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Jake Behnan

A Personal Tribute

Written By Ade Peachment

When it comes to writing the history of the Hastings dance music scene Jake Behnan will feature massively; and so, it was with great sadness that I heard of his passing last week.

He was a warm, funny man, generous and kind and will be hugely missed by a great many people.
He was the label boss of Internationally renowned and respected Counterpoint Records, a record dealer, an obsessive vinyl digger and a bloody brilliant DJ.
 
When Sasha and Digweed were playing 'Northern Exposure' trance on the pier Jake was playing underground funk, jazz and soul across the road at the best parties in town.
His back-room sessions at La Chambre Magique were the stuff of legend and his sets at The Gritti Palace on the pier were always unmissable.
When Hastings was still renown for ‘Old Man’s Pubs’ and ‘Dave-Double-Decks-Ritzy-Events’ Jake was digging out the deepest cuts for Counterpoint and playing them in beautiful underground venues. ‘Independent Jazz, Soul and Outernational Sounds.’
He spent years tirelessly digging for hidden forgotten gems then selflessly sharing them on some of the best ever compilations.
Why only just a couple of weeks ago I played Terea’s 'Pretty Bird' on the radio off Jazz Bzniz! 1 and it still sounded gorgeous.
 
I had the honour and privilege of working at Counterpoint Records with Jake.
We sat for hours discussing the new 12”s by Fertile Ground, Pixel, and Antonio Ocasio, or the latest ‘Jazz Bizniz’ compilation.
He never paid me in cash. Only in records and CDs which to me meant the world.
 
Years before Facebook and Discogs Gilles Peterson obsessives from the Brownswood forum would meet in subterranean London speakeasies and invariably everyone would be excited about the latest jazz soul and afro records and everyone had brought something on Counterpoint.
Jake would namecheck GP and it would always be reciprocated.
 
He was always generous with his time and would always be happy to come along and play a charity gig or a fundraiser event.
He’d always prop up the bar in the Dragon and happily chat music for hours.
When Jake had his shop in Claremont before Printworks and Interior shop he sold me a Hawaiian record, ‘You’ll like this Ade.’ And he was right.
 
He was always one step ahead of the game, playing at the best parties with the best records.
I remember one particular party we were playing records from a lorry trailer at a full moon beach party. Jake started off with Van The Man’s 'Moondance' and it sounded perfect.
Once when we were celebrating the Solstice at Pete’s we were all locked in a horsebox, locked in due to the lashing rain. Jake was there listening intently. I played ‘Working Man’ by Rush. I assumed he may baulk at the ‘Proggy’ direction but he rocked along to it with the biggest grin.
 
He had the most infectious smile.
Never one to take himself too seriously and always the one standing next to you whenever you were ‘digging in the crates’ Jake was always there holding up a record going ‘have you got this one?’ 
I’ll never forget the day he sold me Spread Love by Carey Harris, Michael Orr, it still moves me to tears to this day.
 
Recently he was deeply involved in the Hastings retro fairs and playing at some wonderful Brazilian parties.
 
To quote from the great man’s extensive sleeve notes, ‘Here is music human enough to touch the soul, yet still tough enough to move the most stubborn of dancefloors is there anything more your heart and soul could reasonably expect?’ 
 
Big Love Jake you’ll be sorely missed.
See you in the great gig in the sky xx

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