Hope Collective Launch Party
Wednesday 13th April 2005

Click Here for
Short Video
of Chris Ballin
singing Labour Of Love

(short & poor quality!)


Here’s a quick run-down of the event at the Embassy Bar in North London (a small, cosy bar/pub type venue)

For £20 entry fee (donated to Playing Alive www.playing-alive.org) there was a copy of the Hope Collective “Give & Let Live” CD, a personal welcome by Bluey and his wife plus a glass of champagne.

The night kicked off with a little “battle” (or jam session) between Gilles Peterson on the decks and Graham Harvey on keyboards. Graham’s playing was so subtle at times you could have mistaken it for the actual record being played! Then Imaani stepped up to the microphone and joined Graham for a wonderful rendition of Georgia On My Mind.

The place was starting to fill up by now and Noel McCoy/Chris Ballin joined Matt Cooper for a rendition of Harvest For The World, and then Chris finished off superbly with his trademark “Labour Of Love”. It didn’t take much coercing by Bluey for Jocelyn Brown to grab the mic and start singing. She began with a short gospel song and then broke into Always There (with rapturous applause, of course).

Then it was the turn of Root Jackson (FBI) who did a medley of songs, including some Donny Hathaway. Finally, Bluey introduced JC Bentley (www.jcbentley.com), a singer who jammed with Matt Cooper (she will appear on the new Omar album – not yet released). Great voice, although she commented that she wasn’t on best form due to a recent bout of flu! (it didn’t show at all).

Amongst all this, Bluey organised a self-styled “Jazz-Funk” auction, with Matt Cooper accompanying him on keyboards to add a little more atmosphere to the occasion. Various items were up for grabs, including a framed signed photograph of Terry Callier and Paul Weller in the Blue Room together (which I think went for around £50). There was also an original oil painting from India, which finally went for £250 – Bluey was keen for this, despite some competition!). Two VIP tickets to the “Tribal Gathering” festival in Leeds in July www.tribalgathering.co.uk (£80) and also some VIP tickets for the “V” Festival plus some other CDs and bits and pieces.

One item mentioned at the end was a wonderful scrap book/photo album of the Hope Collective project (fully signed by all the artists and visitors during the recordings) which will be put onto Ebay tomorrow. I can see this going for quite a few quid and will make a nice memento for someone!

Toward the end of the evening there was a DJ set from “Yam Who?” followed by Chris Hill. Nice tunes and a great way to end the evening. Other people in the crowd included Thomas Dyanni, Stephen King, Simon Cotsworth, Ski Oakenfull

All in all a great evening, for a great cause with what looked like a nice little sum of money (all in cash) raised, donated, auctioned on the night. There was a nice informal feel to it with a buzz of excitement at the same time.

Go out and get this record and spread the word. If you can’t find it in the shops get onto Expansion direct and order it from them. (www.expansionrecords.com)