Marshall Jefferson in 6 Tracks | News | MN2S

We look back at the career of Electronic Music Pioneer Award-winner Marshall Jefferson through the prism of his most influential tracks.

At this year’s Electronic Music Awards in Ibiza, Marshall Jefferson was crowned Electronic Music Pioneer. It’s a title he deserves. The DJ and producer has been at the forefront of house music since its earliest days in Chicago, and he’s had a hand in almost every worthy sub genre to emerge from those humble origins.

To celebrate his storied career, we look back at eight of his most well-known, essential and influential tracks.

1. Move Your Body – Marshall Jefferson [Trax Records, 1986]

If you look up house music in the dictionary, you’ll find ‘Move Your Body’. Okay, that doesn’t really make sense. But the point is, ‘Move Your Body’ is the archetypal house track. Big piano chords, programmed drum beats, a thumping bassline, lyrics about house music. All of these features are emblematic of Chicago house music, laying the blueprint for every strand of house music that would emerge in the future.

2. CeCe Rogers – Someday [Atlantic, 1987]

Produced, written and arranged by Marshall Jefferson during his first career peak, ‘Someday’ shows off the DJ’s skills as a collaborator. Jefferson gives his all to the track, but he also gives Rogers a chance to shine as a vocalist.

‘Someday’ was the first house music track released on a major label. It was a crucial moment in house music history. The track’s success helped launch dance music into the mainstream.

3. Phuture – Acid Tracks [Trax, 1987]

Marshall Jefferson was not one of Phuture’s official members. Those were DJ Pierre, Spanky, and Herb J. Jefferson was, however, the credited producer behind ‘Acid Tracks’, Phuture’s first and some would say best release.

It is this recording that launched acid house almost single-handedly. The manipulated TB-303 bassline became a staple of the fledgling genre throughout the 80s and early 90s. Just as the sounds of ‘Move Your Body’ would come to define classic house, ‘Acid Tracks’ serves as the prototype for acid house as we know and love it today.

4. Mushrooms – Marshall Jefferson vs Noosa Heads [Soap Records, 1996]

From acid house to deep house. The genre was pioneered by fellow Chicago DJs like Larry Heard, but ‘Mushrooms’ stands up as one of its greatest examples. The track was released with several remixes by the likes of the Salt City Orchestra, Mazi, DJ David Lee and others, but what remains central in nearly all of these mixes is the spoken-word tale of one man’s encounter with magic mushrooms.

The dreamy track, appropriately enough, really takes listeners on a trip, and proves a highlight whenever it’s played in a club.

5. Floating – Marshall Jefferson [KTM, 1996]

‘Floating’ is a great track in itself. The creeping off-kilter rhythms are almost entirely unique in house music. But it’s the album ‘Floating’ is taken from that is really worth a mention. While house music is more commonly associated with singles and EPs, Jefferson broke new ground by releasing a perfectly-crafted 10 track album on CD.

The collection spans house, techno and deep house, and uses absolutely no samples. Everything on the disc is pure Marshall Jefferson.

6. The Cow (Is Already Here) – Marshall Jefferson [KTM, 1997]

Marshall Jefferson’s ‘Animals’ EP is another late 90s studio highlight. Sounding almost unlike anything we’ve heard so far, ‘The Cow’ features distorted synths, screeching leads, and a grungy marching beat.

Companion track ‘The Horse (Is Coming)’ is equally innovative, using hypnotic space-age squelches to lull listeners into a stupor before the pounding drums kick in. It’s work like this, and the rest of the tracks we’ve heard here, that proves Marshall Jefferson truly deserves his place in the house hall of fame.

Book Marshall Jefferson now to bring the pioneering DJ to your venue.

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