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BROWNSWOOD

Kokoroko

Could We Be More

    Following the huge success of 2018’s Kokoroko EP and the sensational Abusey Junction (100M streams and counting), Could We Be More is an expansive and ambitious debut album that speaks to the force of Kokoroko.

    Each song possesses the power to evoke memories and harness the feeling of home through music: from the psychedelic, funk-laden previous single ‘Something’s Going On’ to the congregational energy of today’s track ‘We Give Thanks’, ‘Could We Be More’ fuses together the African- London synergy which so naturally underpins the heat of Kokoroko’s identity.

    Winners of a slew of awards in the UK, Kokoroko specialise in soul shaking, horn fuelled sounds with West African roots and Inner London hues. Having played many EU Festivals including Glastonbury, Meltdown Festival, Elbjazz, & Jazz a la Villette, they are are looking forward to extending their reach further around the globe in 2022 and beyond. The band have performed on several BBC TV shows and their two Boiler Room sets have racked up almost half a million plays between them.

    “Drawing influence from West African highlife and jazz, wellmarinated in enough polyrhythm seasoning to induce fires on the dance floors they play.” Okay Africa

    “Afrobeat, jazz, soul and ’70s psych-leaning funk - luminescent” Cool Hunting

    “This female-led, multicultural collective of under 30s is a vital example of not only jazz’s new form but the shape of things to come.” The Guardian

    TRACK LISTING

    A1. Tojo
    A2. Blue Robe (pt.i)
    A3. Ewà Inú
    A4. Age Of Ascent
    A5. Dide O
    A6. Soul Searching
    B1. We Give Thanks
    B2. Those Good Times
    B3. Reprise
    B4. War Dance
    B5. Interlude
    B6. Home
    B7. Something's Going On
    B8. Outro
    B9. Blue Robe (pt.ii)

    DoomCannon

    Renaissance

      DoomCannon presents a meticulously crafted debut album ‘Renaissance’ available on a 12” LP vinyl, CD and digital formats on 15th July 2022. Journeying through an awakening and reimagining of the young Black British experience. Sequentially moving through a rich breadth of soundscapes, ‘Renaissance’ signifies the birth of a new era in DoomCannon’s trajectory. Inspired by an accumulation of experiences over the past four years and defined by significant events like the global pandemic to the worldwide outcry of the Black Lives Matter movement in the summer of 2020.

      DoomCannon spearheaded a plethora of forward-thinking, improvised Jazz-inspired outfits (Project Karnak, Triforce) and is the Musical Director of award-winning vocalist, Celeste, performing live at the Brit Awards and Later with Jools Holland. He presented his solo project at Abbey Road Studios & was selected via Jazz Re:freshed as part of the SXSW/British Council collaboration. Invited to curate sessions at the legendary Ronnie Scotts, DoomCannon is set to hit numerous stages, including his debut headline show at Peckham Audio, the Worldwide Awards, World Island Festival & We Out Here this Spring/Summer. 

      TRACK LISTING

      LP
      A1. Dark Ages
      A2. Entrance To The Unknown
      A3. Uncovering Truth
      A4. This Too
      B1. Amalgamation
      B2. Times (Feat. Lex Amor)
      B3. Black Liberation Prologue
      B4. Black Liberation

      CD
      1. Dark Ages
      2. Entrance To The Unknown
      3. Uncovering Truth
      4. Thesis (Not On LP)
      5. Amalgamation
      6. This Too
      7.Times (Feat. Lex Amor)
      8. Black Liberation Prologue
      9. Black Liberation 

      Str4ta

      When You Call Me / Night Flight

        In a natural departure from their intoxicating signature new-wave-jazz-funk sound, STR4TA present the double side 12” vinyl - “When You Call Me/Night Flight” available 8th July 2022.

        ‘When You Call Me’ is already available digitally and has received early support from Rampage (BBC 1Xtra) and Deb Grant (Jazz FM) plus NTS, MiSoul, Solar Radio, KCRW (US), KEXP (US), Concrete Islands, CRACK Magazine, Nu-Funk (Spotify) also achieved Jazz FM playlist since release in early April. In this latest offering, STR4TA unveil a refreshing neoteric layer reverberating with the essence of electro-street-soul in the UK.

