Acid Jazz & Other Illicit Grooves Exhibition

24 May 23

Posted at 12:26

Gilles Peterson for the Acid Jazz & other Illicit grooves exhibition

©Dean Chalkley



Recently Dean contributed both photographic and moving image aspects to the Acid Jazz & Other Illicit Grooves touring exhibition .

This popular show looks back to the cultural movement that had its own unique musical blend, fashions and club culture. Emerging in the late 1980's this vibrant scene grew into a world wide phenomenon.

The exhibitions organisers AGMP commissioned Dean to make the series of photographs and also to create a moving image piece that would be screen in the exhibition.

Above is a portrait Dean made of Gilles Peterson, it's a picture from the series of images Dean made that appeared in a publication that accompanied the show.  All the subjects Dean photographed for this project were people important to the development of the scene.

For the film aspect Dean collaborated with Florian Bel at JMNI to make a long form film piece. Running for over an hour and featuring the same subjects as the photographic series the sitters in the film explain how the Acid Jazz movement came about, grew and expanded. This interview film provides an incredible insight into the development of the scene from different perspectives including what and how the music was, the clubs and promotion of events that are nowadays viewed as seminal and crucial, to how dancers expressed themselves and the overall energy that was transmitted.

This is an often over looked scene and these first hand accounts provide an important legacy, memories and reminiscences bringing a personal explanation of what went down.

The whole Acid Jazz & Other Illicit Grooves exhibition brilliantly encapsulates the musical momentum setting the scene through magazine features, photography, artwork and of course the music and musicians that WERE the scene. Touring in locations across the UK during the Spring 2023 the show was not limited to London, much like the original movement  Leeds, Bristol, Luton and Birmingham were important destinations and the organisers of the show planned the tour accordingly.

This bountiful exhibition celebrates 35 years of a movement that has truly stood the test of time, we imagine that there will be more activity around the Acid Jazz topic in the near future especially as the UK is in amongst a significant growth period of new and exciting Jazz action that this scene was certainly a forbearer of.