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The new British jazz scene

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Playlist: The new British jazz scene

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Electro, free, hard bop or groovy, experimental or classical, the British jazz scene has never been so exciting an eclectic in years. Here’s a generation of musical adventurers who know their classics and they’re determined to take them one step further and explore new musical horizons.

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The new British jazz scene

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Title Artist Album Duration
1
Time-Lapse City
GoGo Penguin Ocean In A Drop (Music For Film) 00:03:55

Norman Nitzsche, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nick Blacka, Composer, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Rob Turner, Composer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - GoGo Penguin, MainArtist - Chris Illingworth, Composer, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Joseph Reiser, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brendan Williams, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2019 Decca Records France

2
Offset
Portico Quartet Memory Streams 00:04:31

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Portico Quartet, MainArtist - Duncan Bellamy, Composer - Jack Wyllie, Composer - Milo Fitzpatrick, Composer

2019 Gondwana Records 2019 Gondwana Records

3
Kandaiki
Mammal Hands Animalia 00:05:15

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Nick Smart, Composer - Mammal Hands, MainArtist - Jordan Smart, Composer - Jesse Barrett, Composer

Gondwana Records Gondwana Records

Lund Quartet, Composer, Performer

OpenLab Records Lund Quartet

5
Realisations
Ashley Henry Beautiful Vinyl Hunter 00:06:09

Luke Flowers, Drums - Dylan Jones, Trumpet - Binker Golding, Saxophone - Ferg Ireland, Bass - Ashley Henry, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, Arranger, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Moses Boyd, Producer - Ernesto Marichales, Percussion

(P) 2019 Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited

6
Transient State
GoGo Penguin A Humdrum Star (Deluxe) 00:05:59

Norman Nitzsche, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nick Blacka, Composer, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Rob Turner, Composer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - GoGo Penguin, MainArtist - Chris Illingworth, Composer, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Joseph Reiser, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brendan Williams, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Lee Aston, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rob Kelledy, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2018 Decca Records France

7
Mzwandile (feat. Shabaka Hutchings)
Shabaka and the Ancestors Wisdom of Elders (feat. Shabaka Hutchings) 00:13:31

Shabaka and the Ancestors, Performer - Shabaka Hutchings, Composer - Siyabonga Mthembu, Writer

2016 Brownswood Recordings 2016 Brownswood Recordings

8
The Valley of the Ultra Blacks
Binker and Moses The Valley of the Ultra Blacks 00:03:54

Binker and Moses, MainArtist

(C) 2017 Gearbox Records Limited (P) 2017 Gearbox Records Limited

9
Strings of Light
Yussef Kamaal Black Focus 00:08:28

Yussef Kamaal, Performer - Henry Wu, Composer - Yussef Dayes, Composer - Tom Driessler, Composer

2016 Brownswood Recordings 2016 Brownswood Recordings

10
Summon The Fire
The Comet Is Coming Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery 00:03:55

Kristian Craig Robinson, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Daddy Kev, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Shabaka Hutchings, Composer, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - The Comet Is Coming, MainArtist - Max Hallett, Composer, Producer, Mixer, Co-Arranger, Drums, Percussion, Rhythm Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Danalogue, Composer, Producer, Mixer, Co-Arranger, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel

An Impulse! Records release; ℗ 2019 UMG Recordings, Inc.

11
Mzwandile (feat. Shabaka Hutchings)
Shabaka and the Ancestors Wisdom of Elders (feat. Shabaka Hutchings) 00:13:31

Shabaka and the Ancestors, Performer - Shabaka Hutchings, Composer - Siyabonga Mthembu, Writer

2016 Brownswood Recordings 2016 Brownswood Recordings

12
Mulago
Alfa Mist Structuralism 00:04:07

Copyright Control, OriginalPublisher - Alfa mist, Artist, MainArtist - John Woodham, Composer - jamie houghton, Composer - Alfa Sekitoleko, Composer, Arranger - James Creswick, Composer