        STR4TA is the new wave jazz-funk project pioneered by Gilles Peterson and Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick. Long-time friends and collaborators, STR4TA sees them mine new musical possibilities inspired by a shared formative era. Their debut album ‘Aspects’ was released in March 2021 to a rapturous reception, in the first material that Maunick and Peterson have released together in over a decade. With standout tracks ‘We Like It’ achieving over 1 million streams on Spotify, ‘Rhythm In Your Mind’ exceeding 12 weeks on Jazz FM’s playlist, and a remix EP featuring Melé, Dave Lee, Greg Wilson, Dave Aju & more released at the end of 2021. Heavily supported by BBC 6Music, The Guardian, Wax Poetics, The Vinyl Factory, CLASH, Télérama (FR), Radio Nova (FR), Rolling Stones Italy & Japan.

        STR4TA are in the studio working on their latest body of work tipped for release later in 2022, with selected live dates scheduled over the summer.

        TRACK LISTING

        A1. When You Call Me
        AA1: Night Flight

        Str4ta

        The Invicta Mixtape (Mixed By Gilles Peterson & Sam Bhok)

          Brownswood Recordings are proud to present an extension of the ever-evolving world of STR4TA, the brainchild of long time friends and collaborators Gilles Peterson and JeanPaul “Bluey” Maunick. ‘The Invicta Mixtape’ is a limited edition cassette format mixed by Gilles Peterson & Sam Bhok (Worldwide FM/Stay Put). Available on pre-order from November 1st, released on December 3rd 2021 with only 200 available worldwide. ‘The Invicta Mixtape’ features an array of illustrious producers and polymaths unleashing their unique interpretations of STR4TA’s standout tracks.

          With a percussive stripped-back rework of ‘Dance Desire’ by Steve Conry & Takashi Nakazato; a funk-laced ‘Rhythm In Your Mind’ by Ashley Beadle plus Glasgow’s Nuovi Fratelli add a cosmic disco flare in the mix. Dave Lee’s rework of ‘After The Rain’. ‘Vision 9’ is reconceived by Melé’s rhythmic inventiveness & Delfonic’s virtuoso. Also iconic reworks by technopioneer Dave Aju, the spellbinding Demus Dub & DJ veteran Greg Wilson. The mixtape honours the importance of Radio Invicta, London’s very first soul station running from the late-60s to mid-80s. The B-side contains the complete STR4TA album.

          TRACK LISTING

          Side A

          A1. Dance Desire (Steve Conry & Takashi Nakazato Remix)
          A2. Rhythm In Your Mind (North Street West Space Funk Rework #1)
          A3. Rhythm In Your Mind (Steve Conry & Takashi Nakazato Remix)
          A4. Rhythm In Your Mind (Nuovi Fratelli Cosmic Disco Remix)
          A5. After The Rain (Dave Lee Alternative II Dub)
          A6. After The Rain (Dave Lee Alternative II Mix)
          A7. Vision 9 (Delfonic Mix)
          A8. Vision 9 (Melé Mix)
          A9. Vision 9 (Melé Dub)
          A10. Dance Desire (Dave Aju Remix)
          A11. Aspects (Demus Dub)
          A12. Aspects (Greg Wilson Mix)
          A13. Aspects (Demus Dub)

          Side B

          B1. Aspects
          B2. Rhythm In Your Mind
          B3. Dance Desire
          B4. We Like It
          B5. Steppers Crusade
          B6. After The Rain
          B7. Kinshasa FC
          B8. Vision 9

          Secret Night Gang

          Secret Night Gang

          Handpicked by Gilles Peterson from Manchester’s vibrant live music community, and newly signed to Brownswood, 2021 is set to be the main stage for them to breeze on to the scene. Founded by singer/song-writer Kemani Anderson, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Callum Connell and Manchester music scene stalwart, Stuart Whitehead they were encouraged by their music teacher, Tom Burford, (aka Rhythm Section’s Contours) to start attending jam nights like ‘Jam Street’ and ‘Matt and Phreds’. Later, the band expanded to include veteran drummer and guitarist Myke Wilson and Jack Duckham; coming together to carve out their own lane, a real celebration of exceptional songwriting and musicianship. A multi-generational band breathing new life into the classic British street-soul sound.

          “Incredibly complete music, tight arrangements and with far reaching musical ambition” Gilles Peterson

          “Secret Night Gang’s burst of positive musical and life energy is a cathartic antidote to the troubles of the last year.” Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Millie says: Manchester's' own, Secret Night Gang are hot off the press with this upbeat offering to the jazz world and we can't get enough of it!

