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Funk & soul legend Sadar Bahar picks his 10 ultimate dancefloor heaters

The veteran Chicago funk/soul aficionado tells us about ten favourite tunes, crucial to his musical journey...

Sadar Bahar recently played a set for our DJ Mag HQ live stream and it was a journey into rare feel-good funk and disco 7- and 12-inches that you’ll love and most likely never have heard before. That, in fact, was only a small glimpse into an extensive collection that the legendary Chicago native has been building up for a lifetime. Sadar has always been a cherished favourite amongst Chicago house royalty, from Frankie Knuckles to Theo Parrish, as well as fresh talents such as February cover star, Hunee. He distinguished himself as an artist with a unique sound and are as part of the Soul In The Hole collective alongside fellow Windy City resident Lee Collins, striving to find the rarest disco, funk, soul and boogie records that may have once been overlooked.

It’s his infinite supply of records – collected since the early ‘80s – that he’s become best known for, not to mention heavily sought-after. Just take his compilation on BBE Records from back in 2012 as an example; it brought to light a once impossible-to-find selection of gems from jazz-saxophonist extraordinaire Carlos Garnett to ‘70s funk band Maxayn and various other treasures. Get yourself in crate-digging mode and prepare for an education as Sadar unearths ten of his finest records from past and present...

01. Africano ‘Open Your Hearts’

“I really like it, it has a lot of good instruments playing through there. The singing — the singer’s voice is really strong. People really respond to this whenever I play it at parties. Definitely one of my favourites. One of my friends, Mark Grusane, did an edit of this on the Mr Peabody label — that will probably be the best way for people to get it, because the other is rare and hard to find, only on 7-inch.”

02. Leon Lee ‘He Was A Man’

“I fell in love with this record some years back; me and my friend Lee Collins did an edit of this on our Soul In The Hole label for ‘Chicken Wing Edits’. A lot of people like it, a lot of people bought it, I still hear it a lot at parties. Definitely another one of my favourites.”

03. Grotto II ‘Wait... No Hurry’

“This is a more recent favourite. I picked this up when I was in Canada, just listening to records and searching around. I ended up hearing this and liked the sound, how they mixed the old school ‘70s and Afro-beat together, but in a funkier style. I’ve tried it on other people and they seem to really like it and enjoy it. I’ve been running this a lot in my sets lately.”

04. Was (Not Was) ‘Wheel Me Out’

“This has always been a favourite. We used to dance to that when I was younger, when we were growing up in the early days — that was a favourite for everybody. I like to sometimes bring things like that back, mix them with stuff that we’re finding now. When I rst started gigging, there wasn’t much stuff like this going on. A lot of DJs were playing what we called steppers music or bopping music. It was later on that we started playing a lot of disco, getting to know Italian disco. This was a favourite to everyone that came up around that time.”

05. The Police ‘Too Much Information’

“It’s one of the less familiar ones to a lot of people from The Police. It’s a bit different, but I like playing it out.”

06. Universal Togetherness Band ‘Ain’t Gonna Cry’

“This record wasn’t really released on a 7-inch to start. Their first album was only released on cassette but then later on they nally put it on vinyl. I was kinda shocked because they’re from Chicago — they’re from my city and I had never heard of them. A lot of people are only just getting familiar with them now. I was real impressed to hear them.”

07. Eddie Harris ‘Is It In’

“Nice record, it gets a nice reaction out of people. It’s good dance music with lots of good instruments going on, really entertaining.”

08. Stephen Encinas ‘Disco Illusion’

“This record was on my list for a long time. I was looking everywhere but could never find it, kept seeing bootlegs, bootlegs and bootlegs. Then I nally went to Japan and went record shopping with a friend, I found one. Of course it cost an arm and a leg but I had to have it. If you see that record, that’s a good one to pick up.”

09. Joe Bataan ‘Latin Strut’

“Another record I used to run in the clubs in the golden days, but I still like it today. It still goes down well with crowds.”

10. Kimiko Kasai ‘I Thought It Was You’

“This has always been one of my favourites. Found this one when I was in Japan, it was something I didn’t really know but when I picked it up I was amazed. I love Japan, I’ll be spending a month touring there at the end of the year, might have to pull this one out of the bag.”