2019 Sekito 2019 Sekito

13
Branches Break
GoGo Penguin Man Made Object (Deluxe Edition) 00:04:22

Nick Blacka, Composer, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Rob Turner, Composer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - GoGo Penguin, MainArtist - Chris Illingworth, Composer, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Decca Records France, Producer

℗ 2016 Decca Records France

14
Endless
Portico Quartet Art in the Age of Automation 00:04:25

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Portico Quartet, MainArtist - Duncan Bellamy, Composer - Jack Wyllie, Composer

Gondwana Records Gondwana Records

15
Always
Julia Biel Julia Biel 00:04:32

MCPS, MusicPublisher - Julia Biel, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, Artist, MainArtist - Idris Rahman, Producer - Laurent Dupuy, Mixer

2017 Rokit Records 2017 Rokit Records

16
Little Secrets
Neil Cowley Trio Displaced 00:03:46

Neil Cowley Trio, MainArtist

(C) 2006 Hide Inside Records, Ltd. (P) 2007 Hide Inside Records, Ltd.

17
Red Bush
Emma-Jean Thackray Ley Lines 00:04:12
18
Neptune
Moses Boyd Time and Space 00:07:16

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Moses Boyd, Composer, MainArtist

Exodus Records Exodus Records

19
Sophia
United Vibrations The Myth of the Golden Ratio 00:06:08

Jack Yglesias, Composer - Ahmad Dayes, Composer, Writer - United Vibrations, MainArtist - Miles James, Composer - Yussef Dayes, Composer, Writer - Kareem Dayes, Composer, Writer - Wayne H. Francis II, Composer, Writer

© 2016 Ubiquity Recordings, Inc. ℗ 2016 Ubiquity Recordings, Inc.

20
In My Room
Jacob Collier In My Room 00:04:49

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Jacob Collier, MainArtist

(C) 2016 Membran (P) 2016 Membran

21
Hurdy-Gurdy
Elliot Galvin Trio Punch 00:04:01

Elliot Galvin Trio, MainArtist

(C) 2016 Edition Records Ltd. (P) 2016 Edition Records

22
Rarebit
Troyka Moxxy 00:05:10

Troyka, MainArtist - Kit Downes, FeaturedArtist - Chris Montague, FeaturedArtist - Joshua Blackmore, FeaturedArtist

(C) 2012 Edition Records (P) 2012 Edition Records

23
Ruins
Portico Quartet Portico Quartet 00:05:34

Portico Quartet, Artist, Main Artist - Imagem Music

2011 Real World Productions Ltd 2011 Real World Productions Ltd

24
Black Sails
Mammal Hands Shadow Work 00:04:46

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Nick Smart, Composer - Mammal Hands, MainArtist - Jordan Smart, Composer - Jesse Barrett, Composer

Gondwana Records Gondwana Records

25
Music Style Product
Get The Blessing Bugs in Amber 00:03:55

Get The Blessing, MainArtist

(C) 2009 Candid Productions Ltd (P) 2009 Candid Productions Ltd

26
My Queen Is Harriet Tubman
Sons Of Kemet Your Queen Is A Reptile 00:05:40

Tom Skinner, Drums, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Eddie Hick, Drums, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Shabaka Hutchings, Producer, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Sons Of Kemet, MainArtist - Dilip Harris, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Theon Cross, Tuba, AssociatedPerformer - Moses Boyd, Drums, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2018 Verve Label Group, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

27
Only a Woman (feat. Josephine Oniyama)
Matthew Halsall Into Forever 00:03:49

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Josephine Oniyama, Composer, FeaturedArtist - Matthew Halsall, Composer, MainArtist - The Gondwana Orchestra, MainArtist

Gondwana Records Gondwana Records

28
Partner Girlfriend Lover
Nérija Blume 00:05:15

Kwes, Producer, Mixer - Lucky Number Music, MusicPublisher - Shirley Tetteh, Composer - Nérija, MainArtist