          TRACK LISTING

          1. Lonely
          2. Fall In Love
          3. Beautiful Day
          4. The Sun
          5. You Are My Love
          6. Journey
          7. Wanna Be With You
          8. Live Your Life
          9. Captured

          Dave Lee gets to load up the stems of STR4TA's "After The Rain" into his disco desk, the modern 12" mix aficionado carrying on the timeless tradition and giving us two, side-long interpretations of this killer STR4TA track. Produced by Gilles Peterson and Jean-Paul 'Bluey' Maunick, STR4TA is the catalyst for a homegrown, new wave of jazz-funk movement.

          This rework of "After The Rain’=" harps back to the classic Brit-Funk era whilst tailoring it to contemporary club culture with a spaced out dub; conscientiously keeping the essence of what is magical in the original mix. With the aim of giving more exposure to parts which are not so prominent in the original, Lee’s production process involved rearranging and rebalancing those parts, using a fading technique to create tension, moments and surprises that flow together, capturing that raw, moment to moment interaction and improvisation by the musicians involved.




          STAFF COMMENTS

          Matt says: Dave Lee, Giles Peterson and Jean-Paul Maunick under a Brit-funk state of mind? Sounds like musical heaven - and it is! A joy on the ears and the feet, you can tell how much enjoyment everyone involved is having from as soon as the needle hits the record. Your next living room disco needs this!

          TRACK LISTING

          A1. After The Rain (Dave Lee Alternative II Mix)
          B1. After The Rain (Dave Lee Alternative II Dub

          Kokoroko

          Baba Ayoola / Carry Me Home

          Kokoroko return with this exclusive double A side vinyl of 'Baba Ayoola' and 'Carry Me Home' released via Brownswood Recordings. Both singles achieved huge support upon digital release by BBC Radio, BBC 6 Music, 1Xtra, Afropunk, Clash, Rolling Stone France & NPR.

          'Baba Ayoola' was written as a tribute to the grandfather of the band's alto saxophonist Cassie Kinoshi and is 'an invitation to celebrate life'. Whilst 'Carry Me Home' was inspired by conversations with the masterful Dele Sosimi, whose technical ability in bridging the gap between the West African afrobeat sound of his roots, and the London energy of his upbringing, has directly informed the ever-impressive capabilities demonstrated by London's eight-piece collective, Kokoroko. Lively, and capturing that colourful hustle n bustle of the capitol; it’s a great double A-side to propel this band forward. Looking forward to a Manchester appearance soon guys!

          TRACK LISTING

          A1. Baba Ayoola
          AA1. Carry Me Home

          Gilles Peterson has partnered with Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick to reinvigorate the loose, protean energy of the early-80s Brit-funk scene. STR4TA sees them mine new musical possibilities outof that shared formative era. On “Aspects”, they revisit that important period and the spirit that guided it: self-taught, DIY vitality, and a raucous energy built on live performance. Bringing a fresh slant to a sound first developed by groups like Atmosfear, Hi-Tension, Light of the World and Freeez – with Maunick, it should be noted, also a member of the latter two bands – it’s the first material that Maunick and Peterson have released together in over a decade.

          It’s an idea that had been in the works for a while, but which was encouraged by a surprising catalyst: the award acceptance speech by Tyler, the Creator at the 2020 Brit Awards, where he shouted out the influence of “British funk from the 80s”. It was an acknowledgement of the particular sound that Maunick and his peers had honed, where their US influences were reoriented through their own circumstances. “Like everybody else who plays music, we tried to emulate our heroes,” Maunick says. “But we didn’t have the tools, we hadn’t studied music: were all playing by ear, and we were coming off bits and pieces that we liked off certain records.” This record is guided by the same ethos. An array of musical touchpoints have fed into the album’s direct, no-frills entries: each track’s parts are cut back to the bare bone. In writing and recording the album, the pair of them would work together to strike upon the point of departure – more naive, less considered – that had produced that killer Brit-funk sound. Peterson would dig out records that showed particular flashes or moods as jumping off points, and Maunick would then work with collaborators to build new directions out of those prompts or suggestions.

