Everyday I Have the Blues - BB King
My brother was learning the guitar and he had this record in his collection - just amazing playing and arrangements. A few years later I had left school and was playing cover versions of BB King tunes all over the Waikato and Coromandel as part of a (semi) professional rhythm and blues band - those were my first paid gigs and it was a definite improvement on mowing lawns for pocket money.
Freddie Freeloader - Miles Davis
This record came from my father's collection and when I moved to Wellington to study at the jazz school I borrowed it ...well, stole it, actually. But I must have listened to it 1000 times, stroking my chin and wearing a beret probably. I still love it - it's beautifully recorded; deep, mysterious and impressionistic. And it features Cannonball Adderley on alto sax, a huge influence.
Passin' Me By - The Pharcyde
In the mid-90s, some fellow music school students - including Warren Maxwell (FFD/Trinity Roots), Age Pryor (Fly My Pretties) and Chris O'Connor (Phoenix Foundation) - and I started a band called Tardis. What the hell?! We attempted to play jazzy instrumental hip-hop and took off on a tour of the South Island. This album was on constant repeat as we drove around. I met DJ Mu for the first time then, because we'd asked him to DJ at the gigs, do the sound and add dubs to the show. I'm sure we were terrible.
Deep Burnt - Pepe Bradock
Fast forward five years and I had moved to London, where I gave up on any form of musical career and jumped headfirst into the "dotcom boom". There were more gigs, dance parties, record stores and late nights than I thought possible, and despite not playing any myself, I did hoover up a huge array of musical influences. This tune reminds me of late-night/early morning walks home through a gloomy and still sleeping London.
Got a Thing on My Mind - Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
Just before I left the UK and moved back home, there was a soul and deep funk explosion around the world and the leading lights were this killer collective from NYC. I saw them live in a stinky little club in Soho, which was perfect... and was so taken by their vibe I eventually joined forces with some funk heads in Auckland and we released our own funk 45s as The Tornadoes & Tyra Hammond, which got me back into playing the sax again, which led to me joining Fat Freddys Drop in 2006.
Run For My Honey (Lexx Remix) - The Gagosians
Being an 80s kid, post-punk and nu-wave-influenced pop music is close to my heart; my first real concert experience was the Eurythmics' amazing show at Western Springs. I've been digging that sound again lately and this is a good example. It's kind of bleak and slightly creepy, but Lexx (from Switzerland) adds a beachside vibe that lifts it out of the gloom. He's one of my favourite DJs/selectors - check his mixes online.
Keep The Fire - Gwen Guthrie
I met my wife while in London. She was and still is a huge disco fan, whereas I'd always headed for the funk. She taught me well though and I grew to love the joy and freedom in this branch of dance music. I play this record almost every single time I DJ out. In fact, I played it a few weeks ago at The Boog (a monthly disco-oriented night at Neck of The Woods) and the (mostly) young crowd knew all the words, which made me think the world is in a good place.