Past Meetup

Natural Selection 021: Utah Jazz

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Summer’s right around the corner, and for our next installment we’re excited to host a musician who’s as adept at bringing the heat whilst manning the DJ booth as he is while in the studio. A truly unique individual pushing his own signature style of funky and jazzy rhythms, join us for the return of the DnB master known as…

(Vintage Recordings / V Recordings / Good Looking | UK)


Born in London, England, Luke Wilson was raised in a very artistic family and had broad early exposure to electronic music at an early age thru London pirate stations and the dance scene there in the early 90s. After learning to mix in the mix a few years later, Wilson adopted a Hip Hop mentality of ‘Crate Digging’:: delving into the past to find obscure sounds & recordings to produce his own tracks. Under the name UTAH JAZZ, he began to showcase his preferred style of drum and bass (at the time, a cross between jungle and atmospheric), morphing these sounds into his (well-known) deep, jazzy, liquid-style-of-groove today.

With LTJ Bukem and Alex Reece as major early influences, Wilson connected with Reece thru a chance meeting which later led to studio sessions together. In 1999, at aged 19, he joined Reece for a monthly residency at London superclub Fabric. Wilson remains a regular fixture at the club and can be found DJ-ing for ‘Fabric Live‘ or as part of LTJ Bukem‘s residency at the club for Progression Sessions.

After label work and releasing multiple collaborative tracks in the late 90s/early 2000s, Wilson launched his solo career and built Slow Hand studios in Barnet where many of his early classic tracks were produced. In 2004 ‘Jumpstart’ was released on Hospital Records cementing Wilson’s early connection with the label through brother Oscar who co-wrote the first Hospital release ‘Harp Of Gold’ with close friends, Hospital label owners, Tony Colman and Chris Goss. The three together were known as the ‘Peter Nice Trio’; Chris and Tony went on to global success as London Elektricity. ‘Harlem’, ‘Done & Dusted’ and ‘The Deep End’ were then released through Bryan G’s imprint Liquid V, sister label of V Recordings. This led to a close working relationship between Wilson and V Recordings owner Bryan G and culminated in the release of Wilson’s debut album on the label some years later. In 2005, Wilson wrote ‘Runaway’, one of his most popular tracks to date and now considered to be an all time classic of the liquid funk. Again, released on Liquid V, the track was quoted as BBC DJ Fabio‘s ‘tune of the year’. It fused 70s funk and soul riffs into drum and bass format alongside a male vocal.

later, and now…

In 2006, Wilson produced V Recordings‘ biggest selling single of the year when he remixed Roni Size & DJ Die‘s jungle classic ‘It’s A Jazz Thing’. He produced two versions of the remix: one using the original ‘It’s A Jazz Thing’ samples and the other side using samples from both ‘It’s A Jazz Thing’ and its original B side ‘All Crews Must Big Up’ together. Both tracks were originally released on V Recordings in 1994. Wilson’s remix 12″ went on to reach number 14 in the UK dance singles chart and number 1 in the BBC Radio 1 drum & bass chart. It became an overnight success within the wider spectrum of drum & bass outside of Wilson’s ‘liquid funk’ tag and received support from Andy C, Pendulum, and later in 2007 from Annie Mac on herBBC Radio 1 show. It was also added to the BBC 1Xtra playlist.

In 2008, Wilson released his debut album ‘It’s A Jazz Thing’ on Liquid V to critical acclaim. The album was named by Liquid V label boss, Bryan G after the success of Wilson’s Roni Size remix two years previously. Also, according to Mixmag, it aptly suited “Wilson’s knack for excavating big riffs from 70′s funk and soul records.” Support for the album came from a wide range of musical sources like DJ Fabio and LTJ Bukem to DJs outside of drum & bass such as Gilles Peterson, Ross Allen and Trevor Nelson. After the album release, drum and bass magazine Knowledge dubbed Wilson as a ‘remarkable composer’ and ‘drum and bass royalty in the making’ while iDJ magazine proclaimed him to be a ‘matchless funk alchemist’ and the ‘soul price of drum and bass.’