          It’s the latest chapter in a story that started with Peterson interviewing Maunick in his parents’ garden shed, the first interview that the former had ever conducted. Later, they would reconnect to put out a string of celebrated Incognito albums on Peterson’s pioneering, now-defunct Talkin’ Loud imprint. Now, linking up once more, they unpick an under-appreciated flashpoint in a vital musical lineage, one which each of them has been instrumental in shaping.

          TRACK LISTING

          1. Aspects
          2. Rhythm In Your Mind
          3. Dance Desire
          4. We Like It
          5. Steppers Crusade
          6. After The Rain
          7. Give In To What Is Real
          8. Kinshasa FC
          9. Vision 9

          Fabled as the city where dreams come to thrive or die, Johannesburg is forever pumping out the life-giving force of criss-crossing sonic tributaries. As this collection of specially recorded new music shows, every generation must discover for itself what perfecting the alchemy of that expression entails. Indaba Is - produced and managed by pianist Thandi Ntuli and The Brother Moves On bandleader Siyabonga Mthembu, tackles that inquiry with refreshing insight.

          The act of gathering to record in a time of isolation becomes one of anchoring and care, creating an energy field and capturing a living culture of making music. It is one in which bands exist to birth musical concepts as opposed to being static monoliths. Mostly recorded at Dyertribe Studio in Centurion, outside of Johannesburg, Indaba Is propels a collective of South African bands into the precipice of a new frontier. Jazz becomes a departure point as opposed to a tether.

          “The magic was in the choosing of artists who kind of straddle different genres, different ideas and sounds,” says Ntuli. “We put together musicians who are not in that kind of straight-ahead place, even though some may have been in the jazz tradition or jazz-influenced styles of music.” The collection features eight tracks, attributed to Bokani Dyer, Lwanda Gogwana, The Brother Moves On, Thandi Ntuli, The Wretched, Sibusile Xaba and Iphupho likaBiko. Think of the names as thresholds through which ideas cross into the populace as opposed to being signifiers of strict ownership. For one, there is no mistaking the almost spectral presence of both Ntuli and Mthembu in and around the music. “Between me and Thandi, we pick up on the producer duties for four of the tracks,” says Mthembu. “Some of the bands came with already preconceived ideas of what they wanted to do and needed just facilitation on getting it done.” Overall, the pair also provided enabling briefs which harnessed the collective energy of scenes often seen as operating centrifugally to Johannesburg’s all-consuming pull, or a little further down in its tiers of visibility. There are several examples where this approach yields astounding results.

          Indigenous knowledge is perhaps at the root of it, and a reverence for its treasures is instant, but there is an overall sense that Indaba Is asks us to consider the heavy lifting that remains.

          Johannesburg, a city without a landmark water source, built on excavating the energy of its living dead, has never sounded so world-weary, and yet so ready to emerge out of the hold. With its unity of purpose, Indaba Is represents the crucible, untenable to the touch yet warm to the soul.

          TRACK LISTING

          LP
          A1. Bokani Dyer - Ke Nako
          A2. The Brother Moves On - Umthandazo Wamagenge
          B1. Lwanda Gogwana - All Ok
          B2. The Wretched - What Is History
          C1. Sibusile Xaba With Naftali, Fakazile Nkosi, & AshK - Umdali
          C2. The Ancestors - Prelude To Writing Together
          D1. Thandi Ntuli - Dikeledi
          D2. IPhupho L’ka Biko Ft Siyabonga Mthembu & Kinsmen - Abaphezulu

          CD
          1. Bokani Dyer - Ke Nako
          2. The Brother Moves On - Umthandazo Wamagenge
          3. Lwanda Gogwana - All Ok
          4. The Wretched - What Is History
          5. Sibusile Xaba With Naftali, Fakazile Nkosi, & AshK - Umdali
          6. The Ancestors - Prelude To Writing Together
          7. Thandi Ntuli - Dikeledi
          8. IPhupho L’ka Biko Ft Siyabonga Mthembu & Kinsmen - Abaphezulu

          Zara McFarlane

          Songs Of An Unknown Tongue

            Brownswood are delighted to present Zara McFarlane’s, Songs of an Unknown Tongue a masterful work that underlines her continuous growth as an artist. Zara’s fourth studio album pushes the boundaries of jazz adjacent music via an exploration into the folk and spiritual traditions of her ancestral motherland, Jamaica. The album is a rumination on the piecing together of black heritage, where painful and proud histories are uncovered and connected to the present.

