Album of the Day: PYJÆN, “PYJÆN”

The London jazz quintet PYJÆN have described their music as, “their joy, their happiness, their worries, and experiences [coming] together in one unified higher identity.” Pronounced “pie-jan,” the group—made up of members Dani Diodato, Dylan Jones (of Ezra Collective), Ben Vize, Charlie Hutchinson, and Benjamin Crane—is heavily influenced by both the sound of ’20s jazz and contemporary dance music. Their self-titled debut album reflects all of that, and more—funk, Afrobeat, and classic jazz all course through its songs. 

In fact, when listening to PYJÆN, it often feels like the music could go off in any number of directions. The album plays like an experimental jam session, which focus shifting from horns to keys, sometimes breaking way to an interplay between both. On the exuberant single “Nah,” bass gives way to psychedelic organ, before ending with a blast of horns. Skittering without being scattershot, “Nah” encapsulates PYJÆN’s approach to experimental jazz. “Free Your Dreams,” delves further into the brass, and the slower “Steve” diverges from the uptempo sound of the other songs, acting as a laidback meditation. Mellow middle track “Leading the Times” is a standout, boasting a vibrant and ascendent guitar solo, and “Waiting for Perry” is propelled forward with a steady marching beat. Guitar-heavy closer, “In Search of the Sticky Side,” showcases the group’s voices for the first time—an appropriate way to end the album. PYJÆN delicately melds the group’s diverse tastes and styles to create an undeniable sound. 

-Nilina Mason Campbell

 

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