Updated: Nov 13
EFG London Jazz Festival returns to take over the UK capital, with its 2023 edition.
As ever, the scope of the Festival is immense; taking over the capital’s finest music venues for 10 days in November, celebrating every corner of music that intersects with jazz. It shines a light on the global jazz community, simultaneously celebrating the legacy of icons whilst highlighting the trailblazers fearlessly taking the art form into bold new directions. The EFG London Jazz Festival truly caters to every taste.
Created in 1992 by live international music producers, Serious, the festival emerged from the long-standing Camden Jazz Week which was created in 1970; with the active support of the London Arts Board (now Arts Council England, London). The London Jazz Festival began to spread its wings by mixing international and British artists and a commitment to education activity. The aims of the festival still remain the same today; celebrating the place of jazz in a city which is at ease with its rich cultural diversity, and drawing in a multitude of venues across London.
With hundreds across the whole city, we've picked out some of the gigs we're excited about.
You can use our handy navigation menu to jump to which day/date you'd like to explore below:
SUNDAY 19 NOVEMBER 2023Mulatu Astake | Barbican
FRIDAY 10 NOVEMBER 2023
Celebrate 80 years of Ethiopian musician and arranger Mulatu Astatke, best known as the father of Ethio-jazz.
Born in the western Ethiopian city of Jimma, Mulatu trained in London, New York City, and Boston where he combined his jazz and Latin music interests with traditional Ethiopian music and became the first African student to enroll at Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music from where he received an honorary degree in 2012.
Astatke led his band while playing vibraphone and conga drums—instruments that he introduced into Ethiopian popular music— other percussion instruments, keyboards and organ. His albums focus primarily on instrumental music, and Astatke appears on all three known albums of instrumentals that were released during Ethiopia’s Golden 70s.
He collaborated with many notable artists in both countries, arranging and playing on recordings by Mahmoud Ahmed, and appearing as a special guest with Duke Ellington during a tour of Ethiopia in 1973. His Western audience expanded even further when the 2005 Jim Jarmusch film Broken Flowers featured seven of Astatke’s songs. Hip hop artists have also sampled Astatke’s songs extensively, for example in the works of Nas, Damian Marley, Kanye West, Cut Chemist, and Knaan.
Siema Ziemia hails from Poland and come together as an electronic-inspired quartet, which draws an energy from collective improvisation. Their music attempts to recreate highly organized structures of electronic music with acoustic instruments. The band has a reputation for genre-defying experimentation, fusing free jazz improvisation with breakbeat, IDM, and influences from underground music scenes.
This is a UK premiere of their album ‘Second’ due for release this autumn by Byrd Out, part of the EFG London Jazz Festival.
Adventurous songwriting, meticulous timing, incredibly tight horn arrangements and an obvious joy to play together are PYJÆN's hallmarks.
PYJÆN reach inside the deep, multidimensional well of what is broadly called Jazz and bring together all its diverse components in a singular, emotional sound.
They released their debut self-titled album in 2019 to wide critical and public acclaim, garnering support from the likes of Gilles Peterson, Huey Morgan, Jazz FM, and Clash Magazine.
The new chapter of their musical journey created room for featured artists once again, an exercise they thoroughly enjoyed on their 'Sage Secrets' EP with Blue Lab Beats and Odette Peters, which reached over 1M streams on Spotify within only 6 months, testimony that the band has become a major force in the UK "Jazz and beyond" scene.
In 2021 they released their second full album, ‘Feast’, their most daring release yet, with thirteen tracks and five features ranging from singer Renato Paris on ‘By Your Side’, to Glasgow Jazz legend Corto. Alto on ‘Stay Home’. Feast was recorded over five days at Peter Gabriel’s legendary studio ‘Real World Studios’.
The band is now in the process of releasing their third EP ‘Sunset Milk Tea’. This collection of tunes was recorded during the ‘Feast’ recording sessions at Real World Studios, but was not released until now.
PYJÆN consists of original members Ben Vize (saxophone/ewi), Dylan Jones (trumpet), Benjamin Crane (bass), Charlie Hutchinson (drums) and also welcomes their newest member, Tjoe Man Cheung, on guitar.
