Blue Rondo à la Turk (band)

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Blue Rondo à la Turk
OriginUnited Kingdom
GenresPop, Latin jazz
Years active1981–1984[1]
LabelsVirgin; Diable Noir
Associated actsMatt Bianco
Past membersMark Reilly
Chris Sullivan
Moses Mount Bassie
Mick "Lloyd" Bynoe
Art Collins
Geraldo d'Arbilly
Kito Poncioni
Christos Tolera
Tholo Peter Tsegona
Daniel White

Blue Rondo à la Turk was an early 1980s British musical ensemble, whose music featured elements of salsa, pop and cool jazz. The group placed two songs on the UK charts (1981's "Me and Mr. Sanchez", and 1982's "Klactoveesedstein"), but is perhaps better known in retrospect for launching the careers of several players who went on to form the sophisticated jazz/Latin/samba/pop group Matt Bianco.


Origin and early success (1981–1982)[edit]

Blue Rondo à la Turk was a floating collective of jazz and salsa oriented musicians, more-or-less led by singer/lyricist Chris Sullivan, whose stated goal for the band was "to bring back show biz".[2] Sullivan co-wrote most of the band's original material; he also painted the distinctive cubist art that adorned most of the band's releases.

For the earliest singles (1981's "Me and Mr. Sanchez", and 1982's "Klactoveesedstein"), the group was a six-piece: Sullivan, Christos Tolera (vocals), Mark Reilly (guitars), Mike Lloyd Bynoe a.k.a. "Choco Mick" (drums and timbales), Kito Poncioni (bass) and Geraldo D'Arbilly (percussion). All had assorted co-writing credits on the band's material, with Sullivan, Poncioni and Reilly being the most frequent contributors. Pete Wingfield produced "Me and Mr. Sanchez", which entered the UK Singles Chart on 14 November 1981, peaking at number 40. "Me and Mr. Sanchez" was also number one in Brazil for three months and was the theme tune for the 1982 World Cup.

The band's follow-up single "Klactoveesedstein" was produced by Kevin Godley & Lol Creme, and entered the chart on 13 March 1982, reaching number 50.[3]

The group added Moses Mount Bassie (saxophone) as a member for their third single, "The Heavens Are Crying", written by the band with Clive Langer. This track was produced by Langer and Alan Winstanley, and failed to chart. The fourth single, recorded with the same line-up, was called "Carioca", and featured a co-writing credit for soon-to-be-official member Daniel White. Produced by Mike Chapman, this single also failed to chart.

Blue Rondo à la Turk's debut album, Chewing the Fat, was released in 1982 and included all four of their singles released to that time. Added to the line up for the album, officially swelling the group to a ten-piece, were Art Collins (saxophone), Tholo Peter Tsegona (trumpet), and Daniel White (keyboards). Chewing the Fat appeared on the UK Albums Chart, entering on 6 November 1982 and remaining on the chart for two weeks peaking at 80 on the second week.[4]

Line-up changes, second album, and dissolution (1983–1984)[edit]

Following the release of the debut album and its minimal chart success, Blue Rondo à la Turk fractured, with Reilly, Poncioni and White exiting to found the soon-to-be-chartbound group Matt Bianco.[5] Collins, Tsegona, Mount Bassie and Bynoe also dropped out around this time, leaving the group a trio: vocalists Sullivan and Tolera, and percussonist D'Arbilly.

The slimmed down group also slimmed down their name to simply Blue Rondo, and issued two non-charting singles: "Slipping Into Daylight" (1983), and "Masked Moods" (1984). Both were written by Sullivan with outside collaborators, and produced by Steve Brown.

Both singles were included on the Blue Rondo album Bees Knees and Chicken Elbows, which was released in 1984—by which time the band had already broken up.[1]

Post-Blue Rondo activity[edit]

  • After leaving Blue Rondo, Mark Reilly and Danny White were both members of Matt Bianco, who had numerous hits on the UK charts in the mid-1980s. White later left Matt Bianco, and became a songwriter/producer for Basia, who also had chart success in the 1980s and 90s.
  • Kito Poncioni was also briefly a member of Matt Bianco, but left the group before they recorded their first album. He did however, co-write one of their hits, "Half A Minute".
  • During Blue Rondo's lifespan, Geraldo D'Arbilly also appeared as a session percussionist on albums by Madness and Fun Boy Three. Shortly after the group's final break up, he appeared on albums by Chas Jankel and the all-star charity single "Starvation/Tam Tam Pour L'Ethiopie". D'Arbilly subsequently moved to Brazil, where he works as a percussionist, producer and performer.
  • After the success of Matt Bianco, Virgin Records issued the 1986 compilation Too Soon To Come, credited to "Blue Rondo à la Turk Featuring Mark Reilly & Danny White". The compilation featured all 6 Blue Rondo UK singles (even the ones that Reilly and/or White didn't play on), as well as assorted album tracks. The release was only made available on LP.
  • However, on 16 June 2014 a double-CD entitled "Chewing the Fat" was issued by Cherry Red Records, under number: CDBRED621 (ASIN: B00JVSIGJY). The two cds include 29 tracks, which are all of the group's recordings on the original album, and various bonus tracks, 7" and 12" specials, and some remixes.
  • Chris Sullivan ran London's Wag Club from 1982 till 2001, directed pop videos for the likes of Kevin Rowland, wrote for The Face and then became a staff writer and associate e fashion editor for Loaded magazine. He subsequently became the Style Editor for GQ from 97 till 2000 and went on to write features, as a freelance, for The Times, Independent,The Telegraph, Guardian, Esquire and Italian Vogue. In 2001 he wrote the international best seller Punk and in 2012, We Can Be Heroes. that tells of the emergent New Romantic scene and the birth of clubland, as we now know it, in the UK. He also wrote the 9 part documentary series, Gangs of Britain, for The Crime and Investigation Channel and now has his own show on own show Soho Radio, entitled . Sullivan Suits and is the co founder of Portobello radio. DJ and presenter at Portobello Radio and DJs many of London's West End Clubs every weekend.


  1. ^ a b "Biography by William Ruhlmann". Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  2. ^ "Blue Rondo a la Turk". Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 66. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  4. ^ Rice, Tim; Rice, Jonathan; Gambaccini, Paul (1990), Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums, Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness World Records and Guinness Publishing, ISBN 0-85112-398-8
  5. ^ Colin Larkin (1995), The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (2nd ed.), Guinness Publishing, p. 2750, ISBN 978-1-56159-176-3