It was back in the 1980s and through the late, great John Peel that the teenage ‘Jazzman’ Gerald started to get into a wider variety of music than the usual mix of pop and rock that everyone else was into. Peel sometimes threw on the odd old jazz, blues or R&B side – even some funk at times – and it was these oldies but goodies that struck a chord in his musical imagination. This was all before the internet existed, so in order to get closer to hear more of these amazing sounds he made the move from his home town of Middlesbrough to London. As far as music is concerned, this was the centre of the universe, and it was also where all the records were. Or so he thought…
Most of the records that caught his ear were American in origin, and as such were highly priced in the capital city, way beyond what he could afford. So he saved up some money in order to fly to the US to unearth, discover and buy these old and obscure records. Living on a budget and sleeping on floors, he travelled throughout the US to find old LPs & 45s. Finding them in quantity and at low prices, he established Jazzman Records to import the records back to the UK, and set up a mailorder business based around his new record stall in Camden Market.
In the mid-‘90s the records started to become harder to find, the American stores and dealers began to put their prices up, and continual demand caused prices to start rising. So Gerald decided to start his Jazzman label in order to reissue the records that were either most in demand or were so rare that people who would never otherwise get to enjoy hearing them would be able to do so. These days some of the rarer records can now fetch thousands of dollars, so we endeavour to acquire the rights to reissue them so everyone can listen, not just the lucky few who can afford the high prices.
It can take a lot of time, effort and money to locate some of the old guys who made these old records, but to Gerald it’s worth it. Having met many artists and musicians on his travels to the US, Gerald has great respect for them, their music and their struggle to get their records made and heard all those years ago. Jazzman now employs Orsi, Liam and Malachi to help run the website and many record labels. We now have 100 titles reissued on the Jazzman series of 45s, and over 100 albums on CD and LP. There are also almost many more titles on our Jukebox Jam, FUNK45, SOUL7, TTShake, Popcorn, Fryers and Soul Spectrum labels, with more to come!