Lost but not least! Dennis Ferrer – Colors (Large Music)
I guess I can’t help myself thinkin’ I’ve been livin’ too much at times. And most likely when comin’ to remember of those of my brothers and sisters who’ve left along the way. “Colors make the world go round”, sung K.T. Brooks. Meanwhile sharing the duties with producer Dennis Ferrer as a part of the ‘Soul Collectives vol. 3’ EP back in 2002. And to me, it feels like one of these colors has gone when K.T. sadly died at the age of 30, six years after.
An angel in all senses of the term had gone. As a human, first of all. Thus showing so much dedication to the ones he loved. But also as a singer. Most definitely comin’ up with a voice that could send you straight to heaven and further if this was ever possible. Like Byron Stingily or Kenny Bobien. Although he never managed to have their notoriety for some reason.
Hard to believe ‘Colors’ saw the light back in 2002 whenever comin’ to have a listen to it. This bringin’ me to the souvenir of a lunch Dennis, K.T. and myself had in Miami. Just a few hours before their performance at the Large Music WMC party. Hard to believe so much time has (already) gone with ‘Colors’ rockin’ nowadays the same as it did back then. With thanks to K.T.‘s vibrant performance along with a blowin’ sax part courtesy of Toyin Ogunlade. The whole over a rumblin’ bass driven rhythm pattern.
– A native of the Bronx, NYC, Dennis Ferrer started venturing into Techno. This back in the mid-90’s as Morph along with Damon Wild. An experience that give birth to one album and a handful of singles. The end of the 90’s seeing him jumpin’ into Soulful and Afro vibes. Eventually launching Sfere Records with Kerri Chandler. But also comin’ to collaborate with Jerome Syndenham on his Ibadan label. This in addition to releasing his sole album to date on King Street, back in 2006. And eventually launching his own label by the likes of Objektivity by the end of that same year…
Ferrer also pretty much contributed to the recognition of the South African House scene Stateside. Eventually remixing ‘Mari Ye Phepha’ for Bongo Maffin on House Afrika Records back in 2002. But also flirting with Afrobeat. On his own with ‘Funu’ for French label Basic Recordings’ in 2001. Or along with Jerome Sydenham on ‘Kò Kò’ backed with ‘Jehlaz’ the same year.
The man pretty much marked the early 2000’s with an irresistible signature. Blending Gospel, Funk, Afro and Latin vibes. This resulting in top notched timeless productions and remixes. From ‘Wonderful People’ along with Anthony Flanagan. To ‘It’s A Beautiful Life’ and ‘Grateful’, respectively with Aaron Pearson and Kenny Bobien. Not to mention his numerous collaborations with the late K.T. Brooks. On ‘Colors’ from his ‘Soul Collectives vol. 3’ EP on Large Music. As on his ‘The World As I See It ‘ album. This on tracks such as ‘Change The World’. But also ‘Run Free’ which Sean McCabe remixed back in 2008 and ‘How Do I Let Go’, itself with rework courtesy of DJ Able and Matthew Bandy. An album which spanned extra goodies such as ‘Church Lady’ which Italian twosome Souldynamic reconstructed back in 2015. And, last but not least, ‘Touched The Sky’ featuring Mia Tuttavilla.
Enough to have Ferrer establishing himself among the most in-demand post-producers in the meantime. Thus comin’ up with firing reworks. From The Kick Affiliates feat. Priscilla Ordonez (‘Don’t Wanna Stop’) to Knu Je’ (‘Seeds Of Life’). This in addition to the rumblin’ Snowy McEwan‘s ‘Someone To Love’ which I eventually included on the vol. 2 of my ‘Ritmo Suave’ series of comps in 2001. Not to mention Stephanie Cooke (‘Rain’) or the explosive ‘Shelter Me’ by the likes of Chris Herbert Presents Asaph Womack.
