Snowboy - on Acid Jazz Records
Resplendent in quiff, black leather biker’s jacket, drainpipe 501s and a pair of brothel creepers, unashamed Essex boy, Mark `Snowboy’ Cotgrove didn’t exactly look like your typical Acid Jazz signing when he first appeared on the scene, more like a hard drinking, rockabilly hard-case who’d jump effortlessly onto the back of your bumper-car down at the Southend Kursaal!.In the burgeoning jazz dance scene of mid-80s Soho based around The WAG club and Ronnie Scott’s, Snowboy had built up a reputation as one of the finest young conga players outside of South America with his live eight-piece band, the Latin Section. Like many of the early Acid Jazz signings, Mark had released a couple of one-off records before he arrived, but only on small labels and without much commercial success.His incredible knowledge of everything from northern soul to funk, jazz dance to all things latino – allied with his inspired live conga playing – soon got him noticed. A regular performer at Gilles Peterson’s Monday night jazz sessions at the WAG, he eventually signed for Acid Jazz in 1989 and recorded his debut album, Ritmo Snowbo’ soon after. Snowboy & The Latin Section had a unique sound; tailored specifically for jazz dancers, the song tempos were insanely fast and beefed up with staccato cowbell and relentless percussion.During an Acid Jazz career that lasted for 8 years and 5 albums, Snowboy also threw in the occasional ‘progressive’ latin arrangement of unlikely left-field covers which included Anarchy In The UK (to which the label made a fine jazz dance video), There’s Nothing Like This and The Theme From The Flintstones.Snowboy continues to keep the jazz dance flag flying with occasional gigs with The Latin Section, has recently published a history of the jazz dance scene under the name From Jazz Funk To Acid Jazz and as a promoter and DJ at both his Hi-Hat club nights and his Goodfoot residency at Soho’s successor to the legendary WAG club, Madame Jo Jo’s.Uniquely, Snowboy fronted two separate projects for the label. As well as The Latin Section, his other, released simply under the name Snowboy, was where he expressed his love for 70s soul and Mizell brothers style jazz funk. Mark worked with vocalists like Noel McKoy and Anna Ross to deliver a number of highly successful singles, which were eventually collated and released as an album under the name The Soul Of Snowboy in 2003.