Marshall Jefferson




There are a handful of men who have the title of "Godfather" of house music, and while many have legitimate claims to the title, because of seniority and being there at the beginning, one stands out from the crowd as being the one that actually defined not only House music, but dance music itself as we know it today.

His name is Marshall Jefferson, and when in 1986 he played piano on a house record for the first time ever, the idea was so innovative that record companies told him that it wasn’t even house music. That record was the platinum "House Music Anthem", and today you rarely here a house record without piano.

Since then, Marshall’s list of accomplishments in House music read like no one else; in 1987 he produced the first ever "Acid House" record "Acid Tracks" using the TB 303, and simultaneously launching the successful career of DJ Pierre. Also, he produced the first house record’s incorporating old tome soulful spiritual vocals, launching the successful careers of Ten City, Kim Mazelle, and CeCe Rogers. All those early songs are blueprints for what we recognise today as deep house, garage music, techno music, and the TB 303 is the most sought after instrument for techno artists and producers.

A Testament To House MusicIt seems like almost every song Marshall produced turned into another form of music, which Marshall regrets; he just wanted his songs to sound different from each other. Marshall was also the headline act in the first House music tour of Europe in 1987, and house music has remained since. The list of careers that Marshall Jefferson has helped or launched reads like a who’s who of dance music; Roy Davis Jnr., Felix Da Housecat, Lil Louse, Frankie Knuckles, Steve "Silk" Hurley, and many others, not including the thousands of producers/DJs that have been influenced by him. The most impressive thing about Marshall, however is what separates him from all the others; his ability to consistently write the classic song. He is far and away the most covered song writer in dance music today, with his back catalog containing more the one hundred covers and sample licenses. This is because Marshall’s forte has always been lyrics and melodies, and that’s what set’s him apart from everyone his field, which has always been essentially groove oriented.

Three years ago in early spring of 1994 Marshall Jefferson came back from a four year sabbatical, returning to the UK surprised to see the lack of change in the dance music he returned back to the roots of Djing in which he had left behind in the early eighties now three years on and he is one of the biggest DJs to come out of Chicago having played at every major club/event across Europe and playing resident to Europe’s biggest dance festival Tribal Gathering/Big Love. Finally we look at the house music spectrum in all it’s mutated forms from deep house, garage, techno, acid, through to intelligent drum and bass. What ever way dance music has progressed through the years you can be sure he has been part of that, so we ask one question in what direction will he take it now?