There’s been no shortage of memorable moments for Jelly Roll Soul over the past six years. The irregular party which operates between Glasgow and Stirling has hosted everyone from Kyle Hall to Billy Woods at their parties, eschewing hype for guaranteed good times – whether it’s in a banging basement club or a makeshift dancefloor in the basement of a tapas restaurant.
The promoters and DJs behind the operation, Jamie Alexander, Robert Tomlinson and Ryan Coyle, all have a keen ear for quality house, with an even bigger appetite for a quality party. So while they may enthuse over rare vinyl from Chicago and Detroit, the focus of Jelly Roll Soul is to make people move, be it Marcellus Pittman winding back Roy Ayers or Scott Grooves dropping CeCe Peniston.
Having launched their own label last November, Jelly Roll Soul’s next milestone is their sixth birthday this Saturday at La Cheetah, where they’ve invited Edinburgh stalwart and Firecracker, Fudge Fingas to do the honours. Ahead of the party we asked resident, Jamie, to reflect on six defining dancefloor moments from the past six years:
2010: Kyle Hall played ‘Kyle Hall – The Sun Goddess’
“This was our first ever JRS party. We wanted to start a night which could cover a wide spectrum of music and we'd heard Kyle's mixes which were in that typical eclectic Detroit style. However, he arrived in Glasgow and told us he was now into playing techno and proceeded to go on and bang it out. This acid banger of his was just out at the time...”
2011: Marcellus Pittman played ‘Roy Ayers - Chicago’ (4 times)
“In what was potentially one of the most notorious moments of JRS, Marcellus played ‘Chicago’ by Roy Ayers with about 4 rewinds. We teamed up with Stay Plastic to bring him over from Detroit. Marcellus was the most lovely, sweet man you could ever hope to meet, but that night the tequila got the better of him - he was turning the volume down to have conversations with girls on the dancefloor and everything.
It was a riot but we got him back over a few years later to play in Ryan's (co-promoter of JRS) dad's pub in the Raploch, Stirling, where he played a far more coherent set - although there were far less Glasgow heads present to see it!”
2012: Robert played ‘Theo Parrish & Marcellus Pittman – Questions Comments’
“At Xmas 2012 we opted to move the night to our hometown, Stirling, where we held parties in the basement of a tapas restaurant. We brought Specter over from the US and folk were really getting in to it. He was playing really deep, jazzy and soulful records which I'm pretty sure you can only ever buy in Chicago cos you never hear anything like it over here.
The venue let us play well after the 2am license allowed. Robert (other JRS resident/promoter) ended up going back to back with him at the end of the night. Robert is a mad collector of house music from Chicago & Detroit, so to see him going back to back with a modern Chicago great was a special moment. Anyway, he played this and folk went absolutely nuts, then afterwards we ate tapas and drank wine to 6am.”
2013: Jamie played ‘Blaze – Wishing You Were Here’
“I include this not for self-aggrandising reasons (but then I am one of the residents so why not pick one I played!?). We did a residents party in the basement and it was one of those nights which was just perfect; everyone was in the mood to dance. Me and my pal, Neil Down, had been talking beforehand about how no one in the underground ever plays good vocal house anymore. I remember putting this on and looking up to see him dancing away with a massive smile on his face. It was just one of those moments where all seemed right in the world!
2014: Billy Woods played ‘Barrington Levy - The Vibes is Right’
“Billy is an old friend of ours and we got him through to play the basement. Billy really made the effort for us that night; he pulled out all sorts of stunning house and disco records that I’ve never heard before or since. He banged it at times, but chose to wind it down at one point and played this which is something only Billy could ever pull off. My good pal Bernard was there. He founded JRS with us but had become estranged from the night a wee bit. This was one of the things that brought us back together. We were on the dancefloor dancing non-stop and were nearly brought to tears with this one!
2015: Aidan D'Araujo played ‘My Mine - Hypnotic Tango (Powerhouse Mix)’
“In 2015 we brought Aidan D'Araujo of Ransome Note/House Hunting fame up from London to play in the basement armed with a bag of house rarities. By this point we were starting to break through to a younger crowd in the Stirling area who were raised on a diet of banging, skrillah type dubstep and techno - really heavy, harsh music. With limited places to go out and dance in the town, a few of them had been coming along and checking us out. This beautiful record blew their minds and I think it showed them that deeper, more subtle sounds can still move a dancefloor.”
2016: Scott Grooves played ‘CeCe Peniston - Finally (Extended Classic Club Mix)’
In March we brought Scott to Glasgow for first time in 18 years. Scott is an old school DJ; he truly sees it as his duty to please the crowd and makes no apologies for that - that's a sentiment which we've always shared at JRS too. There is a place for DJs who really push the envelope and challenge preconceptions, but there's also times where you just need to be banging the ceiling while singing 'Finally' at the top of your lungs, and this was one of those moments. Scott played a set that included 80s soul, boogie, disco, house and (some pretty tough) techno. He did it in a way that flowed very naturally all night.
One of the things we benefit from at JRS is a good, diverse crowd. We have 18 years olds, 60 year olds and everything in between. We have serious heads who know all about the music and good mates who are more casual listeners but love a good dance. Scott basically had an eye on the whole dancefloor and made sure everyone was well catered for throughout. He played this in it's entirety at the end of the night and all the girls in the crowd went wild. Truly great DJ and it won't be 18 years before he's back if we've got anything to do with it!