TC & The Groove Family are a 10-piece collective whose music celebrates the coming together of cultures, and the community that music can provide for everyone. Originally formed in Leeds, their sound reflects the diverse musical and cultural backgrounds at the core of the project, with songs exploring grooves and genres from the UK and around the world, including afrobeat, broken beat, jungle, jazz and grime. Driven by drummer Tim Cook (TC) and fronted by Sheffield wordsmith Franz Von, their live shows are powerful and dynamic, creating moments of both euphoria and stillness to keep audiences on their toes. The band have supported afro-fusion legends K.O.G & The Zongo Brigade and UK jazz pioneers Nubiyan Twist, Yussef Dayes and PYJÆN en route to becoming one of the most sought after live acts on the UK jazz circuit. Word spread quickly about the group after they performed on the Chai Wallah stage at Shambino in August 2021, leading to them signing to Bristol label Worm Discs (Snazzback, corto. alto) for the release of their debut album ‘First Home’ in 2022. Recorded and produced by Tom Excell (Nubiyan Twist, ONIPA), the record reflects upon home being about the people and community you share it with, rather than a set physical space. Building on the success of early singles, the record found support from tastemakers including Jamz Supernova and Craig Charles on BBC Radio 6, Emily Pilbeam on BBC Introducing West Yorkshire, and their single ‘Duende’ was playlisted on Jazz FM. This also grew into widespread editorial support across Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music. Summer 2022 saw them make a name for themselves on the UK festival circuit, with appearances at Glastonbury, We Out Here, Greenman and Kendal Calling topped with a crowning headline set on the Chai Wallah stage at Shambala. April 2023 saw the band embark on their first UK-wide venue tour, supported with funding from Jazz North’s ‘Northern Line’ programme, before heading into the studio to record a new EP with serial collaborator Tom Excell. Another busy summer of festival appearances lies ahead, as the band continue to build their reputation as an exceptional live act not to be missed.
Comprised of bassist Liran Donin (Led Bib), saxophonist Idris Rahman (Wildflower, Soothsayers) and producer/mixer/drummer Emre Ramazanoglu (David Holmes, Leo Abrahams, Noel Gallagher, Steam Down, Theon Cross, Wildflower, Etienne Daho) Ill Considered are not wasting any time.
Ferociously energetic and relentlessly productive, the outfit recorded and released nine albums in two years between 2017 and 2019, tearing through an improvised yet fully-formed repertoire in single-take sessions that display a unique versatility and sense of invention.
Fusing the dynamism of the UK jazz scene with improvised punk energy, the band’s sound is not easily pigeonholed. “The Ill Considered sound is wide and varied, and potentially limitless in sonic scope,” Rahman explains. “We’re looking to express our emotions to the fullest possible extent and to make the resulting music coherent and cathartic for any listener that wishes to join us.”
Zeitgeist Freedom Energy Exchange is the meeting point of improvisation and dance music: Heavily influenced by club culture and transcendent psychedelic experiences, resulting in a live band experience humanising the extended DJ set.
Growing up in Australia, with no real club culture in sight, Ziggy’s formative years were at the ‘bush doof’ - an outback rave where speakers were driven to remote lands and dance music would blast from the wee hours in the morning to the wee hours at night. This is what Ziggy describes as the playground of Australian Electronic Music. “This is our culture of electronic music. It’s about exploring the spectrum of consciousness and a connection with ourselves, one another and the land.”
ZFEX is the synthesis of dance music in human form. A live band experience humanising the extended DJ set. Heavily influenced by club culture and transcendent psychedelic experiences - ZFEX is a continuous odyssey of sound, where synths intertwine with flutes, jazz drums are played with the raw energy of classic broken beat records, and natures call and response is mimicked in musical form.
BBC Radio 3’s J to Z returns to Pizza Express Live for the raucous opening night party of the EFG London Jazz Festival 2023.
Hosted by Jumoké Fashola, and featuring Radio 1Xtra’s CassKidd, expect another stellar lineup drawn from across the spectrum of jazz, broadcast live. On the bill: rising star pianist Sultan Stevenson, plus top secret names including a New Orleans legend. Tickets for this free event will go fast, so move quickly!
One of UK's most respected jazz labels, 22a, take over the Fox & Firkin for a late night session of live nu jazz and DJs. Horatio Luna will be playing with a live band featuring familiar faces from the 22a family, including head honcho, Tenderlonious. Dj sets from label roster.
22a have established themselves as one of the most respected and important independent labels in the UK underground music scene.
Melbourne-based bassist and 30/70 affiliate, Horatio Luna, will be premiering music from his new album. This live performance will feature familiar faces from the 22a family, including head honcho Tenderlonious. DJ sets from label roster.
SATURDAY 11 NOVEMBER 2023
The drummer, producer, and sonic collagist Makaya McCraven is currently one of Chicago’s most in-demand artists whose inventive process and intuitive, cinematic style defy categorization.
Being deemed a true innovator McCraven brilliantly moves between genres and pushes the boundaries of jazz, electronica, composition and rhythm to create forms of his own. His breakthrough album In the Moment was released with International Anthem Recording in January of 2015 and quickly seen as a dramatic statement by McCraven, where he debuted a unique brand of “organic beat music” that quickly launched him into the vanguard of not only Internationally-known jazz artists, but also a niche genre of next-wave composer-producers blurring the boundaries of jazz & electronic music. His latest album, In These Times is the seventh album to be released via the three-label collaboration of International Anthem, Nonesuch & XL Recordings. In These Times features several notable guest performances, including guitarist Jeff Parker, harpist Brandee Younger, and Ohmme’s Macie Stewart. Junius Paul, Marta Sofia Honer, and Lia Kohl are also among those joining the Chicago-based percussionist.