            Partnering with cult South London based producers Kwake Bass and Wu-lu, Zara has created a futuristic sound palate, electronically recreating the pulsing, hypnotic rhythms Kumina and Nyabinghi – and the music played at African rooted rituals like the emancipation celebration Bruckins Party, and the lively death rites of Dinki Minki and Gerreh. These richly patterned electronic rhythms are balanced throughout by McFarlane’s distinctive, clear vocal tones, and vivid song writing.

            Zara’s critically acclaimed third studio album ‘Arise’ met with universal critical praise, and was supported by an impressive live tour performing at festivals such as Love Supreme, Field Day and SXSW. Zara is the winner of multiple awards including a Mobo, 2 Jazz FM Vocalist of the Year Award (2018 & 2015), an Urban Music Award, and Session of the Year at Worldwide Awards. Drawing respect from a wide range of artists, Zara has collaborated with Gregory Porter, Shabaka Hutchings, Moses Boyd and Louie Vega.

            These new sonic explorations signal an exciting direction of travel for this innovative founding member of the UK’s vibrant homegrown jazz scene.

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Millie says: Zara McFarlane’s striking album ‘Songs of an Unknown Tongue’ is a reflective, hypnotic release filled with rich tones of roots-reggae, futuristic soul and rapid jazz tempos. The standout track for me is “Future Echoes” beaming with vibrancy and paired alongside a deep bassline, its soaring highs accentuate her stunning vocals and lyrical song-writing prowess. This genre-fusing album is a work of art, accentuating her personal growth and reflective aura through captivating storytelling.
            McFarlane’s rich and vivid vocals project a soothing, cathartic atmosphere, as though being awoken from a deep slumber – it feels warm and personal. Her vocal range is what takes your breath away, from steep impactful high-notes then fluctuating to deep, profoundly rich soft presence. It’s clear to see why Zara McFarlane has been highly regarded on the Brownswood label as one to watch, well here she is.

            TRACK LISTING

            1. Everything Is Connected
            2. Black Treasure
            3. My Story
            4. Broken Water
            5. Saltwater
            6. Run Of Your Life
            7. State Of Mind
            8. Native Nomad
            9. Roots Of Freedom
            10. Future Echoes

            A heavy new compilation from Brownswood shines a light on the independent underground in Melbourne, where a close-knit collection of artists have taken cues from soul, jazz and club culture to carve out a fresh Melbournian sound. Featuring nine different groups, many of them sharing members and studios, the record surveys the musical contours of this bubbling scene, nodding to house, broken beat, samba, p-funk and soul.

            Recorded over a week at The Grove, a fabled house-cum-studio in the North Melbourne suburb of Coburg, it’s home to the record’s engineer, Nick Herrera, and two members of Hiatus Kaiyote, the city’s breakout gangster-soul dons with whom many of the record’s personnel have collaborated. Silentjay was musical director, the Rhythm Section-affiliated multi-instrumentalist and producer (who’s played with Joey Bada$$ and Flying Lotus) marshalling together the album’s different players, many of them part of influential collectives 30/70 and Mandarin Dreams.

            Nurtured in the city’s collaborative, close-knit confines, the scene has been bubbling up under the radar of Australian music institutions, in the garages and makeshift studios of Melbourne’s suburban sprawl. Sunny Side Up is a colourful portrait of the scene’s potential, exploring the story behind this flourishing period and shining light on some of its most compelling figures.

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Millie says: Brownswood shifts its focus to creative collectives from Melbourne in Sunny Side Up, filled to the brim with Afro-beat, jazzy goodness and samba. From Allysha Joy to SilentJay, this compilation provides the relaxing chilled tones which make you want to sail away on an idyllic coastline.

