In recent years, Kerri Chandler has been playing to larger crowds. He's a regular at DC-10, and plays at festivals whose lineups cater to broader tastes (Tomorrowland among them). His recent output, like his 2014 Watergate mix and this year's Checkmate EP, reflect that change. There are places, though, where Chandler is more faithful to his origins. His sets at festivals such as Southport Weekender and SuncéBeat, where he spins rare groove and disco, show the musical heritage from which house came.
On his latest mix, for DJ-Kicks, we see this side of Chandler's DJing. Sure, connoisseurs will probably be familiar with James Mason's "Sweet Power Of Your Embrace," Innerzone Orchestra's "People Make The World Go Round" and T La Rock's "It's Yours," but you'll hardly mind hearing them again. And for the younger listeners who might've come across Chandler DJing in larger arenas, DJ-Kicks offers an insight into the styles that shaped both Chandler and house music itself.
The mix draws mostly from the '70s and '80s. Chandler begins with the louche jazz of LeRoy Hutson's "Cool Out." (With Roy Ayers' "Liquid Love," he ends the mix in similarly laidback style.) "It's Your Rock," by the hip-hop trio Fantasy Three, an extended version of Beckie Bell's "Music Madness" and "You Can't Turn Me Away," by the Harlem-born vocalist Sylvia Striplin, contribute to the mix's vintage feel. That's retained even on tracks like The Foreign Exchange's "Body," from 2015, or Uptown Funk Empire's "You've Got To Have Freedom," released nine years ago. Chandler contributes a song of his own, "Stop Wasting My Time," a reggae cut that sounds more '70s Kingston than '10s Ibiza.
DJ-Kicks is meant to evoke a walk around New York and New Jersey, where Chandler's from. (There are field recordings of the city's streets between songs.) As the mix's contents and its gentle, selector-style blends make clear, Chandler reveres the music and its history. He handles it as carefully as a kid going through his dad's record collection. Indeed, the DJ father that inspired him passed away late last year, which casts a poignant light over the mix's retrospective feel. As Chandler says at the start of the mix, this is music played with "love, respect and admiration."
|A1||–André Ceccarelli||Stock No. 1|
|A2||–Kerri Chandler||Stop Wasting My Time|
|A3||–Innerzone Orchestra||People Make The World Go Round|
|B1||–Rasa (9)||When Will The Day Come|
|B2||–Lesette Wilson||Look Into Tomorrow|
|B3||–Cymande||Getting It Back|
|C1||–Sylvia Striplin||Can't Turn Me Away|
|C2||–Uptown Funk Empire||You've Gotta Have Freedom|
|C3||–James Mason||Sweet Power Of Your Embrace|
|D1||–Roy Ayers||Liquid Love|
|D2||–Ethel Beatty||It's Your Love|
|D3||–Fantasy Three||It's Your Rock (Instrumental)|