Makaya McCraven performs In These Times with the London Contemporary Orchestra (strings) conducted by Robert Ames.
Leeds' biggest and best cult 25-piece music ensemble Ferg's Imaginary Big Band brings their jazz x punk, noise vibes to the Jazz Fest for their first-ever London show
Ferg's Imaginary Big Band are a 24 piece jazz x noise machine who are part of the burgeoning left-field independent Leeds music scene spearheaded by the Tight Lines record label. Initially inspired by the cosmic jazz legend and musician/band leader Sun Ra, Ferg's Imaginary Big Band is a semi-fictional large ensemble whose primary aim is to bring big band music kicking and screaming into the 22nd century. The IBB play rowdy and always huge sounding arrangements of an incredibly diverse selection of tunes from composers including Duke Ellington, Sun Ra, The Rajasthan Express, Count Basie, the Art Ensemble Of Chicago alongside a growing number of original compositions written and arranged by Fergus and other members of the group.
Consisting of members from Têtes de Pois, Skwid Ink, TC & The Groove Family, Ancient Infinity Orchestra, The Mabgate Organ Trio, The Fergus Quill Trio, State Of Satta, the Belgrave House Band, Project Hilts, Awen Ensemble, Golden Age of TV, Long Legged Creatures and Amon Ra Collective, it's literally a who's who of the vibrant Leeds DIY jazz/experimental/electronic music scenes. Obviously with such a huge line-up of incredible musicians, getting the ensemble together for live shows is a major challenge on it's own and thus to date, they've still only played less than 15 shows in 4 years. If you're lucky to catch them at one of these rare cultish happenings, it's less like a standard gig and more like a huge sound and vision experience. A place where fantastic musicianship and soloing meet theatrical drama and punk attitude with a huge dollop of humour binding it all together. There's literally no other ensemble like this in the UK today.
SUNDAY 12 NOVEMBER 2023
Join Kevin Le Gendre for a special edition of BBC Radio 3’s J to Z from the FreeStage in the Barbican concourse, featuring some of the most exciting artists at this year’s festival. The top-secret bill includes a Japanese piano virtuoso and one of the world’s great drummers.
Matching lush Jazz-leaning compositions with delicate yet powerful Buckley-esque vocals, this BADBADNOTGOOD-produced Jonah Yano explores the interpersonal and intimate through his diaristic songwriting.
Garnering praise from The Fader, NPR, Billboard, Complex, Exclaim, the late Virgil Abloh, Gilles Peterson, and Benji B along with millions of streams on Spotify and Apple Music – Yano has widespread appeal, with his ability to weave across jazz, neo-rnb, and indie pop.
Ife Ogunjobi is a London-raised musician born to Nigerian parents whose music is an amalgamation of the sounds around his upbringing. Growing up in South East London, his surroundings have enriched his music with various genres such as Jazz, Afrobeat and Hip-hop. Influenced by the likes of Fela Kuti, Erykah Badu and Freddie Hubbard, his musical concept removes the barriers between the different genres of music and portrays his authentic sound.
His style is versatile enough to transition from a spiritual jazz solo to a dance-fueled afrobeat party in a heartbeat. This has also led him to working with many different artists in the studio such as Wizkid on his latest album More Love, Less Ego. Ife also recorded on Moses Boyd’s Mercury Music Prize shortlisted Album Dark Matter and has also worked with artists like Yazmin Lacey, Juls and NSG on several different projects. Ogunjobi has also gained recognition through his packed festival appearances at Love Supreme and We Out Here 2022.
Award-winning trumpeter and composer, Yazz Ahmed, continues her exploration into electronic soundscapes in partnership with producer, Hector Plimmer, and percussionist, Ralph Wyld.
Following their successful collaboration on 2018’s La Saboteuse Remixed, Ahmed joins forces again with cutting-edge producer, composer and DJ, Hector Plimmer, to present an evening of new arrangements of each other’s music, re-imagined for this trio. Featuring her long-time associate, the virtuosic vibraphonist Ralph Wyld, the evening will include improvisation, live sampling and trippy grooves, all exploring the possibilities provided by the immersive d&b Soundscape system in Hall Two. Select
MONDAY 13 NOVEMBER 2023
Albert's Favourites deliver a premier Jazz Festival showcase. And Is Phi launching her debut album, Double Pink is joined by the Miryam Solomon trio plus an exceptional solo set from soulful innovator Margomool.
And Is Phi launches her debut album Double Pink. A very special creative force as both a musician and a student of fine art, Andrea grew up between Norway and the Philippines. Her musical history includes performing and recording with Steamdown, Scrimshire, Hector Plimmer, Emma Jean Thackray and many more, but 2023 has seen the launch of her first solo body of work. The album welcomed contributions from Momoko Watanabe Gill (Alabaster de Plume/Alien Called Harmony) and Marysia Osu (Levitation Orchestra). Her band includes Lorenz Okello (Plumm/Steamdown), Isobella Burnham, Beka Reid and more special guests. This show will be the first time the new album has been played in full and we can't wait to experience it's healing force and formidable energy.
