Chip Wickham started out in the highly influential UK breakbeat, hip-hop and drum & bass scene that was Manchester’s Grand Central Records, working and playing with the likes of Rae & Christian, Fingathing, The Pharcyde, Jimpster, Nightmares on Wax, Jenna G and Graham Massey. It wasn’t long before he found himself touring all over the world, and began working with more mainstream artists like Badly Drawn Boy and Roy Ayers. He also played on the soundtrack to the Guy Ritchie’s Snatch.
The following years were spent writing, producing and remixing tracks for a wide range of artists, including his own electro-Latin project Malena, releasing the Fried Samba album on Freestyle in 2007.
However, jazz has always been his first love, and soon he found himself working with award winning UK trumpeter Matthew Halsall, playing live and eventually appearing on Halsall’s critically acclaimed breakthrough album Sending My Love. This scene enabled Chip to work with some of the best UK jazz musicians, such as Nat Birchall and Rob Turner, who went on to form Blue Note act Go Go Penguin. This highly influential group of musicians had a long lasting influence on Chip, which can clearly be heard in his own album.
Always a restless soul and keen to travel, Chip relocated to the late night scene of Madrid in Spain in 2007, and immediately became part of the explosion of the city’s soul-jazz scene. Bringing together his UK and Spanish musician friends led to the formation of The Fire Eaters. While the original idea was to be the backing band for his old friend Eddie Roberts (from UK’s number one funk outfit The New Mastersounds), they eventually became a ‘proper’ band, releasing music on different labels.
Meanwhile, he also released a couple of 45s on Lovemonk – a mixture of raw funk and heavy Latin beats, which directed him towards the world of soul-jazz and hard funk.
He remained active outside Spain as well, playing and recording with The New Mastersounds, which led to a guest appearance on the Japanese tour following the success of the single ‘Chocolate Chip’. More big names in the soul scene started calling, and soon he was writing and recording session work for groups such as Lack Of Afro and Deep Street Soul.
This all culminated in an invitation to play for the prestigious Craig Charles Fantasy Funk Band. Based on a poll from Craig Charles’ top rated BBC6 radio show, Chip was chosen to play alongside the cream of the UK funk & soul scene: James Taylor (JTQ), Snowboy, The Haggis Horns (Mark Ronson), John Turrell (Smooth & Turrell), and Mick Talbot (The Style Council).
However, he hadn’t forgotten his jazz roots, and thanks to his earlier collaboration with trumpeter Matthew Halsall and other influences such as Harold McNair, Roland Kirk and Yusef Lateef, he he brought together three longterm collaborators from the Spanish jazz scene, Gabri Casanova, David Salvador and Antonio Pax, to record La Sombra, a spiritual jazz album produced and mixed by Wickham himself. Featuring six original compositions by Chip Wickham and a fiery cover of Camarón de la Isla’s classic ‘La Leyenda Del Tiempo’, La Sombra is slated for release on 2 December on Lovemonk.
– – – – – – – – – – –
Chip Wickham es versátil como nadie. Sus credenciales como músico, compositor, productor y remezclador incluyen nombres tan importantes como Nightmares On Wax, Rae & Christian, Roy Ayers, Jimpster, Speak Low, Sweet Vandals y The New Mastersounds, entre muchos otros. Ha girado con The New Mastersounds y colaboró en su single “Chocolate Chip” y, recientemente, ha sido elegido por los oyentes de la BBC6 Music como uno de los miembros de The Craig Charles Fantasy Funk Band, una iniciativa del programa de la radio musical inglesa que incluye a músicos de bandas como James Taylor Quartet, Snowboy, Dionne Charles, TNM’s Eddie Roberts, Speedometer, The Haggis Horns, John Turrell y otros.