Keyboardist, guitarist and singer/composer Chaz Jankel is best known in the UK as member of Ian Dury & the Blockheads during the British funk/new wave band’s commercial peak in the early 80s. First hooking up with Dury as part of the pub group the Kilburns & the High Roads, Jankel was asked by Dury to join his new outfit, and appeared on such Blockheads releases as “New Boots & Panties!!” (which spawned Dury’s best-known hit, “Sex & Drugs & Rock n’ Roll”) and “Do It Yourself (single — “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick,”) before leaving the group. But in 1981, Jankel teamed up once more with Dury (sans the Blockheads), for the release Lord Upminster, which spawned the U.S. Top 40 dance hit “Spasticus Autisticus.” By this time, Jankel had become more interested in pursuing a solo career and he issued several releases for A&M under self-titled debut followed by “Chasanova,” “Questionaire” (contained the U.S. dance hit “Glad to Know You,” a collaboration with Dury), “Chazablanca,” and 1985’s “Looking at You.
Chaz Jankel was Ian Dury’s writing partner in The Blockheads but went on to become a successful artist in his own right, racking up a sizeable roster of hits including platinum selling singles like ‘Glad To Know You’ and ‘Ai No Corrida’. Jankel to this day remains a part of The Blockheads, but his work as a synthesizer auteur as documented on this compilation tells another story, representing the career of an artist who ably dipped into the nascent electronic sub-genres of the day, referencing new wave, post disco and electropop whilst never shying away from the weirder corners of electronic music, as captured in the bizarre edits and overdubs littering the otherwise fairly straight-up rhythm track of ‘Reve De Chevres’. If there is a overriding theme to Jankel’s career it has something to do with placing emphasis on taking all these various forms and production angles and wrapping them around a central pop superstructure, something Jankel seemed to accomplish throughout his career with an impressive consistency.
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