Miryam Solomon is a London-based artist, by way of Sweden and Eritrea. Her work is underpinned by her love for rhythms, vocal interplay and storytelling. Her first collection of songs, the five-track EP Evergreen, came into the world in 2014. The beautiful Magnolia EP arrived in 2017 and then with Albert’s Favourites in 2021, the gorgeous Romance EP. Her music has won so much praise from respected DJs and artists including Jamie Cullum, Tony Minvielle, Jamz Supernova and Moses Boyd. As well as her solo work, she has received huge love for collaborations with Huw Marc Bennett and Scrimshire
Having grown up half Italian, half British, Margomool’s lyrics combine these two elements of their life, alongside transcendent, ethereal sounds. Having grown up with a family that embraced music, mainly folk style songs from Ireland, Scotland and Italy, margomool found solace within music from a young age. It would be a disservice to label margomool’s music under simply one genre, when Folk, Jazz and Electronic influences meet all at once.
TUESDAY 14 NOVEMBER 2023
Cykada have forged a unique and infectious sound. Combine electronic and live music with global inspiration from West Africa to Eastern Europe, throw in some beats and riddims of soundsystem culture, the spontaneity of jazz and rock, and we have a new dynamic mashup unlike anything previously witnessed. Comprising of members of Ezra Collective, Maisha, Myriad Forest & Levitation Orchestra.
From South London, up-and-coming saxophonist Kaidi Akinnibi has already worked with an eclectic variety of artists including the likes of Tom Misch, Black Midi, Blue Lab Beats & Mark Kavuma’s Banger Factory. A standout member of London’s creative, vibrant jazz scene.
Although his fluent and thoughtful playing is rooted in the classic jazz genres, growing up in South London and learning from the Kinetika Bloco and the Jazz Warriors families, saxophonist Kaidi Akinnibi has always had a multi-faceted outlook on music. This can be seen in the eclectic variety of artists he works and writes with, including the likes of Tom Misch, Black Midi, Blue Lab Beats, Celeste & Mark Kavuma’s Banger Factory. His own music is, as he puts it “more vocal orientated, taking its influence from a broad base of electronica, Jazz and Classical music to create soundscapes reminiscent of movie soundtracks”. Though still in his early 20’s, Kaidi is already making his presence strongly felt on London’s vibrant, creative jazz scene. This promises to be a fascinating night of contemporary music of the highest quality-catch Kaidi and his band in the 606 Club’s intimate setting while you still can.
Pianist Sultan Stevenson is one of the fastest emerging young artists on the London jazz scene.
Pianist Sultan Stevenson is one of the fastest emerging young artists on the London jazz scene. His trio is already established as an outfit to catch when billed to play live and is being tipped for success on national and international stages. He is releasing his much anticipated debut album ‘Faithful One’ on Whirlwind Recordings in March of 2023. In May of 2023 Sultan’s trio are embarking on UK wide tour of the release.
Sultan’s approach to composition and playing has already been compared to that of McCoy Tyner and Esbjörn Svensson and, over the past year, his trio has played standout gigs at Jazz re:freshed, the Vortex and the Jazz Café where the band opened for the great Billy Cobham. Their Pizza Express gig during the 2021 EFG London Jazz Festival was a sell-out.
Trumpeter, composer, band leader, and producer Nick Walters is arguably one of the most sought-after and respected musicians in the UK Jazz scene. His understated elegance is a rarity in these times. Best known for his work with the bands Ruby Rushton, Riot Jazz Brass Band and Beats & Pieces Big Band, he also leads the Paradox Ensemble, a diverse collection of some of his closest musical collaborators. His music often combines modal, spiritual and eastern moods with West African rhythms, taking you on a cosmic journey of melodic and uplifting contemporary jazz.
WEDNESDAY 15 NOVEMBER 2023
Aggro-jazz four-piece Vipertime explore the borders of modal jazz, post-punk, dub and afrobeat to create a sound that is simultaneously unique to the band and a microcosm of the thriving UK scene. Beginning as a free-improvising group in the basements of Leeds house parties, Vipertime swiftly moved into the studio and released 2019’s Shakedown, 2020’s Limbs/All Our Heroes Are Dead and 2023’s critically acclaimed Arise.
Knats, a quintet led by of two lifelong best mates from Newcastle Upon Tyne, Stan Woodward (Bass) and King David Ike Elechi (Drums), making dance music which derives from their respective roots of Jazz, Drum and Bass, House and Gospel. Within their short arrival onto the scene they have already been recognised and broadcasted by major radio stations ’Soho Radio’, BBC Newcastle and WDR 3, play-listed twice by Spotify on their ‘All New Jazz’ playlist, also being on the cover of ‘Jazz Fresh Finds’. Whilst gigging around the North East and the country supporting the likes of Vels Trio and Tom Ford. Knats now operates in London, which they prepare to take by storm.
