Over the past few years, jazz music has been exploding across the UK and beyond. A new generation of artists are pushing the boundaries of jazz, reclaiming the genre from the old guard and redefining it for newer audiences. Arguably reducing this fresh sound to one word, jazz, doesn’t quite define such a restless hybrid of styles and genres. A sound that blends hip-hop, grime, funk, soul and club sounds with influences from Latin America, South Asia and West Africa; all-the-while anchored to jazz at its core.
No truer is this melting-pot of styles, as in the forthcoming autumn season of Late Night Jazz. Here are my top 5 picks of the shows you don’t want to miss:
Kicking the season off on 28 September is Quincy Jones protégé Ollie Howell. A multi-instrumentalist, producer, composer and Jazz FM presenter, this hot young talent has got it all.
He’ll be playing music from his new album Self Identify, which sees Howell documenting the first step in a journey of self-examination. Expect plenty of impressive soloing to compliment Howell’s roomy compositions.
UK-based Gambian kora player Jally Kebba Susso comes to the Elgar Room on 5 October.
Expanding the boundaries of kora traditions, Jally Kebba blends West African music with jazz, funk and sounds from London’s underground music scene. The result is a nuanced and rooted sound that is immediately accessible and uplifting.
British-Bahraini trumpet and flugelhorn player Yazz Ahmed will grace the Elgar Room on 12 October. Yazz has been deservedly credited as one of the hottest rising stars on the UK jazz scene.
Exploring the genre through her British-Bahraini roots, the recent release of her second album La Saboteuse sees Yazz fluently improvise in Arabic scales. With support coming from the likes of Gilles Peterson, you know this one will be special.
Afrobeat collective Kokoroko make their Late Night Jazz debut on 26 October.
Having recently headlined the V&A’s Reveal Festival in collaboration with Boiler Room, Kokoroko have been making waves across London for their energetic sound. Drawing on West-African influences from the likes of Ebo Taylor, Fela Kuti and Tony Allen, this one’s guaranteed to get you dancing.
Upright bass extraordinaire, Daniel Casimir, will be dropping by the Elgar Room for a special edition of Late Night Jazz on Wednesday 15 November, as part of the London Jazz Festival.
Earlier this year Casimir released Escapee on the ever-prevalent jazz re:freshed imprint, with an all-star line-up of London’s finest rising jazz musicians. Expect passion and power in both his compositions and energy on stage.