Incase you've been sleeping under a rock, Jazz-Fusion is well and truly back! From the Brainfeeder camp that has delivered us the likes of Flying Lotus, Thundercat and Kamasi Washington to a new wave of producers blurring the lines between club and something more cerebral like Floating Points or Max Graef, and even to the mainstream success of Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly, Jazz is finally cool again. Right now there seems to be something very exciting bubbling within London. While one can argue they've all been around for a minute now, a string of releases finally surfacing for the public's enjoyment are showcasing these incredibly talented musicians and rocketing them to stardom. Their understanding of the boundaries of music is pointedly both undefined and unrefined. Just the way we like it. Here's three artists we think you should get acquainted with if you haven't already.
The UK's answer to Kamasi Washington? Shabaka's beautiful and innovative tenor sax work has become a regular sight on the London circuit. He is already the driving force behind critically acclaimed groups Son's Of Kemet and The Comet Is Coming and a feature in Sun Ra Arkestra. Now Shabaka has turned to perhaps his most ambitious project to date, Shabaka And The Ancestors, and their debut Wisdom Of Elders. Joining up with a collective of South African musicians led by trumpeter Mandla Mlangeni, this album is a beautiful slice of Afro-Futurism, blending traditional African and modern London influences, all within Shabaka's impressive compositions. The sky is truly the limit for this brilliant musical mind!
You might already be familiar with the name Henry Wu, having made waves with his synth-draped house 12"s on labels like Rhythm Section International, 22A and Eglo Records. Now Wu (Kamaal Williams) has teamed up with fellow South Londoner and fabled drummer, Yuusef Dayes on a live jazz project that is much informed by the sounds of UK Bass culture as it is Jazz Funk. Driven by grooves, their output is a beautiful marriage of rich keys and hypnotic drums creating some very interesting results. Keep your ears pealed for the debut Black Focus on Gilles Peterson's Brownswood imprint early November.
Another South London export, Moses Boyd is one of the world's most exciting young talents today. An absolute drumming prodigy, He's taken out the Steve Reid Innovation Award in 2014, The MOBO Awards Best Jazz Act in 2015 for his work with saxophonist Binker Golding, and The John Peel Play More Jazz Award at Gilles' Worldwide Awards in 2016. He's already toured and collaborated with the likes of Lonnie Liston Smith, Zara McFarlane and Soweto Kinch, whilst leading his own outfit The Exodus. Like the artists mentioned above, Moses is as much influenced by the modern London sound as he is with Jazz traditions. If his dance-infused 12" monster on his own Exodus Records is anything to go by, this kid is about to be very hot property.
Check this incredible footage of him taking Afro-Beat lessons with the legendary Tony Allen!