Composer, singer, and visual artist Cécile McLorin Salvant has developed a passion for storytelling and finding the connections between vaudeville, blues, folk traditions from around the world, theatre, jazz, and baroque music.
An eclectic curator, Salvant unearths rarely recorded, forgotten songs with strong narratives, interesting power dynamics, unexpected twists, and humour.
She has received Grammy Awards for Best Jazz Vocal Album for three consecutive albums, The Window, Dreams and Daggers, and For One To Love. Ghost Song, Salvant’s two-time Grammy-nominated debut for Nonesuch Records, was released in 2022 to critical acclaim, and included in spots on ‘Best Albums of 2022’ lists from the New York Times and NPR. In 2023, Salvant returns with her new album Mélusine, which was released on Nonesuch in March.
Cécile McLorin Salvant brings a perspective, a renewed sense of drama, and an enlightened musical understanding to both jazz standards and her own original compositions. Classically trained, steeped in jazz, blues, and folk, and drawing from musical theatre and vaudeville, Salvant embraces a wide-ranging repertoire that broadens the possibilities for live performance.
Tom Skinner has been a staple of the burgeoning UK underground music scene for the better part of the past twenty years, as part of acclaimed jazz group Sons of Kemet, and most recently The Smile, with Thom Yorke & Jonny Greenwood. But it was only last year that Skinner released a record under his own name, the dazzling Voices of Bishara. Last November drummer and producer Tom Skinner announced the lean and beautiful mini-album, Voices of Bishara - released on Chicago’s International Anthem label - in which he edited a starry recording session into a sonorous, tuff and beguiling new shape.
The title of Tom Skinner’s first release under his own name is a reference to cellist Abdul Wadud’s ultra-rare 1978 solo album By Myself, which Skinner listened to repeatedly during lockdown. Wadud’s album was privately pressed on his own label, Bisharra, and whilst Skinner’s title uses the more conventional spelling of this common Arabic name, they both have the same intention or meaning: it translates as ‘good news’, or ‘the bringer of good news’.
This is a classic-sounding record that connects backwards to Skinner’s 2017 Hello Skinny collaboration with American composer and Arthur Russell-collaborator Peter Zummo on Watermelon Sun. It links sideways to Makaya McCraven’s beat-maker-inspired treatments of jazz sessions, and it offers a musical bridge to Sons of Kemet’s most meditative moments.
Voices of Bishara began life when Tom Skinner asked some musician friends to join him for a Played Twice session at London’s Brilliant Corners. The regular event had a simple format: play a classic album in full through their audiophile system and then have an elite ensemble improvise their response. The night in question focused on drummer Tony Williams’ 1964 Blue Note album Life Time and the music he and his friends conjured up was so special that it inspired Skinner to write an album’s-worth of phenomenal new music.
Ed 'Tenderlonius' Cawthorne celebrates the launch of his new album 'You Know I Care' on his label '22a', with a full-band live show.
22a label boss, flautist, saxophonist, producer and DJ, Ed ‘Tenderlonious’ Cawthorne is regarded as one of the leading figures in the London jazz and underground music scene. Running a record label is enough work alone, but Tenderlonious has amassed an armoury of releases that transcend your average UK artist.
His debut ‘Tenderlonious’ live album ‘The Shakedown” is considered to be one of the classic albums of the modern jazz era, gaining rave reviews and over 5 million streams worldwide. He has also proven himself to be one of the most versatile musicians in the world, collaborating with Polish jazz band EABS, Italian musician and producer Lorenzo Morresi on their 2022 album “Cosmica Italiana” and his famous collaboration with the Pakistani band Jaubi has generated 2 albums and lead to rave reviews from the likes of The Guardian, Pitchfork, and Downbeat. Headline shows at London’s Union Chapel and festivals all over the world followed.
In 2023 he returns with a new live album 'You Know I Care' and live show, featuring some of his favourite musicians and collaborators.
Bridge The Gap is an artist management and Label Services company founded in 2018 by Eric Karsenty, music-obsessed and former music industry exec. They have been championing jazz-rooted independent artists since day one, with widespread acclaim in the UK and EU. You'll find a lot of their releases played by the likes of Gilles Peterson, Jamie Cullum, BBC Introducing, Jamz Supernova and many more.
London-based, Netherlands-born drummer and producer Creature. returns with the new EP 'Where This Body Goes, My Mind Flows'. Bringing together the rich culture of Dutch electronic music with the London jazz sound and traces of East Coast boom-bap, it's an expansive EP made for the jazz dancefloor.
Since their debut record 'From The Mabgate Basement', MABGATE have been through a period of transformation. Honing in on a sound inspired by analogue 70s funk & soul, angular jazz and worldwide groove music, the group formerly known as 'The Mabgate Organ Trio' have developed and rebranded, showcasing their new sound on their self-titled EP.
