Tag Archives: U.K. jazz

Joe Armon-Jones Captures the Pluralistic Grooves of Modern London Jazz

Joe Armon Jones

Photo by Fabrice Bourgelle

For the last several years, London’s blistering jazz scene has been steadily percolating in the city’s underground venues, small studios, and even artists’ living rooms. Virtuosos like Shabaka Hutchings, Kamaal Williams, Zara McFarlane, and a few dozen others have spent the last few years gaining a command of the genre’s classic sounds in a way that captures the pluralistic flavor of the U.K. capital. Enter Joe Armon-Jones, whose solo debut album, Starting Today, is a stunning cross-pollination of styles and genres.

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On “When We Are,” Bandleader Nubya Garcia Explores New Sonic Terrain

Nubya Garcia

Photo by Adama Jalloh

Nubya Garcia is a leader in London’s young, club-conscious jazz renaissance. An accomplished tenor saxophonist, composer, and bandleader, she appeared on five tracks on Brownswood’s We Out Herethe recent, era-defining compilation featuring fellow stars of the London jazz scene: drummer Moses Boyd, tuba player Theon Cross, and saxophonist/clarinet player Shabaka Hutchings (who curated the project). Garcia personifies the collaborative spirit at the heart of the scene as part of a number of collectives and a regular player at some of the capital’s most creative nights. And, alongside the likes of saxophonist Tamar Osborn and trumpeters Yazz Ahmed and Laura Jurd, she’s challenging the jazz scene’s long-running gender imbalance.

[Listen to an interview with Nubya Garcia on Bandcamp Weekly.]

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Album of the Day: Various Artists, “We Out Here”

We Out Here is a nine-track primer on the brightly burning London jazz scene, curated by saxophonist and rising superstar Shabaka Hutchings, who operates as bandleader for Sons of Kemet, Shabaka & the Ancestors, and the Comet is Coming. Recorded over a three-day period at the Fish Factory studio in Dollis Hill, London, the compilation is meant to bring new talent—like drummer Moses Boyd, tuba player Theon Cross, and saxophonist Nubya Garcia—to a wider audience.

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A Guide to U.K. Jazz in 2017


Illustration by Annu Kilpeläinen

During the dark years of Thatcherism in the early- to mid-‘80s, the U.K.’s jazz musicians responded with an outpouring of creativity. From the post-punk uproar of Rip Rig & Panic, to the black arts of The Jazz Warriors and the big band experimentation of Loose Tubes, the scene was defined by its sprawling diversity. Thirty years on, and with the U.K. facing similarly divisive times, jazz—in all its forms—is again providing an antidote to the divisions.

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Moses Boyd Is An Old Soul At The Forefront of U.K. Jazz

Moses Boyd

Drummer Moses Boyd cut his musical teeth as a teenage member of the jazz music education program Tomorrow’s Warriors (the younger incarnation of the Jazz Warriors), playing alongside renowned jazz bassist Gary Crosby. Now, at 25, Boyd is bandleader of the Moses Boyd Exodus, as well as one-half of Binker & Moses with tenor saxophonist Binker Golding, and is considered one of the best innovators in the U.K.’s new jazz movement.

The South Londoner first picked up the sticks at age 13 at his school in Lewisham, where he was taught by British jazz drummer Bobby Dodsworth. While studying at Trinity Laban College, he became a regular at Tomorrow’s Warriors jam sessions at Soho’s Spice of Life pub. Raised on both Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue and Dizzee Rascal’s Boy in da Corner, Boyd’s musical journey has been shaped as much by club nights in Peckham as it was listening to old Blue Note LPs. Binker & Moses’ 2015 LP Dem Ones received a Best Jazz Act at the urban MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Awards, and introduced them to an audience schooled on grime acts Wiley and Skepta.

Released last year on his own Exodus imprint, his debut 12” with his Moses Boyd Exodus Ensemble (including Binker) “Rye Lyne Shuffle” was mixed by Kieran Hebden and Floating Points. Named after the Peckham street where African butchers sit next to clubs like The Bussey Building, the storming jazz shuffler was premiered by Gilles Peterson (who called Boyd “the next Art Blakey”) and played by DJs like Alexander Nut of Eglo Records and Four Tet on his Boiler Room mix. Whether he’s dropping a live set with Exodus for Boiler Room TV or fusing electronics with world music with his Solo Exodus improvisational project, Boyd is a very 21st century South London jazzman.

We spoke with Boyd about his new Absolute Zero EP, how jazz titans like Tony Williams and Bobby Dodsworth shaped his musical perspective, and why jazz isn’t really jazz in 2017.

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