2019 Domino Recording Co Ltd 2019 Domino Recording Co Ltd

29
When We Are
Nubya Garcia When We Are 00:06:39

Nubya Garcia, MainArtist

(C) 2018 Nyasha Records (P) 2018 Nyasha Records

30
Tick Tock
Tom Misch Geography 00:04:13

Tom Misch, Producer, MainArtist - jamie houghton, Writer - Thomas Abraham Misch, Writer

2018 Beyond The Groove 2018 Beyond The Groove

31
Tower Casa
Nick Smart's Trogon Tower Casa 00:04:39

Nick Smart's Trogon, MainArtist

(C) 2014 BABEL (P) 2014 Babel Label

32
Waiting for Javier/ Luzern
Dominic Lash Quartet Opabinia 00:07:57

Dominic Lash Quartet, MainArtist

(C) 2013 BABEL (P) 2014 Babel Label

33
Capriole
Alexander Hawkins Leaps in Leicester 00:09:36

Evan Parker, MainArtist - Alexander Hawkins, MainArtist

(C) 2016 Clean Feed Records (P) 2016 Clean Feed Records

34
Fix My Life
Various Artists Yes Wave 00:04:02

Melt Yourself Down, MainArtist

Tummy Touch Records LLC Tummy Touch Records LLC

Sam Crockatt Quartet, Main Artist

2016 Whirlwind Recordings Ltd 2016 Whirlwind Recordings Ltd (Under exclusive license from Sam Crockatt Music)

36
Flight Music
Laura Jurd Landing Ground 00:07:19

Laura Jurd, Composer, Performer

2012 Laura Jurd 2012 Laura Jurd

37
Blessings
Empirical Empirical 00:05:42

Courtney Pine, Performer - Dennis Rollins, Performer - Blanchard Terence Oliver, Composer

2007 Creative People Music 2007 Creative People Music

Kristian Craig Robinson, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Daddy Kev, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Shabaka Hutchings, Composer, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - The Comet Is Coming, MainArtist - Max Hallett, Composer, Producer, Mixer, Co-Arranger, Drums, Percussion, Rhythm Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Danalogue, Composer, Producer, Mixer, Co-Arranger, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel

An Impulse! Records release; ℗ 2019 UMG Recordings, Inc.

39
Winder
Strobes Brokespeak 00:04:39

Strobes, Performer - Dan Nicholls, Composer - Matt Calvert, Composer - Joshua Blackmore, Composer

Strobes under exclusive license to Blood and Biscuits Strobes under exclusive license to Blood and Biscuits

40
The Eyes That Saw the Mountain
Mammal Hands Floa 00:05:44

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Nick Smart, Composer - Mammal Hands, MainArtist - Jordan Smart, Composer - Jesse Barrett, Composer

Gondwana Records Gondwana Records

41
Starting Today (feat. Asheber)
Joe Armon-Jones Starting Today 00:09:03

Copyright Control, OriginalPublisher - Asheber, FeaturedArtist - Joe Armon-Jones, Composer, Author, Arranger, Artist, MainArtist - Ras Asheber, Composer, Author, Arranger

2018 2018

42
The Philosopher
Ezra Collective Juan Pablo: The Philosopher 00:05:16

Ezra Collective, MainArtist

(C) 2017 Enter The Jungle Records (P) 2017 Enter The Jungle Records

43
Bloom
Yazz Ahmed La Saboteuse 00:05:07

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Yazz Ahmed, MainArtist

2017 Naim Audio Ltd. Under Exclusive Licence from Yazz Ahmed 2017 Naim Audio Ltd. Under Exclusive Licence from Yazz Ahmed

44
Go See
Various Artists We Out Here 00:07:42

Joe Armon-Jones, Arranger, Composer, Performer, Writer

2017 2017

45
Brockley
Various Artists We Out Here 00:03:36

Theon Cross, Composer, Performer, Writer

2017 2017

46
Breathe
Andrew McCormack Graviton 00:04:16

Andrew McCormack, Producer, MainArtist - Martin Hummel, Producer

(C) 2019 Ubuntu Music (P) 2019 Ubuntu Music

47
Ti-de
Kokoroko KOKOROKO 00:06:12

Copyright Control, OriginalPublisher - Domino Publishing, OriginalPublisher - Sheila Maurice-Grey, Composer - Kokoroko, Arranger, Artist, MainArtist