Celebrated multi-instrumentalist, composer, and arranger Raffy Bushman has released 3 EPs of crossover jazz , hip-hop and classical music. Raffy will be performing music from across his catalogue with his quartet.
THURSDAY 16 NOVEMBER 2023
Ron Carter, the three-time Grammy award-winning jazz legend and the most recorded jazz bassist in history, will be making his first appearance in the UK in over eight years with his ‘Foursight’ quartet.
The group includes drummer Payton Crossley, tenor saxophonist Jimmy Green, the and star pianist Renee Rosnes. This special performance led by Ron Carter and includes drummer Payton Crossley, tenor saxophonist Jimmy Green, and star pianist Renee Rosnes. will take you on a journey with music recorded on various albums, from standards that you can find on Dear Miles to different well-known originals documented throughout his lifelong career.
With over 60 albums recorded as bandleader, plus countless others as a sideman, including as part of the second Miles Davis Quintet, don’t miss out on seeing the world-class musician with a career spanning several decades.
FRIDAY 17 NOVEMBER 2023
Kassa Overall is a Grammy-nominated musician, emcee, singer, producer and drummer who melds avant-garde experimentation with hip-hop production techniques to tilt the nexus of jazz and rap in unmapped directions.
On his first two studio albums 'Go Get Ice Cream and Listen to Jazz' and 'I Think I'm Good', Kassa layered virtuosic drumming, meticulous production techniques, and incisive lyricism to establish himself as a rhythmic innovator and visionary poet, using his voice to address the injustices of the carceral system, the pharmaceutical industry, and anti-black racism, while wrangling with the perils of his own mental illness.
On 'Animals', his Warp Records debut, Kassa pushes his kaleidoscopic, subversive vision further. He layers Roland 808s against avant-garde drumming in the vein of his mentors Elvin Jones and Billy Hart, the latter of whom he studied with at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Virtuoso musos appear alongside rap poets, including Danny Brown, Wiki, Lil B, and Shabazz Palaces. Top-flight jazz improvisation weaves in and out of orchestral string arrangements by Jherek Bischoff. The album’s diverse, all-star roster of collaborators includes several of his close friends, like vocalists Nick Hakim, Laura Mvula, Francis and the Lights, and jazz stars like Theo Croker and Vijay Iyer.
'Animals' pushes Kassa’s message further too, the title a loaded metaphor for the paradoxes of his life as an entertainer and as a black man in America. 'Animals' is the sound of an artist aware of the cost of embodying one’s natural self in the public eye, a deep reckoning with the two-sided truth that to perform one’s freedom for an audience can mean succumbing to life inside a cage.
Distilling waves of influence and experience down to a fine essence, cktrl brings an all the more potent and pure vision into focus – one that continues his passionate celebration of Black artistry, and builds on his raw musicianship and emotional verve.
Yield, his latest EP, is testament to the multiplicity of a singular, compelling artist with an ever-evolving view of the genres he defies, the classical music landscape he interrogates, and the closely held emotional themes he phoenixes from.
Having garnered considerable acclaim for EPs Robyn (2020) and Zero (2021), cktrl again announces himself as an incomparable musician, composer, producer, and curator. It is all with an innate ability to translate his perspective into emotive music. “Robyn felt like my truth,” cktrl says, “Zero brought together some of the songs I’d been sitting on for a long time, that I felt needed to be put out into the world to build back my identity as a musician and producer.”
Recently nominated as best newcomer by the Parliamentary Jazz Awards Amy Gadiaga is kicking up a storm! Signed by Jazz Re:Freshed, Amy bridges the old school jazz tradition of musicians such as Betty Carter and Wayne Shorter with the modern bops of artists such as D'Angelo and Kimbra. Amy's band offers an energetic performance that celebrates art, freedom and black pride. Having already performed at the EFG London Jazz Festival last year, along with performances at the Jazz Café, Jazz Café Posk and several festivals last year, Amy is currently working on her debut EP having released two critically acclaimed singles already
Nok Cultural Ensemble is the unmissable new project from percussionist Edward Wakili-Hick (Sons of Kemet, Steam Down, Kokoroko). Their debut album Njhyi, was selected the No. 1 Contemporary Album of 2022 by The Guardian and for good reason! The four-piece drum circle journey through Afro-diasporic traditions of Jamaican nyabinghi, drill and Brazilian baião to thrilling effect.
Nok Cultural Ensemble’s Njhyi was released last October via SA Recordings, and features an impressive line-up of Edward’s collaborators including; Onome Edgeworth (Kokoroko), Joseph Deenmamode (Mo Kolours), Dwayne Kilvington (Wonky Logic), Nubya Garcia, Theon Cross, Sulyiman (Afrorack), Watusi87 (RU1 Fam), Zarak (Blue Alchemy), Niyabja aka Simeline Jean-Baptiste(DJ Noss), David Wehinm (Omah Lay, Ezra Collective) and Angel Bat Dawid.