Goin’ further way, I guess it’s fair to say Blaze and Barbara Tucker‘s ‘Most Precious Love’ owes quite a lot to its rework by the likes of DF as well. With the same applying to Fish Go Deep With Tracey K*‘s ‘The Cure And The Cause’. As to Nick Curly‘s ‘Between The Lines’.
2004 saw him exploring abstract Electro Deep territories along with Jerone Sydenham on the memorable ‘Sandcastles’. Then eventually goin’ further way the year after on ‘Son Of Raw’. A title which he would turn into a guise soon after on his Objektivity label.
There, he eventually helped The Martinez Brothers to get into recognition. Eventually welcomin’ French outfit Télépopmusik while remixing ‘Love Can Damage Your Health’. But also Norwegian singer Ane Brun with ‘Headphone Silence’ as remixed by Henrik Schwarz. And Berlin famous Jazzanova with ‘I Can See’ featuring Ben Westbeech brought into some unsuspected new dimension by Konstantin Sibold. Dennis adding extra stones to his edifice with the firing ‘Hey Hey’ back in 2009. This in addition to ‘The Red Room’ and ‘Maniac 3000’, then ‘Checkmate The King’ with Jerome Sydenham more recently.
Whatever he’s been doin’, whichever direction he’s been venturing into, Dennis Ferrer had always managed to come up with a proper ‘Sinfonia Della Notte’.
– Well, well, well… I have to say I’ve been pretty much surprised by the ridiculous amount of infos I’ve found on the blogosphere speakin’ of K.T. Brooks. Surprised but also quite saddened when thinkin’ of his consistant legacy. As if, ten years after his death when writing this overview, he’d almost never existed. Therefore, please allow me to wonder what all these sites pretending they specialize in House or Electronic Music have been doin’?!? Nuts, obviously, huh? And really not fair at the end.
As far as I can remember, I guess the first time I heard one of his recordings was back in 2000. As a matter of fact, I was just returning from the Miami WMC where JoVonn had given me a promo copy of ‘My Angel’ along with a singer named Kaaye. I would know a few months later that the latter and K.T. Brooks happened to be the same character. This when coming to include this masterpiece on the first volume of my ‘Ritmo Suave’ compilation for Universal. The latter Kaaye comin’ with his final delivery under this guise the year after with ‘Shout’ along with Blvd East.
Although K.T. has collaborated with a bunch of luminaries, from Jody Watley to Kerri Chandler and/or Louis Benedetti among others, he moreover established a strong partnership with Dennis Ferrer. Acting either as a songwriter, a backup singer when not takin’ the lead. Eventually joinin’ Jennifer Renée Morrison in the backups along with Valerie Redgrave on Dennis Ferrer‘s ‘Soul Collectives vol. 2′. Then also doin’ the same for the sole Morrison on ‘Sunshine’ for Madhouse Records, also in 2001. Before takin’ the centerstage the year after on the firing ‘Colors’ as a part of the ‘Soul Collectives vol. 3’.
2003 saw him contributing to Dennis Ferrer featuring Aaron Pearson‘s blowing ‘It’s A Beautiful Life’. This while doin’ backups and arranging the vocals on Sfere Recordings. An exercise he reproduced in addition to writing ‘Grateful’ for Dennis Ferrer and Kenny Bobien in 2005. The twosome starting to work soon after on Dennis Ferrer‘s ‘The World As I See It’ album. With K.T. Brooks takin’ the lead on ‘Change The World’ and ‘Run Free’ which Sean McCabe reworked back in 2008. This in addition to ‘How Do I Let Go’ which DJ Able and Matthew Bandy eventually remixed almost 10 years after.
And how to not think of the blowin’ ‘Unity (We Can Do This)’? A firing gem that saw him sharing the vocal duties with Darryl D’Bonneau back in 2007. The whole with production work by the likes of the late George Mena and Franke Estevez aka Fuzion. And let’s not forget neither the uplifting ‘Praise Him’ with remixing work courtesy of Kenny Dope that same year…
K.T. Brooks sadly passed of complications from pneumonia on Apr. 20, 2008 in Irvington, NJ. He was just 30 years old.