2019 Brownswood Recordings 2019 Brownswood Recordings

48
Red Lagoon
Triforce Triforce 5ive 00:03:36

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Triforce, MainArtist - Mansur Brown, Composer

Jazz Refreshed Ltd Jazz Refreshed Ltd

49
Burn & Rise
Yazmin Lacey When the Sun Dips 90 Degrees 00:02:38

Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Yazmin Lacey, Composer, MainArtist

2018 First Word Records 2018 First Word Records

50
My Queen Is Ada Eastman
Sons Of Kemet Your Queen Is A Reptile 00:06:41

Tom Skinner, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Seb Rochford, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Shabaka Hutchings, Producer, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Sons Of Kemet, MainArtist - Joshua Idehen, Vocals, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Dilip Harris, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Theon Cross, Tuba, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2018 Verve Label Group, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

About Playlist

Electro, free, hard bop or groovy, experimental or classical, the British jazz scene has never been so exciting an eclectic in years. Here’s a generation of musical adventurers who know their classics and they’re determined to take them one step further and explore new musical horizons.

The New British Jazz Scene in 10 Albums

by Marc Zisman, translated by Abigail Church

Hard bop, hip hop, free jazz, groove, electro, calypso, experimental or Caribbean: the key players of the new British jazz scene are open to everything. They know their classics like the back of their hands though they certainly don’t hold back from exploring all kinds of genres, making for a wonderfully eclectic sound. Here we look back over ten essential albums.

Portico Quartet – Knee-Deep in the North Sea
Far from the funky fusions that make up a large part of the British jazz scene, since 2007 Portico Quartet have been offering up a very unique approach - one stamped with exotic sounds; exotic enough to catch the attention of Peter Gabriel, who signed them to his label Real World. With Knee-Deep in the North Sea, released in November 2007, saxophonist Jack Wyllie, bassist Milo Fitzpatrick, drummer Duncan Bellamy and hang drum player Nick Mulvey took their jazz into uncharted territory. Steve Reich’s minimalism, jazz from old ECM records, Caribbean music and Penguin Cafe Orchestra’s neoclassicism come together to create a colourful symphony carried by a dialogue between the sax and hang drum. With this album the quartet unveiled a sound with adventurous melodic contours, which evolved into other textures over the course of their next albums.



Yussef Kamaal – Black Focus

Yussef Kamaal is not one person but two. When they decided to join forces in 2016, drummer Yussef Dayes and keyboardist Kamaal Williams probably didn’t imagine that they would soon give birth to one of the most successful albums of the new British jazz scene. Black Focus, released by Gilles Peterson on his label Brownswood, brings together all the various elements of the movement’s DNA. Yussef Kamaal's starting point and motivation is ultimately the same as all the other musicians in the movement: a huge passion for jazz, soul, grime, drum & bass, Afrobeat and even dub. Like their American cousins Robert Glasper and Thundercat, the British duo love the funky seventies sounds of the jazz fusion giants (ahhh that sweet sound of the Fender Rhodes!). The ghosts of Roy Ayers, Lonnie Smith, The Headhunters and the Brazilian group Azymuth seem to haunt Black Focus, a record created alongside trumpeter Yelfris Valdés, bassists Tom Driessler and Kareem Dayes, guitarist Mansur Brown and the inevitable saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings. The cherry on the cake is that Malcolm Catto (producer and co-founder of The Heliocentrics) avoids making this record sound overly vintage.