            TRACK LISTING

            1. Phil Stroud - Banksia
            2. Dufresne - Pick Up / Galaxy
            3. Kuzich - There Is No Time
            4. Audrey Powne - Bleeding Hearts
            5. Zeitgeist Freedom Energy Exchange - Powers 2 (The People)
            6. Laneous - Nice To See You
            7. Silentjay - Eternal / Internal Peace
            8. Horatio Luna -The Wake-Up
            9. Allysha Joy - Orbit

            Bridging distinct but closely connected music scenes can open new possibilities. On ‘No More Normal’, Swindle confidently grasps the different sides to the UK music scene. Boasting roots in the boundary-pushing world of Grime & Dubstep, this album marks the next step in the London-raised producer’s expanded vision for his music. It fuses different disciplines together in new and electrifying ways. He connects a group of peers sharing creative common ground, one that centres around the fertile space between UK Jazz, Grime and Hip Hop. The results span from lush, strings-laden soul to voicebox-heavy p-funk – often in the course of one song. “It’s a class photo of 2018,” he says. “I need everyone in this picture.” It incorporates an all-star cast of MC’s in Kojey Radical, Ghetts, D Double E and P Money, to instrumentalists Yussef Dayes, Nubya Garcia, Riot Jazz, and singers such as Etta Bond, Eva Lazarus, Daley and Kiko Bun.

            The album was built over a three year period. The opening track “‘What We Do’ became the track that set the scene for each studio session, a way of Swindle explaining what he was setting out to achieve. Featuring an (on paper) unusual combination of R&B singer Daley, Grime legends P Money & D Double E, and an opening speech from Bristol-based spoken word artist, Rider Shafique - “It describes the narrative of the record overall and helped set the agenda for what followed - I made a lot of tracks that were really good that at the end of the day didn’t fit this project”. The resulting work has a pervading sense of triumph against the odds, and a celebration of togetherness at this moment of fragmentation that manages to feel both optimistic and nostalgic. A record that could have only been made in today’s multicultural Britain. “No More Normal is the idea of us doing our thing, our way, with no rules or limitations. It is jazz influenced as much as it is grime influenced. It’s London influenced as much as it is LA influenced. I can work with D Double E and Nubya Garcia, these records are my imagination brought to life in musical form”.



            STAFF COMMENTS

            Millie says: High energy Hip Hop at its finest, Swindle’s album No More Normal varies from Jazz to Hip Hop, Grime to R&B and just a bit of everything in-between. My personal favourites are ‘Knowledge’ and ‘Grateful’, articulate lyrics and boss beats create this confident and collaborative album.

            TRACK LISTING

            A1. What We Do (Feat. Rider ShafIque, P Money, D Double E + Daley)
            A2. Get Paid
            A3. Drill Work (Feat. Ghetts)
            A4. Run Up (Feat. Kiko Bun, Knucks, Eva Lazarus + Nubya Garcia)
            A5. Coming Home (Feat. Kojey Radical)
            A6. Reach The Stars (Feat. Andrew Ashong)
            B1. Knowledge (Feat. Eva Lazarus + Kiko Bun)
            B2. Take It Back (Feat. D Double E + Kiko Bun)
            B3. California (Feat. Etta Bond + Kojey Radical)
            B4. Talk A Lot (Feat. Eva Lazarus + Mansur Brown)
            B5. Grateful (Feat. Kojey Radical + Rider ShafIque)

            A primer on London’s bright-burning young jazz scene, this new compilation brings together a collection of some of its sharpest talents. A set of nine newly-recorded tracks, We Out Here captures a moment where genre markers matter less than raw, focused energy. Looking at the album’s running order, it could easily serve as a name-checking exercise for some of London’s most-tipped and hardworking bands of the past couple of years. Recorded across three long, fruitful days in a North West London studio, the crossover between each of the groups speaks to the close-knit circles which make up the scene.

            Surveying the way that London’s jazz-influenced music had spread outside of its usual spaces in recent years, this album bottles up some of the vital ideas emanating from that burgeoning movement. Giving a platform to a scene where mutual cooperation and a DIY spirit are second-nature, it’s a window into the wide-eyed future of London’s musical underground.

            Ubiquitous, much-lauded saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings is the project’s musical director. His own recent projects span from South Africa-connected, spiritually-minded jazz players Shabaka and the Ancestors to Sons of Kemet, who match diasporically-connected compositions with viscerally-direct live shows. His entry on the album, ‘Black Skin, Black Masks’, is typically difficult-to-define: with an off-kilter, shifting rhythmic backbone, repeated phrases – mirrored between clarinet and bass clarinet – shape the track with an alluring hue. His input ties together a deft, genre-agnostic sensibility that’s shared through all the players on the record.

            Theon Cross – who’s also part of Sons of Kemet with Hutchings – starts his track, ‘Brockley’, with the solo, distinctive low rumble of his tuba. Winding and mesmeric, it sees tuba and sax lines winding together in rhythmic and melodic parallels. Ezra Collective – whose drummer and bandleader Femi Koleoso has toured with Pharaohe Monch – run a tight, Afrobeat-tipped rhythm on ‘Pure Shade’, with the final third changing gear into a melodic, momentous closing stretch.

            Joe Armon-Jones, whose ludicrous chops on the piano have seen him touring with the likes of Ata Kak, showcases earworm-like, insistent motifs on ‘Go See’, balanced with a playful, improvisatory approach with room for ad-libbing and solos a-plenty. Taking a softer tact than many of the other entries, Kokoroko – whose guitarist Oscar Jerome has been making waves with his solo material – spin a lyrical, steady-paced meditation on ‘Abusey Junction’, matching chanted vocals with gently-played guitar.

            Nodding to spiritual jazz influences, Maisha’s ‘Inside The Acorn’ is a wandering, explorative rumination, balancing delicate washes of piano and percussion with sharp interplay between flute and bass clarinet. In contrast, Nubya Garcia’s ‘Once’ is taut and carefully-poised, her tenor sax guiding a carefully-built energy to an explosive conclusion. And finally, Triforce’s ‘Walls’ is a performance in two parts: starting with Mansur Brown’s languorous, lyrical guitar, the second half switches up to a low-slung, g-funk-tipped groove.

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Millie says: The trusty Brownswood label at the rescue again to point out all the new music you should be listening too, We Out Here is a collection of London’s blooming and ever-growing young musicians Jazz scene. This captures the vibe and hub around upcoming Jazz, elements of traditional raw Jazz elements matched with swooning percussion. The contemporary style reaches back into its essential past and is shone in a new era of up and coming artists.

            TRACK LISTING

            LP
            A.1 Maisha - Inside The Acorn
            A.2 Ezra Collective - Pure Shade
            B.1 Moses Boyd - The Balance
            B.2 Theon Cross - Brockley
            C1. Nubya Garcia - Once
            C2. Shabaka Hutchings - Black Skin, Black Masks
            C3. Triforce - Walls
            D1. Joe Armon-Jones - Go See
            D2. Kokoroko - Abusey Junction

            CD
            1. Maisha - Inside The Acorn
            2. Ezra Collective - Pure Shade
            3. Moses Boyd - The Balance
            4. Theon Cross - Brockley
            5. Nubya Garcia - Once
            6. Shabaka Hutchings - Black Skin, Black Masks
            7. Triforce - Walls
            8. Joe Armon-Jones - Go See
            9. Kokoroko - Abusey Junction

            The borders between London’s musical tribes have always been porous. For Yussef Kamaal, the sound of the capital – with its hum of jungle, grime and broken beat – has shaped a selftaught, UKtipped approach to playing jazz. In the states, the genre’s longrunning to-and-fro with hip hop – from Robert Glasper to Kamasi Washington – has reimagined it within US culture. On Black Focus, Yussef Kamaal frame jazz inside the basssaturated, pirate radio broadcasts of London.

            Taking inspiration from the anything-goes spirit of ‘70s jazzfunk, on albums by Herbie Hancock or the Mahavishnu Orchestra, it’s a loose template with plenty of room to experiment. The pair, made up of Yussef Dayes and Kamaal Williams (aka Henry Wu), have had little in the way of formal training. Instead, their musical tastes – and approach to playing – are indebted to Thelonious Monk’s piano as much as the drum programming of Kaidi Tatham.

            “It's all about the drums and the keys,” Williams says. “Not to take anything from anyone else, but that's where it all originates from: the chords, the rhythm of the chords and the drums.” Born out of a oneoff live session to perform Williams’ solo material for Boiler Room, it soon became a project in its own right. Coming together as Yussef Kamaal, they played a series of live shows where little more than a chord progression would be planned before taking to the
            stage.

            Bringing that unspoken understanding to the recording sessions (engineered by Malcolm Catto of The Heliocentrics), the unplanned, telepathically spawned grooves retain the raw energy of their live shows. “It's not so much about complete arrangement, it's more about flow,” Dayes says. “A lot of the tracks are just made spontaneously – Henry will be playing two chords, I'll fill in the groove and we'll just leave the arrangement naturally.” Both hail from South East London, crossing paths in 2007 as teenagers playing their first pub gigs around Peckham and Camberwell. Dayes drums for cosmicallyinclined, afrobeat outfit United Vibrations, while Williams – on top of drumming and playing keys in different incarnations over the years – has made waves with his solo, synthdraped house 12"s for muchfêted labels like 22a and Rhythm Section.

            Moving in the same circles but never playing together previously, rhythm underpins an innate musical understanding. As Williams explains, “The way we approach it is all about the energy and the feeling. We just get in there and we feel it out.” Drawing influence from all corners of London’s shapeshifting musical makeup, the sound of Black Focus is distilled – or focused – down to the core interlock between drums and keys.


            STAFF COMMENTS

            David says: The purists might argue that this isn't strictly jazz, I'm happy to argue back. It might use elements of broken beat and house on its journey but jazz is the final destination.

            TRACK LISTING

            A1. Black Focus
            A2. Strings Of Light
            A3. Remembrance
            B1. Yo Chavez
            B2. Ayla
            B3. O.G.
            B4. Lowrider
            B5. Mansur's Message
            B6. WingTai Drums
            B7. Joint 17

            Shabaka And The Ancestors

            Wisdom Of Elders

              Tradition shapes your work. For saxophonist and bandleader Shabaka Hutchings, that’s something he’s long understood. After years spent in the orbit of London’s jazz circuit, he examines and reimagines his influences with a dexterity that’s unique. Drawing out the vision underlying his new album, he says, “I see energy as being a form of wisdom to be passed down through the ages.” Unpicking the album’s title, he continues, “When we study the music, the lives, the words of our master musicians we obtain a glimpse of that artist’s essential energy source. This is the core vitality of the individual which leads them to utilise the musical specifics of their chosen genre in a way that mirrors their inner source of power. This is an intuited wisdom that’s handed to us from the legacies of our elders.” The album is a document of sessions combining Hutchings with a group of South African jazz musicians he’s long admired. His connection to the group was Mandla Mlangeni (bandleader of the Amandla Freedom Ensemble), whom he’d flown there to play with over the past few years. Recorded across just one day, the group drew on their South African lineage – heroes like Zim Ngquwana and Bheki Mseleku – to bring their own slant to the American jazz lineage being reconfigured in Hutchings’ compositions themselves. Going beyond the jazz greats Hutchings cites, influences are drawn from plenty of other sources: Caribbean calypso, central African song structures and Southern African Nguni music all play a part. Bringing together those ideas with the contributions of his bandmates is, he explains, crucial to what he sees in the role of an album artist. “Even though I wrote all the music, for me, the leader of the project isn’t the person who writes all the music but the one who has a vision for how certain musical elements will be combined.” Born in London, moving to the Barbados from the age of six to 16, his tenor sax has become a regular sight on stages around London and beyond since his return. Receiving awards from Jazz FM and the MOBOs for playing in – and often leading – groups like Sons of Kemet, The Comet Is Coming, Melt Yourself Down and Sun Ra Arkestra, he’s part of a generation whose idea of jazz is pointedly unrefined. That’s to say, "Wisdom of Elders" comes from an artist interested in the indefinable gaps more than fitting into boxes. 

              TRACK LISTING

              1. Mzawandile
              2. Joyous
              3. The Observer
              4. The Sea
              5. The Observed
              6. Natty
              7. OBS
              8. Give Thanks
              9. Nguni

              Anushka

              Distorted Air EP

                THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2014 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

                Brighton-based duo Max Wheeler (producer) and Victoria Port (singer/songwriter) are a classic British concoction of jazz-inflected heady dance floor thrills. While Victoria’s melodies bring the sweetness, the tracks have the low-end weight to please DJ mavens like Karizma and Brackles on Rinse and Moxie and Annie Mac on Radio 1.

                The results could be described as a UK Funky Lorde. The ‘Distorted Air’ EP forthcoming on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings, is full of Victoria’s songwriting on fractious romance, ever the well-spring of transcendent pop with sweet female attitude. There’s relationship breakdown on ‘Broken Circuit’ or the claustrophobia of ‘World In A Room’. All of which brings to mind 1998 Talkin’ Loud signing MJ Cole and his bedroom produced classic ‘Sincere’ which traded on a similar brew of jazz, musicality, connection with the living dance floor and the pull and push of love.


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