Guest Selector: Rebecca Vasmant

The jazz-inspired Ministry of Sound tour resident gives us a peek inside her record bag and shares her ten favourite tracks of the moment

Article by Claire Francis | 05 Jul 2016

Bridging the gap between jazz and electronic music, Glasgow-based DJ/producer Rebecca Vasmant has cemented her name with her Made In Glasgow and Know The Way parties, as well as running a popular record fair with the venerable Sub Club, and a monthly guest spot on BBC Radio Scotland playing contemporary jazz records.

Ahead of a couple of upcoming shows in Scotland, including Glasgow's West End Fiesta with Billy Ocean later this month and the Kelburn Garden Party in July, Vasmant reveals the ten tracks that make her tick, from modern jazz to French techno.

Max Cooper feat. Kathrin deBoer & Quentin Collins – Chronology

[Tileyard Improvisations Vol. 1, Gearbox Records, 2014]

I was completely blown away after first hearing this record. It still to this day makes the hair on my arms stand up when I listen to it, and I really love to play this track at the start of the night in clubs. Max Cooper of course may be better known for techno, but this record is really something different. The way that the vocal and trumpet seem to be playing a game with each other is really beautiful and with each time you listen to it, it feels like you discover something new that you hadn't heard before. It was improvised on the day, which I think is amazing. Quentin Collins on trumpet – he plays in the legendary Ronnie Scott’s (Jazz Club) and is a great musician.

Stan Tracey Quartet – Starless and Bible Black

[Jazz Suite (Inspired By Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood), Columbia, 1965]

It may be a strong statement, but this is my favourite record in the world, ever made. I absolutely love this record and it means such a lot to me. When I listen to Starless and Bible Black it makes me feel such deep emotion, and takes me to a completely different place. I have sadly never gotten round to learning to meditate, but listening to this track takes me the closest I have ever been to meditating, I would say. I can feel the story that each instrument is telling and it fills me with a deep feeling of love and warmth. To me, it’s absolutely perfect.

The record is based on Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood, and if you listen to the music and the poetry at the same time, it completely makes sense. Glasgow-born Bobby Wellins plays the tenor sax so beautifully in this record, and of course Stan Tracey on piano too. I think it’s the tenderness of this record that makes it so special and I am so grateful to have discovered it.

The Greg Foat Group – For A Breath I Tarry

[Girl And Robot With Flowers, Jazzman, 2012]

There’s not much modern jazz coming out nowadays that inspires me, but Greg Foat and his group are an exception. This track is really beautiful and I would say the album is one of the best albums to come out in the last five years.

It’s really lovely and strange because my friend and I sometimes have music listening nights, and after listening to this we both said we felt that this is a song about a lost love, but with an element of hope. I spoke to Greg about this record and he told me that it was about a girl, and was indeed about a lost love. The way that the piano is played with such emotion, along with Mathew Halsall on trumpet, makes the track so perfect. It’s really a rare example of outstanding modern jazz.

Bill Evans – Piece Peace

[Everybody Digs Bill Evans, Riverside, 1959]

Piece Peace is, in my eyes, the most thought-provoking and beautiful improvised piano piece ever made. The track was allegedly unrehearsed, and although I have seen much debate online over whether this is true or not, I like to believe that they are just vicious rumours and that it is indeed an ‘of the moment’ masterpiece.

Bill Evans is my favourite piano player of all time, and I love how he used his troubles to give the world such amazing music; the classic tortured soul equating to amazing art. I would say this is in my top five favourite pieces of music of all time. I remember once playing this record at a jazz festival. There was a blind person in the audience and his reaction to the track was amazing. He said he felt like he could see colours when he heard it. I always remember that.

P.E. Hewitt Jazz Ensemble – Ill Love Song

[Winter Winds, self-released, 1975]

I first came across this when working in a record shop in Edinburgh, and my colleague had put it on after getting it into the shop. I distinctly remember needing to know what it was right that second because I was so blown away by it. It’s dark, raw and I really like its honesty. A few of my jazz musician friends have said they can't actually listen to this due to the fact all the instruments are played badly and out of tune, but purely from a listening point, I really love it, a lot. The lyrics are beautiful, the piano played almost in a classical style and the space between all the parts make it haunting, and so deeply emotional.

There’s a very small number of original copies of this album in existence and after discovering it through the Now-Again label, I bid for it online and lost the bid. I actually cried that day because I lost out on owning the original copy of this! I love it so, so much. I heard that someone found a copy of this in a bargain bin in California for the equivalent of 50p. I really wish I had been that guy!

Pepe Bradock – Deep Burnt

[Burning 12", Kif Recordings, 1999]

Deep Burnt is an absolute classic. I still play this pretty much every time I play live. I think one of the reasons I really love this is the strings which are sampled from a Freddie Hubbard record. It’s an absolutely genius track, it’s so simple and works so well. It goes with so many other records, and every time I listen to it, ten years after first hearing it, I still like it as much – if not more – than the first time I heard it.

OL – Vertical Race

[Cover EP, Faces Records, 2013]

From the amazing Faces Records, this is an absolute blinder. I always take this with me in my record bag because it’s got such a lovely energy to it. So many sweaty memories of wild nights playing this, and the crowds dancing like crazy! It’s got some lovely samples which I think is what attracts me towards the record. I still play it out lots now.

Cottam – Encephalomyelitis Disseminata

[Breaking Through the Pain Barrier EP, Versatile Records, 2016]

I really love this acid number from Paul Cottam. He once came to play as a guest at our club night and his DJ sets are always amazing, as are all his productions. I really love the build, and the slow speed of this record completely makes it. I love to play this record at peak time, it always does the job.

Laurent Garnier – And The Party Goes On

[Honey I'm Home! 12", F Communications/PIAS, 2015]

I have to admit, I’ve never been a major fan of Laurent Garnier, despite his legendary status and following, but when I was sent the promo of this track, it really caught my attention. It’s genuinely an amazing record and I absolutely love to play this out in clubs. I would say it’s my favourite promo from the last year.

Da Sampla – Pursuit Mix 3

[West Side Sessions, Wild Oats, 2012]

I really love to play this and listen to it too. Anthony Shake and his really American style of techno really makes me want to dance. I hope this record has given many others as fun memories as it has me!

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