With a history that goes hand in glove with that of the development of drum & bass and jungle itself, Tony Bowes, aka Justice, has consistently spearheaded new musical forms. He is very much instrumental in the birth of drum & bass and is heralded as one of the true pioneers.
Raised in Luton, Justice began producing at the age of 17 with friend Conrad Shafie (aka Blame). The two met while studying media at college in Dunstable, and went into the studio in 1991 to try their hand at producing hip-hop tracks. Instead, they emerged with Death Row – one of the earliest examples of hardcore breakbeat – on Chill Records, a UK bass, bleeps and breakbeat label which was based in his home town of Luton.
While the rave scene progressed into a self-parodic fluff, Blame and Justice continued producing, both together and on their own. Pushed into new directions by the emergence of a mellower, atmospheric sound in the drum and bass spectrum, the duo formed Modern Urban Jazz Records.
What followed was a vinyl journey across just about every key label within the genre, with releases on Moving Shadow, Creative Wax, Ultimatum Breaks, Echo Drop, Recordings of Substance, Basement, Precious Materials, R&S, Partisan, to name but a few as well as his own Modern Urban Jazz imprint, on which he recorded and released alongside Blame, the critically acclaimed Icons LP Emotions With Intellect that is still highly praised to this day.
In the late 90’s and into and beyond the new millennia, Justice takes a much more experimental aspect to his productions with tracks and LP’s including Viewpoints, Modern Retro and Justice presents Modern Urban Jazz again on various labels like Recordings of Substance, Hydrogen Dukebox and Nu Directions.
Fast forward to the present, Justice continues with his forward thinking approach to music productions and the running of the MJAZZ label with the 839 LP with old pal Metro, which has just received the remix treatment, as well as recent and forthcoming collaborations with Momentum, Chris Inperspective, Invincible, Metro, Cuelock and Diamond Eye. MJAZZ recently released the third installment of the limited edition, highly acclaimed The Modernists series as well as a number of podcasts presented by affiliated artists as well as producers of the MJAZZ collective.
In strict chronological order ten of Justice’s finest moments are demonstrated below:
- Justice – Perfect Chaos (b/w Beyond Silence (Blame’s Pipe Mix), White House Records, WYHS 032, 1994)
- Justice (& Blame) – The Essence (The Jazz Testament) (b/w Anthemia, Moving Shadow, Shadow42, 1994)
- Justice (& Blame) – Stratosphere (Emotions With Intellect LP, Modern Urban Jazz, MJAZZ LP01, 1996)
- Justice – Aquisse (Pseudo Jazz ep, Basement Records, BRSS54, 1996)
- Justice – Tension (b/w Savage Times, Creative Wax, CW117, 1997)
- Justice – Switch (b/w Mauve Flow, Partisan Recordings, PART002, 1998)
- Justice – More Air (Points of View ep, Recordings of Substance, HEMP 20 DJV, 1998)
- Justice (& Neil Trix) – Transmute (b/w Context, Hardleaders, HL47, 2002)
- Justice (& Endemic Void) – Monochrome (Modern Urban Jazz, MJAZZ6, 2007)
- Justice (& Metro) – Human Thinking (839LP, Modern Urban Jazz, MJAZZ LP 03, 2010)
An extended discography, reviews and everything MJAZZ can be found at the following links:
Read all the parts of the “Count To Ten” series following the link below:
Tony Justice is Jumping the Q sharing some personal trivia in a highly interesting mini interview here: