Music Essay | posted 24.06.2019
British Jazz
On The Hot Spot
Jazz in Great Britain is in the midst of a generational shift. New talents from Manchester to London are revising gridlocked listening habits and are testing the limits of the genre. But why now?
Text Nils Schlechtriemen , Translation Sebastian Hinz
Soj_british_magazin_artikel_1024px_685px

»The whole landscape has changed, before venues and night world were quite separate. Put in simple terms, jazzers were doing jazz and other people were off doing things that were considered totally different. In the last five years things have become more broad and integrated«, Moses Boyd recalls in an interview with The Guardian. The drummer is at the core of London’s DIY-jazz scene at the moment and together with his colleague and saxophonist Binker Golding makes up the duo Binker & Moses. He like many others knows: Besides its cosmopolitan flair, the club landscape in the city was at one point in time quite separated, both culturally and musically. One the one side venues for the intellectual listener, who listens to jazz and experimental music. On the other clubs where one could dance to UK bass, grime and hip hop – here the supposed old and pretentious sound, there the hip new musical styles. Since 2010, Boiler Room is active in bringing both together on an increasingly international scale. Also NTS Radio, founded in 2011 by Femi Adeyemi and labels like Eglo, Total Refreshment Centre or Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings are eager to merge different musical cultures and styles that thrive in London, Manchester or Sheffield – not just because of great musicians, but also because club owners and organizers are taking a stand against the pressure of public authorities.

»There is certainly the audience there in London for experimental improv music of all kinds but it’s really really hard to fight many council’s repressive policies that seek only to shut down live music as completely as possible. I have huge respect for the venue owners they are making the impossible happen quite often!«, says Idris Rahman, saxophonist for Ill Considered, one of the most active projects in London at the moment. The four-piece combo consists of the core members Rahman, Leon Brichard, Emre Ramazanoglu and Satin Singh, all of which know each other well but only play together for little more than two years. Yet they managed to release five studio albums and four live albums in this time – all of it without a label, single-handedly distributed via Bandcamp.

»There are no downsides for us aside from it’s a huge amount of work, mainly for Leon who packs and ships all records manually and deals with all the distribution. It’s a mammoth undertaking but it seems to be working!« The effort seems to be worth it, even financially without ever compromising the artistic freedom or being confronted with the accusation of »selling out«. »Bandcamp is an incredible, empowering platform and is at the core of our model because we can release what we want, when we want and how we want it!« Of course, the Ill Considered crew is not the only one using the fresh possibilities of social media and online music platforms. Other musicians are also involved and often know each other from multiple projects. For example Rahman and Brichard cooperate with Sons of Kemet drummer Tom Skinner for the spiritual jazz of Wildflower, while Skinner and Satin Singh together with Shabaka Hutchings constitute the afrobeat/punk setup Melt Yourself Down, with its wild rhythmic climaxes.

»There is certainly the audience there in London for experimental improv music of all kinds but it’s really really hard to fight many council’s repressive policies that seek only to shut down live music as completely as possible.« (Idris Rahman of Ill Considered)

Even on the surface, the whole scene is intricately intertwined, which is pretty visible in the figure of Hutchings. The sax virtuoso released a memorable debut under the moniker Shabaka And The Ancestors, for which he teamed up with befriended musicians from South Africa. The result was one of the most fascinating releases of this curious British jazz revival taking over the scene at the moment. Before that, he contributed with his versatile sax style to the gloomy debut of Zed-U (“Night Time On The Middle Passage”) and made a name for himself as a gifted clarinetist on “Step Wide, Step Deep” by the Alexander Hawkins Ensemble. Whether funk or space rock, afrobeat or avant-garde jazz: Hutchings is taking in all these various musical synergies from his creative environment as fluently as ideas from the internet or festivals he plays at. Other musicians such as Mansur Brown or Kamaal Williams are developing their style in a similar fashion, just like the whole musical milieu in which they grew as artists over the last years and in which a certain DIY attitude got paired with a growing lust for experiment, which has in one form or another existed at least since the early 90s. After all, acid jazz and grime, jungle and UK bass came from the urban centers of Britain and were commercial as well as cultural export hits. Many artists who are rising in the current environment know this and naturally grew up with albums like Dizzee Rascals »Boy In Da Corner«, which was named by Moses Boyd as an early influence while pianist Kamaal Williams and drummer Yussef Dayes like to name the broken beats of Neon Phusion or 4 Hero as a seminal creative experience. Gilles Peterson’s eclectic DJ-mix »INCredible Sound Of Gilles Peterson« from 1999 can be considered an anticipation of the current state of affairs within the British scene, complementing Acid Jazz with Downtempo and Dub, but also considering Funk, House and Soul as fitting elements for new eclectic styles of music.


You can find Jazz from Great Britain on Vinyl record in our HHV webshop


In many ways, Peterson is one of the busiest personalities in the British music sphere and is active since the late 80s, when he was involved in the establishment of labels like Acid Jazz or Talkin’ Loud. Both essential for the development of the London underground since the 90s but because of some kind of trickle-up effect also for British commercial chart music of those days. Most albums by Japanese acid jazz trio United Future Organization were released via a sub-label of Talkin’ Loud, called Brownswood Records instead of Recordings. Other artists like Incognito, Galliano, Roni Size, Urban Specia and 4 Hero made Talkin’ Loud an important musical focal point. With Brownswood Recordings, Peterson is working very effectively on the consequent continuation of his artistic philosophy as DJ, producer and label owner. From Ghostpoet to Zara McFarlane, from Mala to the Owiny Sigoma Band*, to Yussef Kamaal as well as the already mentioned Shabaka and the Ancestors, Brownswood Recordings is pushing new talents with reliable regularity. What was bubbling beneath the surface for a while is coming to the surface for the better part of a decade now.

»In a way, Britain is so hungry for culture and music culture that it can act as a catalyst to awaken music which is lying dormant in America but can become huge there on the back of becoming big here in England. And I think that a lot of artists, whether it’s The Roots or Mos Def or Madlib or J Dilla – all these slightly left of center groups from America always did really well in Europe and the UK before it got retaken by its home. And I think that’s what’s happening with jazz right now and what happened for many years in a way.« After bringing Brownswood to the forefront of everything jazz in the UK, Peterson got the opportunity to curate his own program at BBC Radio 6 Music. As a passionate vinyl collector, producer and creative globetrotter he is mixing myriads of styles from afrobeat and Brazilian pop to jazz in every thinkable way to soul, hip hop, breakbeat and house, reaching millions of listeners at once. Meanwhile the scene is not only as tightly linked as Peterson himself but also likewise open-minded. Which is noticeable on both sides of the Atlantic.

»In a way, Britain is so hungry for culture and music culture that it can act as a catalyst to awaken music which is lying dormant in America but can become huge there on the back of becoming big here in England. And I think that a lot of artists, whether it’s The Roots or Mos Def or Madlib or J Dilla – all these slightly left of center groups from America always did really well in Europe and the UK before it got retaken by its home. And I think that’s what’s happening with jazz right now and what happened for many years in a way.« (Gilles Peterson)

»So what’s really funny at the moment is when you see all these American executives and ideas people coming to London, going to listen to the Sons Of Kemet at Total Refreshment Center. And they are kind of going there as we were going to Detroit in the mid-60s to go and visit Barry Gordy. It’s really interesting at the moment« the Brownswood founder states with a hint of satisfaction.

So why now? Maybe this extensive shift in the way British jazz sounds and incorporates various styles and cultural influences could have happened at any point in time, even 20 years ago. Back then there was no Brexit, likewise no fully developed internet with its culture shifting qualities. Despite all the political razzle dazzle and a social climate in which resentments against different cultures seem to thrive again, these musicians of various backgrounds and genres are helping to bring about a new upheaval in jazz music or music in general. In mid august, the first edition of the We Out Here festival will take place in Cambridgeshire and the lineup reads like a who’s who of contemporary creative sound design. Gary Bartz and Matthew Herbert will be there, but also Objekt and Skee Mask as well as Awesome Tapes From Africa, Hailu Mergia or The Comet Is Coming. Beyond cultural appropriation, this jazz revival is like a musical renaissance that would have been impossible to fathom ten or fifteen years ago – and that is sustained by labels, artists and music lovers alike.

»These days people are hungry for a sort of non-algorithmic approach to curation and mixing«, Peterson says. »We’ve taken this music and we’ve put it into a context that is different to anywhere else in the world and suddenly the audience is having a different relationship with it. And now you’ve got this new movement of British musicians, finally, with enough confidence and enough DIY-knowledge to be able to take the music but give it its own platform which is inspiring the world.«


You can find Jazz from Great Britain on Vinyl record in our HHV webshop

Lottery
XJAZZ Live pres. The Comet is Coming - 2 x 2 tickets for the concert in Berlin
We are giving away 2×2 free tickets for the The Comet is Coming show in Berlin. All you have to do is log in and participate in the raffle. The winners will be drawn.

The lottery expires on 18.11.2019.
You have to be logged in to attend the lottery. ― Login
Lottery
Sons Of Kemet - 2 x 2 tickets for the concert in Berlin
We are giving away 2×2 free tickets for the Sons Of Kemet show in Berlin. All you have to do is log in and participate in the raffle. The winners will be drawn.

The lottery expires on 09.12.2019.
You have to be logged in to attend the lottery. ― Login
Your Comment
Related Articles
Music Essay | posted 01.07.2019
Women Of Jazz
We Insist Female
Women in jazz are still not a matter of course. That has to change. For in the past, female musicians have had a decisive influence on jazz and the future is also in their hands.
Music List | posted 03.07.2019
Polish Jazz
An introduction in 10 vinyl records
The Polish jazz scene is considered one of the most important and creative in Europe. Today it oscillates between superficial conventions and hidden ruptures. A little search for clues.
Music Review | posted 27.03.2012
Gang Colours
The Keychain Collection
Gang Colours creates furnishing music in its best sense and presents a subtle and deep record.
Music Report | posted 10.09.2012
Ghostpoet
Live on September 6th at Bi Nuu in Berlin
The british MC was in the capital and delivered an unexpected performance for those used to his more mellow raps. With a communal bottle of red wine Ghostpoet managed to carry the audience through a cathartic live set.
Music Interview | posted 07.05.2013
Ghostpoet
One abandoned piano, some Dim Sum and a half-marathon later
Ghostpoet’s back and though he’s still mumbling on his tracks in a style that has become his own his intentions are clearer: delivering content about himself in any perspective possible, relatable to all.
Music Review | posted 10.01.2014
BadBadNotGood
BBNG2
To get jazz back out of the feuilleton, it’s taken nothing but the gentlemen of BadBadNotGood. »BBNG2« is making jazz dangerous again.
Music Review | posted 11.02.2016
Ed Motta
Perpetual Gateways
Since Donny Hathaway, hardly anyone has sounded this tender. With »Perpetual Gateways«, jazz singer Ed Motta is keeping up his high standards.
Music Review | posted 22.03.2016
Vijay Iyer / Wadada Leo Smith
A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke
Words like »sublime« should be used sparingly; however, it’s more than fitting for the encounter between Vijay Iyer and Wadada Leo Smith.
Music Review | posted 14.04.2016
Özdemir Erdoğan
Jazz Session
Özedemir Erdoğan’s »Jazz Session« gives us a good idea of the great things waiting to be explored in the field of Turkish music.
Music Review | posted 10.05.2016
Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band
55
On »55«, the Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band shows how good Steel Drum-Funk can function with Hip-Hop elements.
Music Review | posted 07.07.2016
BBNG (BadBadNotGood)
IV
With their new LP »IV«, BBNG (BadBadNotGood) are proving the critics wrong: their instrumental hip hop has defeated the alleged elevator-jazz.
Music Interview | posted 19.08.2011
Electric Wire Hustle
That certain Vibe
Electric Wire Hustle is the latest export product from Wellington, New Zealand. The band found each other through their mutual love for Soul, Hip Hop and the Dilla beat production.
Music Review | posted 28.03.2011
Colin Stetson
New History Warfare Vol.2: Judges
Saxophone player Colin Stetson plays his instrument like others play the Didgeridoo and creates impossible music.
Music Review | posted 13.06.2011
Matana Roberts
Coin Coin Chapter One: Gens de Coloeur Libres
It’s its fiery, stirring and yet thoughtful force, which makes this album so very exceptional in these days.
Books Review | posted 24.07.2011
Desdemone Bardin
Jazz Zoom – Carryin' It On
A homage to an infinite music and its protagonists, as well as a salute to the Jazz addicted »Jazz agitproptiste«.
Music Review | posted 02.05.2012
Robert Glasper Experiment
Black Radio
In Erykah Badu, Bilal or Lupe Fiasco, Robert Glasper found excellent artists to elaborate his Jazz-ideas.
Music Review | posted 07.10.2011
Quantic
The Best Of Quantic
This compilation is a good opportunity to get some orientation within the huge span of Quantic’s works.
Music Review | posted 23.01.2012
Portico Quartet
Portico Quartet
Portico Quartet’s unconventional jazzers have extended their sound-spectrum – which has always been quite broad – once again.
Music Review | posted 07.03.2013
Kenny Cox
Clap Clap! The Joyful Noise
The record in question is a rare discovery. These 40-years-old recordings are being released for the very first time.
Music Review | posted 29.07.2013
Sam Sanders
Mirror Mirror
This stuff here is not only rarer than a chicken with teeth, but also just as impressive.
Music Review | posted 03.11.2011
Lloyd McNeill Quartet
Washington Suite
Lloyd McNeill belongs to the group of musicians, who declared the ‘New Thing!’ in Jazz in the beginning of the 1970s.
Music Review | posted 03.11.2011
Steve Colson & The Unity Troupe
Triumph!
Steve Colson’s debut was released in 1980 as a private pressing and is now being re-released by Universal Sound.
Music Review | posted 15.03.2013
Hannibal Marvin Peterson
The Tribe
The indisputable masterpiece of the god-father of spiritual jazz has announced its conquering expedition towards our regions.
Music Review | posted 27.08.2015
Natural Information Society & Bitchin Bajas
Automaginary
The collaboration with Natural Information Society that led to »Automaginary« is a blessing for Bitchin Bajas.
Music Review | posted 13.04.2016
Florian Pellissier Quintet
Cap De Bonne Esperance
With »Cap De Bonne Esperance«, the jazzmen of the Florian Pellissier Quintet have captured the spirit of classic Hardbop.
Music List
Polish Jazz
An introduction in 10 vinyl records
The Polish jazz scene is considered one of the most important and creative in Europe. Today it oscillates between superficial conventions and hidden ruptures. A little search for clues.
Music Essay
Women Of Jazz
We Insist Female
Women in jazz are still not a matter of course. That has to change. For in the past, female musicians have had a decisive influence on jazz and the future is also in their hands.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Lootpack – Soundpieces: Da Antidote! (1999)
The breakthrough: »Soundpieces: Da Antidote« lifted the still young West Coast label Stones Throw from the circle of experts to the cult Olympus. Now the underground classic is 20 years old.
Music Essay
British Jazz
On The Hot Spot
Jazz in Great Britain is in the midst of a generational shift. New talents from Manchester to London are revising gridlocked listening habits and are testing the limits of the genre. But why now?
Music List
Record Store Day 2019
12 releases to look out for
We’ve searched through this year’s list of releases exclusively released for Record Store Day 2019 and put together a selection of twelve records that we’ve identified as possible highlights.
Music Column
Records Revisited
J Dilla – The Shining (2006)
»The Shining« was J Dilla’s first posthumous album. You get soul, you get funk, you get the tricky stuff, and you can also get this raw rap shit. You get the infinite forms of expression that J Dilla mastered. It’s a true classic.
Music Interview
Midori Takada
Deep inward scenerys
The exceptional percussionist Midori Takada gives us an insight into the recordings and circumstances of her masterpiece »Through The Looking Glass«, which is now re-released by WRWTFWW Records in cooperation with Palto Flats.
Music Portrait
New Record Labels #26
Parallel Berlin, Power Vacuum, Superfly und Super Rhythm Trax
Every month we introduce you to labels, which we recently included in our Shop and/ or the discovery of which is worth it! The chosen ones this time around: Parallel Berlin, Power Vacuum, Superfly and Super Rhythm Trax.
Music Portrait
New Record Labels #25
Bliq, Dub Disco, Ectotherm, and Jazzaggression
Month by Month we are going to introduce you to a bunch of record labels, which are new at hhv.de webshop and/or you definitely have to discover now. The record labels this month are: Bliq, Dub Disco, Ectotherm, Jazzaggression.
Music List
Acid Arab
10 All Time Favs
We ask musicians to list and comment on 10 records by which they have been formed, bettered and educated. This time, the production collective Acid Arab takes on the task.
Music Interview
Abra
Turnt Up Art Kid
Abra comes with the charisma, the talent and the looks to become one of the great figures of pop. At the same time she’s bizarre enough to be love by those who hate Spotify. For a long time she was just one thing for many: too bizarre.
Music List
Deadbeat
10 Canadian Favorites
Deadbeat is one of the musicians who carry the torch for contemporary electronic music from Canada. There are others, there have been others. In his list Deadbeats names them – plus influntial canadian musicians from other genres.
Music Interview
Oneohtrix Point Never
The little cheese shop
»They had the skills, the church provided them with a way to make music and now we have Bach! Do we sit there now and say: ›Sucks that he branded himself?‹«. We had a lively talk with Oneohtrix Point Never.
Music List
Off the beaten tracks with...
Blond:ish
We go off the beaten tracks. In our ongoing series we give artists the space to talk about a passion which isn’t their own music. This time around Blond:ish take us with them on their travels.
Music List
Fred P
10 All Time Favs
We ask musicians to list and comment on 10 records by which they have been formed, mended and educated. This time, the producer and DJ Fred P takes on the task.
Music List
The Black Madonna
10 Classic Midwest Rave Favs
We ask musicians to list and comment on 10 records by which they have been formed, bettered and educated. This time, producer and DJ The Black Madonna takes on the task.
Music Interview
Jaakko Eino Kalevi
About Love And Other Mental Illnesses
Jaakko Eino Kalevi looks like a stoned angel in a woolie, works as a tram driver and with »No End« he released on of the best songs of 2013. About time we get to know him. A conversation about love, music and how to wash laundry.
Music Interview
The Mixfits
Turntrable Diaries # 7
This year the DMC World Championships turns 30. So for that reason we like to introduce you to some of the protagonists. This time we talked to The Mixfitz.
Music Interview
Dj Shiftee
Turntable Diaries # 6
This year the DMC World Championships turns 30. So for that reason we like to introduce you to some of the protagonists. This time we talked to DJ Shiftee.
Music Interview
Dj Switch
Turntable Diaries # 5
This year the DMC World Championships turns 30. So for that reason we like to introduce you to some of the protagonists. This time we talked to DJ Switch.
Music Interview
Kireek
Turntable Diaries #4
This year the DMC World Championships turns 30. So for that reason we like to introduce you to some of the protagonists. This time we talked to Kireek.
Music Interview
DJ Rashad
»We Want You To Shake Your Ass«
DJ Rashad is Footwork‘s child. And at the same time Footwork is his. An interview with a man, who lives the genre like barely anyone does and now witnesses how it has a major breakthrough – 15years after Rashads first release on vinyl.
Music Interview
DJ Cash Money
Turntable Diaries #3
This year the DMC World Championships turns 30. So for that reason we like to introduce you to some of the protagonists. This time we talked to DJ Cash Money.
Art Interview
Florence To
The Dress-Up of Live Music
Florence To came from a fashion background with a fascination for architecture. Now the London based visual artist uses these skills and interest to dress-up Europe’s best music venues and events such as London’s Boiler Room.
Music Interview
Cutmaster Swift
Turntable Diaries #2
This year the DMC World Championships turns 30. So for that reason we like to introduce you to some of the protagonists. This time we talked to Cutmaster Swift.
Music Interview
DJ Qbert
Turntable Diaries #1
This year the DMC World Championships turns 30. So for that reason we like to introduce you to some of the protagonists. Today we start with DJ Qbert.
Art Interview
Robert Beatty
Moments Between Motion
Spacey objects whizzing through hallucinatory landscapes, stark geometric shapes and a flair for psychedelia grounded in reality. Robert Beatty has been creating album covers for ten years mixing his strong visual language with music.
Fashion Essay
The Unraveled Thread
All-Over Prints
Wearing any bit of fabric always means carrying a bit of history on your body. Garments reveal many things and The Unraveled Thread will take apart one fashion element at a time to discover the then and now.
Art Interview
Eliot Lee Hazel
The Stranger
Eliot Lee Hazel’s photographs of musicians are often gritty, raw, filled with cinematic language. British Hazel lives in America, is only 21 years-old and yet he’s already photographed Yeasayer, Thom Yorke, Ariel Pink and Cat Power.
Music Interview
Talib Kweli
A new Chapter
Talib Kweli has never taken so much time for a single album as he has with »Prisoner of Conscious«. His requirement to himself was to create something that would function beyond the world of Hip Hop.
Music Essay
10 Favourites
Tape Labels You Better Should Know
Hurrah! The cassette tape is turning 50 and though that’s really old, or sort of anyway, the tape is alive and kicking it big style.
Fashion Essay
The Unraveled Thread
The Baseball Cap
Wearing any bit of fabric always means carrying a bit of history on your body. Garments reveal many things and The Unraveled Thread will take apart one fashion element at a time to discover the then and now.
Music Interview
Sweatson Klank
The Crucial Question
With »You, Me, Temporary« Thomas Wilson has just released his magnum opus. In terms of beats music in Los Angeles, he is a pioneer not a follower. For this fact we aks him just one question, no frills.
Music Interview
Ghostpoet
One abandoned piano, some Dim Sum and a half-marathon later
Ghostpoet’s back and though he’s still mumbling on his tracks in a style that has become his own his intentions are clearer: delivering content about himself in any perspective possible, relatable to all.
Music Interview
Kendrick Lamar
Creating the Balance
Hailed as the savior of West Coast Hip Hop Kendrick Lamar’s »good kid m.A.A.d city’s« album success says something about the current state of Hip Hop. We talk to Lamar about the rap game then and now and the significance of Compton.
Music Essay
The Fine Line
»While you’re fucking some dusty old chair, I’ll be eating bananas «
»The Fine Line« takes one lyric to to discover a story, learn more about an artist, their song or music in general. Sometimes just one anecdote will be explored other times a whole unexpected worlds will be uncovered. It’s a fine line.
Fashion Essay
The Unraveled Thread
Beanie
Wearing any bit of fabric always means carrying a bit of history on your body. Garments reveal many things and The Unraveled Thread will take apart one fashion element at a time to discover the then and now.
Music List
Bering Strait
10 Favourites
We ask musicians for 10 tracks, by which they were formed, reformed and cultured and we also ask them to comment on the selection. This time the Mancunian Jack Lever aka Bering Strait adressed themselves to this task.
Music Portrait
Deko Deko
The Sound of Deconstruction
When two ex-punk rockers from Leipzig find themselves on Berghain’s stage as »We Have Band’s« warm-up group, performing as an electronic duo some serious deconstruction must have taken place. Deconstruction is the whole approach of the highly conceptual band Deko Deko.
Music Interview
Toro Y Moi
Hearing Colors
How are sounds connected to sight? Artists use album covers, videos, installations and art works to strengthen their audio message or to create whole new layers. Seeing sounds concentrates purely on the aesthetics of an artist.
Music Report
Kendrick Lamar
Live at C-Halle in Berlin on Feb 1
Friday was finally Berlin’s turn to host Kendrick Lamar. K.Dot. Mr. 2012. The fact that Lamar’s album just went gold and the fact that his concert was sold out still didn’t prepare one for the insanity that apparently is Lamar’s following.