Subsequent releases in 2008 included “Leap Of Faith’ for LTJ Bukem‘s Good Looking records and ‘Disc Oh!’ for DJ Marky‘s Innerground imprint. The release of ‘It’s A Jazz Thing’ turned Wilson into a highly sought-after DJ on the international club circuit, regularly playing gigs worldwide. In 2009, Wilson was nominated for ‘best DJ’ and ‘best album’ at the UK drum and bass awards. Later that year, Wilson headlined at Milan super club Magnolia’s open air parade where he performed a DJ set on his 30th birthday to over 7000 people. The end of that year brought him DJ gigs all over the UK, France, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia and The United States. Wilson’s 2009 remix of Wiley‘s number 1 UK hit single from 2008 called ‘Wearing My Rolex‘. Nicknamed ‘Wearing Utah’s Rolex’ and starting as an unofficial bootleg, Wilson’s remix became so popular that it was eventually signed to Warner Brother & Atlantic Records as an official version and was subsequently licensed for the 2009 compilation ‘This is Drum and Bass’ mixed by High Contrast and London Elektricity.

Also in 2009, Wilson was commissioned to co-write the music for the TV series Gumball 3000, an adaptation of the famous Gumball Rally car race. The music and series has since been licensed to 13 countries worldwide and was written alongside Wilson’s friend and close Barnet associate, Arlen Figgis, son of film director Mike Figgis. Wilson’s 2nd studio album ‘Utah Jazz Presents Vintage’ was released in 2010 with collabs with Jungle Drum & Bass pioneer, Jonny L, multi-million selling vocalist, Chelonis R. Jones from Röyksopp, the Ragga Twins plus a hip hop collaboration with MC D.R.S.

Suffice it to say Utah Jazz is a fixture in liquid drum and bass the last 15+ years: a producer who’s never let go of his passion for this music or drive to play it out to expose individuals to a most unique and funky side electronic music (which he himself has contributed greatly to):: Liquid DnB. His latest album ‘Utah Jazz Presents Groove Therapy’ only hits this point home. Beautifully produced tracks, and extreme groove/textural sounds build each of these releases which any DJ would be super excited to play out live. Following this latest epic release, UTAH JAZZ now makes a very special appearance at Natural Selection during a short stateside visit on June 1st.
… “Experimental? Utah Jazz? Believe it – true to form, the world renowned party-rocking DJ is quite happy bucking all preconceptions as well as ignoring musical trends, and the results are his best work yet…” (iDJ)
Mixmag Drum & Bass – ALBUM OF THE MONTH
Utah Jazz / Groove Therapy / Vintage Recordings
*Old-skool soul food
One of the shining lights of the noughties’ liquid-funk boom, Luke Wilson’s much-envied library of rare soul samples continues to earn him legions of international fans and a unique perch in the d’n'b galaxy. True to his defiantly old-skool production ethic, album number three is awash with the dusky sax trills, lilting piano rolls and shuffling breaks that have become his smile-inducing signature – a trove of unvarnished rollers entirely devoid of mechanoid modern gloss or studio gimmicks. You’ll also find sassy reggae-flecked funk (‘The Warning’ feat. David Boomah) and loping 150bpm breakbeat grooves (‘Infinity’), but it’s the tear-jerking brilliance of mournful piano gems like ‘Loops for Days’ that do it for us. Get those jazz-hands ready, people – summer has officially arrived.
…”Could Utah Jazz be the most underrated D&B producer out there? This unbelievable album certainly suggests so…”-(DJ Mag)
…” An original and unique listening experience. If you don’t know about Utah Jazz yet, what exactly is your excuse?!…” (ATM)
More information:

With local support from:

(Natural Selection / Direct Drive / Intrigue)

(Natural Selection)

(Natural Selection / Fuzed Funk)

(Natural Selection)

21+ with state-issued photo ID
10pm - late!
REINFORCED SOUND by Marshall Hansen