Ashley Henry – Beautiful Vinyl Hunter
Ashley Henry sees jazz as plural; mixing tradition with soul, funk, rap, afrobeat, grime and Caribbean. Born in November, 1991, and graduating from the Royal Academy of Music in 2016, the London pianist has already worked with various world-renowned artists, including rapper Loyle Carner, singers Christine & The Queens and Zara McFarlane as well as jazz legends such as Terence Blanchard, Robert Glasper, Jean Toussaint, Jason Marsalis and Anthony Joseph. For his first real studio album (released in September 2019) Henry signed off on a sincere musical self-portrait detailing his education and mixed-race heritage. “My music is a clear expression of what I am, of what London is in all her glorious diversity. The immigrant in me has roots that go back to the 17th century. It’s important to me that my music today reflects that lineage, through different styles of music and different generations.” And that’s exactly what he does, with bountiful energy and vigour, in the company of drummers Luke Flowers (from The Cinematic Orchestra) and Makaya McCraven, trumpeters Theo Croker, Jaimie Branch and Keyon Harrold, saxophonist Binker Golding, bassist Dan Casimir, drummer Eddie Hick, percussionist Ernesto Marichales, singers Judi Jackson and Milton Suggs, and rapper Sparkz. Like a modern Herbie Hancock, Ashley Henry spreads a warm groove and coats everything he touches with naturalness - even when he slips in a cover of Solange’s Cranes (In the Sky)! No over-calculations, just the pure, simple joy of sharing music.



Joe Armon-Jones – Starting Today
A young mad scientist behind the piano, Joe Armon-Jones featured on the compilation album We Out Here. As a co-founder of Ezra Collective, Starting Today is his first album as a leader. Much like his peers, Armon-Jones was bottle-fed on a thousand different genres: jazz, of course, but also fusion, club music, afrobeat, hip-hop, neo-soul, acid jazz, dub and funk… Anything goes on this funky record, which features Nubya Garcia, Moses Boyd, Ras Asheber, Oscar Jerome, Big Sharer and Kwake Bass. Starting Today (which, in the classical sense of the word, cannot strictly speaking be classed as jazz) echoes the sounds of the late seventies and early eighties, when soul and funk was infiltrating the genre, for better or for worse. Roy Ayers, Bernard Wright, Ramsey Lewis, Ronnie Laws, Ronnie Foster, The Blackbirds, The Headhunters and Alphonse Mouzon often come to mind. However, Joe Armon-Jones doesn’t forget to remind us that he is firmly rooted in the present. So, instead of smelling like mothballs, this debut album feels more like a groovy highlights reel.

Alfa Mist – Structuralism
There’s no need to check whether Alfa Mist has read Roland Barthes, the father of structuralism... Behind his keyboard, the Brit produced Structuralism with a more modest objective: “I have been affected by my environment. My upbringing has shaped me in a way where I do not know how to communicate. Structuralism is about 'I am who I am' because of the structure of society I grew up into. Now I need to learn how to communicate.” What Alfa Mist communicates (and communicates very well) with this second album is an innate sense of soft groove and a vital need for dialogue. This record, which explores soul, funk and hip-hop, is yet more proof of the vitality of Britain’s current jazz scene. It was hip-hop that marked the first chapter of this young musician’s story. After spending his days making beats for grime and rap artists, the Londoner discovered jazz via samples and deconstructed albums by the likes of J Dilla, Miles Davis and even film score composer Hans Zimmer, one of his greatest idols. As a self-taught musician, Alfa Mist has immersed himself in the world of piano and keyboard. With the help of a Fender Rhodes and a classical piano, he draws out the contours of melancholic and sensuous soul jazz. The result is an atmospheric groove with palpable influences from Herbie Hancock and Robert Glasper, which he creates alongside trumpeter Johnny Woodham, drummers Peter Adam Hill and Jamie Houghton, guitarist Jamie Leeming, bassists Kaya Thomas-Dyke and James Rudi Creswick, violinists Katie Neaves, Simmy Singh and Lucy Nolan and cellist Peggy Nolan, not to forget Jordan Rakei on the song Door. This pastel-coloured score confirms the huge talent of a musician who’s certainly one to watch.

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