On Njhyi, the Nok Cultural Ensemble centres diverse Afro-diasporic percussive traditions. Glitching beats unfold on African timelines, expressed through free jazz sensibilities which extend the futuristic pulse of dub technologies.
The collective craft a visionary rhythmic continuum that tunes into living traditions stretching back to the ancient NOK civilisation, and reaches towards liberated futures. NCE foregrounds the diversity of black percussive music styles - from agbaja and apala, soca to bélé, sega, broken beat and beyond.
In Wakili-Hick’s own words, they ‘celebrate percussion as a complete music’. Drawing on their own collective heritage - from Nigeria and Mauritius to St Kitt and the UK, the record platforms percussion ensembles as a vehicle for music making whilst centring afro-diasporic knowledge systems and cultures.
Guitarist, bassist, drummer, pianist, vibraphonist, trumpeter and one-half of Jazztronica duo Blue Lab Beats, David Mrakpor brings his wealth of talent and experience for a special performance at Ninety One Living Room.
David Mrakpor is one half of the powerful Jazztronica duo Blue Lab Beats. He plays Guitar, Bass , Drums ,Keyboards ,Vibraphone, upright bass, Trumpet. He has also graced the stage playing session for Reuben James,Illa J,Sophie Faith,Jerome Thomas, Fireball sessions, The Banger Factory,Brown Penny,Unit 31. His new music is all played/arranged and produced by himself. Blue Lab Beats are one of the fastest-rising production duos in the world right now, Blue Lab Beats consists of multi-instrumentalist Mr DM and producer and beatmaker NK-OK. Starting out as bedroom producers, remixing tracks from A-listers such as Dua Lipa and Rag’N’Bone Man, the pair quickly grew into something far more potent - crafting a supple, wide-ranging sound inspired by the pioneers of hip-hop and the music of the African diaspora while staying true to their London roots.
Composer and saxophonist Binker Golding is one of the most exciting musicians at the heart of the UK's jazz revolution and one-half of the multi-award winning duo "Binker & Moses".
With his new album release (Gearbox Records, 2022) titled “Dream Like A Dogwood Wild Boy”, Binker Golding moves towards a new sound that incorporates elements of blues, heartland rock and Americana while remaining firmly rooted in the jazz idiom. The songs explore themes of manhood, father and son relationships, friendship, love and sex, reflection, drinking, escapism, death, masculinity, and resilience. His quintet features some of the UK’s most talented artists – pianist Sarah Tandy, guitarist Billy Adamson, double bass player Daniel Casimir and drummer Sam Jones..
Parisian soul/jazz diva China Moses makes her Kings Place debut for the London Jazz Festival, in an evening combining new work with music from the acclaimed Nightintales album.
There’s nothing like a night with China Moses at the helm, the high voltage soul/jazz diva and popular presenter of Jazz FM’s Late Night China Moses. The daughter of Dee Dee Bridgewater and director Gilbert, Moses was born in Los Angeles and raised in Paris. Her albums brought her work with renowned names like Guru, DJ Mehdi, Karriem Riggins, Meshell Ndegeocello, Anthony Marshall and sound engineer Bob Power. In 2009, she released This One’s For Dinah (Blue Note France), a tribute to her idol Dinah Washington, with the pianist Raphaël Lemonnier. The musicians carried on working together in 2012 with the album Crazy Blues (Decca/UMG).
In her recent album Nightintales (EDEL), China carves out her own terrain. The resulting twelve songs are destined to become new standards. Her R&B heritage allows her to smile around a phrase, carry emotions across a lyric and infuse profundity in every note. Surrounded by a cross-genre cadre of musicians, China Moses is poised to reinvent the Jazz Vocal archetype for a new age.
SATURDAY 18 NOVEMBER 2023
Celebrate the epic re-imagining of Miles Davis’ legendary album Bitches Brew in the first ever performance from super group London Brew. This one-off moment in London’s musical history brings together a star-studded line-up to pay homage to one of the most totemic figures in modern music.
Miles Davis’ ground-breaking album Bitches Brew was first released on 30 March 1970. Fifty years later, a group of London-based musicians were set to perform a concert at the Barbican to celebrate the event. When the show could no longer happen due to the pandemic in 2020, the musicians got together in The Church Studios for a three-day recording session to create an improvisatory work inspired by the album. The group comprised of some of the most important and innovative musicians of today’s London scene including Theon Cross, Nubya Garcia, Shabaka Hutchings, Dave Okumu, Tom Skinner, Benji B and more, brought together by Producer and guitarist Martin Terefe and Executive Producer Bruce Lampcov.
What came out of it, is a collection of original recordings rooted in inspiration and celebration. It is not just a rapturous, moving tribute to one of the most totemic figures in modern music but equally a one-off moment in London's musical history, namely London Brew, released on 14 April 2023.
