London Jazz Renaissance
An exciting new wave of jazz has emerged from the depths of South London, a wave that has been brewing and forming for a long time, gaining traction through the hard work and dedication of a like-minded community.
Many of the key players in the scene have grown up together, and this familial spirit carries forward into their music and how they present it; from passionate venue owners to a revolving stream of musicians playing freely and inspiring each other.
A natural diversity exists within the scene, bringing people from many different backgrounds together through a shared love of music.
With the bolster of community, they have managed to provide a platform for a completely uncompromising and original sound, creating not just music, but with the strength and support of those around them, an unadulterated culture.
Musicians are drawing from such diverse genres as Grime, Afrobeat, Dub, Funk and House to create a fresh, rhythmically driven sound, utilising the beating heart of jazz: improvisation.
The music is released as raw expression, a representation of what the musicians grew up listening to and the inspiration they give each other.
Their material provides an opportunity for the players and the audiences to become a cohesive whole through the removal of inhibition and the pure desire to play the music they love.
The incorporation of danceable rhythms and the drive to create live atmospheres comparable to those experienced at raves or at sound system events removes the unnecessary posturing and elitism that can often come hand in hand when discussing jazz.
Through the honesty and energy of everyone involved in the scene, the lines are blurring and jazz is becoming more accessible; this flourishing scene is reclaiming and reminding us of the original values of jazz, redefining it for a new generation.
Entry Point for New Listeners (Some artists divert from the South London scene but share the same ethos):
A distinctly grimy tuba bassline from Theon Cross, with attacking percussion, irresistible melodies from Shabaka Hutchings and an unexpected vocal thrashing from Josh Idehen. Energy overspill.
A rolling piano theme resonates throughout, dark and cinematic, expressive vocal percussion style and floating synths juxtapose beauty and gritty energy.
Another cinematic journey, again propelled by the drums of Yussef Dayes, backed by a deep and funky bassline, invigorating keyboard work from Kamaal Williams reminiscent of obscure film scores and an injection of brass to keep the track soaring.
Drives forward with intense pace. Musicians feed off each other to create another darkly energetic piece. Garcia’s saxophone work is terrific and always relevant.
Driving kick coupled with elements of dub and soulful vocals creating a hypnotic masterpiece.
A beautiful track with raw guitar work, a true expression. Powerful jazz vocals with RnB inflections. Great insight into the smoother side of the scene.
Words Brad Ford
Images sourced from cover artwork.