Samstag, 08. Juni 2019
23:30 Uhr, Stadl
"The fanfare around London’s recent jazz resurgence has been loud. Thanks to grassroots organisations such as Tomorrow’s Warriors, which provide free workshops for teenagers interested in the genre but wary of its chin-stroking reputation, the vibrant scene has pushed through younger musicians whose audiences reflect their multiculturalism as much as their wide-ranging tastes.
This group reached the zenith of the hype machine when the band Ezra Collective sold out the 2,000-plus capacity club Koko last year, and Nérija signed to the major independent label Domino. Yet such music scenes often fragment into side projects and subgenres; this is as much Afrobeat, kuduro, jazz-rock and soca as it is bop. Perhaps we shouldn’t even be calling it jazz.
This fluidity of genre is nowhere better represented than by the pianist and Ezra Collective member Joe Armon-Jones, nominated this week for UK jazz act of the year at the Jazz FM awards. His playing has always veered from the lightning-paced freneticism of fusion-era Herbie Hancock to the slippery grooves of Lee Scratch Perry dubs. It has won him devoted fans, ones adorned in extra-wide Dickies, corduroy beanies and tote bags who vigorously head-nod along during this sold-out show.
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Backed by a six-piece band and two vocalists, mostly younger than 30, they are joyous and unpredictable. Playing through his debut record, Starting Today – a beguiling mix of intricate improvisations, sound-system grooves and rhythmic intensity – Armon-Jones spends the night hunched over a Rhodes piano, his shoulder-length ginger hair scraped into a ponytail, his hands dancing through the myriad changes.
London’s Face features a searing solo by trumpeter Dylan Jones, while Ragify showcases Armon-Jones’s flawless technique on its crackling piano intro. The crowd locks into every note. However, highlights came in the unplanned moments, such as Armon-Jones’s shaky but committed singing on Almost Went Too Far and the high-paced lyricism of drummer Kwake Bass on the new track Icy Roads.
Whatever you want to call this music, it embodies the best of London’s creative spirit – the chaotic friction of multiculturalism and the abundant talent that emerges from it."
Ammar Kalia, The Guardian, Mittwoch 13. Februar 2019