With this very first live outing of the project since its release in April 2023, see the original musicians including Nubya Garcia, Theon Cross, Dave Okumu, ESKA, Raven Bush, Tom Herbert, Nikolaj Torp Larsen, Nick Ramm, Saleem Raman, Robert Stillman, Dan See and Martin Terefe.
After the show, stick around as Alex Rita & Naima Adams of South London record label Touching Bass keep the vibes going with a FREE post-show DJ set.
SUNDAY 19 NOVEMBER 2023
Tenderlonious-led jazz quartet Ruby Rushton are one of the leading, most forward-thinking and prolific bands to emerge from London’s thriving jazz scene. They have been at the forefront of the UK jazz scene since the release of their debut album ‘Two For Joy’ back in 2015, an album credited with introducing a new generation to jazz music in the U.K. Their music is rooted in the spiritual concepts of jazz heroes such as John Coltrane and Yusef Lateef, whilst adopting influences from hip hop, Afrobeat, bebop, jazz-funk and sounds of the U.K. underground. In 2019 the band released their 4th studio album and most successful to date “Ironside”, described by The Quietus as “vibrant, flawlessly executed and totally joyous throughout; it's hard to ask for more”.
In 2020 they continued in prolific fashion, following up “Ironside” with two sell out 7” singles “Yardley Suite/Overture 1” and “Sun Khosi/Chrysalis” with the latter described by Clash Magazine as “an absolute inspiration, an afrobeat tinged jazz stepper that exudes life, optimism, and purpose. Another piece of forward-thinking jazz music from Ruby Rushton, who somehow manage to sound both innately classic and future-minded at the same time”.
Throughout her fruitful independent career, spanning three EPs and multiple collaborations, Madison McFerrin has earned accolades from The New York Times, NPR, The FADER, and Pitchfork, who named her a Rising Artist in 2018.
Her genre-bending work has led to Questlove dubbing her early sound “soul-appella.” In addition to a stirring performance on the renowned COLORS Studio platform, McFerrin has also performed at Lincoln Center, Central Park SummerStage and BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn, and shared stages with the likes of De La Soul, Gallant, and The Roots.
Madison McFerrin's anticipated debut album I Hope You Can Forgive Me, out May 12, represents an evolution in her career as she finds ways to improvise and self-produce in the midst of an ever-changing global pandemic landscape. Following the acappella projects that corralled early fans (Finding Foundations Vol. I and II), she collaborated with her older brother, Taylor McFerrin, for her subsequent EP, You + I, her first project with instrumentation.
I Hope You Can Forgive Me builds upon that next step sonically while exploring themes of love, self-preservation, fear, and conjuring. A majority of the tracks on I Hope You Can Forgive Me are produced by Madison, a newly refined skill she honed during the pandemic. In addition to being a producer and arranger, she is also an instrumentalist, playing bass, synth, and creating background vocals for several of the tracks. The intimate album features her father, Bobby McFerrin.
London Born and raised, Poppy Daniels has become an infamous part of the UK jazz scene. Her style and versatility branches across multiple genres from jazz, to hip-hop to latin, reflecting her diverse skill set and musical palette.
London Born and raised, Poppy has become an infamous part of the UK jazz scene. Performing with the likes of Blue Lab Beats, China Moses, Daniel Casimir, Roella Oloro, Celeste, Nix Northwest, Hak Baker, Nu Civilisation Orchestra, Colectiva , Eliane Correa and more. Her style and versatility branches across multiple genres from jazz, to hip-hop to latin, reflecting her diverse skill set and musical palette.
After years building a name for herself and developing her sound Poppy is excited to introduce her new quintet, a celebration of the sounds which have shaped her. A hot pot of jazz, fusion, hip-hop and Latin, through the unique tone of one of London most exciting up and coming trumpet voices.
From the Mela's of Bangladesh to the streets of Havana, via some districts in Lagos and on to a bustling club in London. This is what is giving London it's new accent. Described by Songlines as "probably the world’s best Afrobeat-Cuban-Bangladeshi group” London based Lokkhi Terra released their debut album "No Visa Required" in 2010 and have been tearing up the music rule book ever since, playing their unique blend of traditions and wowing audiences across the genres.
Four years on from his explorative third full-length ‘Aquamarine,’ Londoner Ash Walker returns with an equally ambitious follow-up, recently released via Night Time Stories. Appreciate the new album plus Ash's back catalogue live in the intimate surroundings of Ninety One.
Alongside a plethora of award-winning collaborators and combining a dizzying array of sounds, ‘Astronaut’ hears Walker push his astral shower of rhythm and vibes to new heights. If 'Aquamarine’ was the take-off of his audial spaceship, ‘Astronaut’ is the cosmic voyage reaching terminal velocity; a rocket-powered masterclass spanning jazz, blues, soul, funk, and reggae.