting with a new range of originality.
You may have never heard of him and Google certainly won't help, but Jules Chaz’s street cred weighs a ton. After playing in various bands around British Columbia, working with internationally respected hip hop artists and supporting the celebrated Cobblestone Jazz crew over the last 15 years, one of Canada's hardest working and most talented DJs, musicians and producers has finally stepped up to release a CD under his own name.
Making up for lost time, Jules Chaz's eagerly-anticipated debut ‘Toppings…’ on Wagon Repair features 21 tracks of fuzzy downtempo bliss, punctuate...d by finely sliced and diced snippets of Hall and Oates 'Julee Cruise’ (recognised as the theme for Twin Peaks) in ‘Blak Lodge’, reggae and bangra (‘Saysumthin’) samples, with cameos by Cobblestone keyboardist Danuel Tate (‘Yes I Do’) and fire-spittin' MC Ishkan (‘Could Happen’). Handcrafted at home, while his five year-old son slept, and at a decked-out studio he shares with Daniel Tate, the album represents Chaz's favorite work from the last few years and what he considers to be the jazz of today.
Flying in the same winds as Flying Lotus and Four Tet, Chaz delivers music that speaks to all ages and walks of life. Although early support for his productions has come from king-making internationalist Gilles Peterson and Hip Hop innovator Moka Only, the most significant support naturally comes from Wagon Repair, a record label better known for its quirky techno. The shift towards Hip Hop testifies to their confidence in Jules Chaz. After all, the man has created over 300 tracks to date and his prolific output shows no sign of waning.
With his father a drummer and mother part of a band in a similar vein to Iggy & The Stooges, you could say Chaz had somewhat of a musical upbringing. “I was sitting in the kick drum when I was three. I remember standing in front of the Leslie speaker and feeling the warmth. I was on the drum before I could reach the pedals." He met Daniel Tate in a jazz program at school and lived with Mathew Jonson at one point, the third member of eclectic outfit Cobblestone Jazz and frontman of Wagon Repair.
The diversity of ‘Toppings…’ comes from Chaz’ numerous musical adventures including playing on a cruise ship and travelling Africa to master the art of the reggae drum, “It took me 12 years to play a real good rock steady beat in the '60s/'70s style. I studied Patois, got into the religious side of reggae. I wanted to explore where Hip Hop came from, where reggae came from. I think it's important to know what you're doing.”
Hip Hop purists and beat lovers, make room in your crates under "Baroque/Blunted Beats" for Jules Chaz. Curious tastemakers, don't sleep. Now that Jules Chaz has emerged into the limelight, he is not retreating into the shadows anytime soon.
‘Toppings...’ EP (WLR003EP) released on vinyl & digitally 14th September 2010