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Nubya Garcia’s Source: 2020’s Pivotal Record for Jazz music

Updated: Sep 11, 2020

21st August 2020


Album Rating 4 / 5

SOURCE is a defining record for Nubya Garcia, and for jazz. Boundless, borderless, energetic and bold. Sweeping the Afro-Caribbean diaspora of sound, her limitless musical globalism encapsulates this chiming hour of British jazz.

Nubya's record musicians alongside her, stretch the sound across the map. Joe Armon-Jones’s delving dub, KOKOROKO’S trumpet bandleader Ms Maurice’s West African groove, widely collaborating Daniel Casimir's dynamic bass play, and the record’s co-produced by Garcia and Kwes, previously producing Solange, Bobby Womack, and Nérija. The list of influencers and contributors goes on, and on.

And this is what’s remarkable about the London jazz scene right now. These individuals have musically grown up together through their school years, sewn by the artist development program, Tomorrow’s Warriors. Their collaboration comes naturally and their work ethic is unique. Their solo records never feel like a single-handed project, but a shared progression with this youthful network of London jazz musicians. What an inspirational, beautiful dynamic to drive this movement.

Naturally pluralistic, the record shines through seasons and sounds. Together Is A Beautiful Place To Be breathes a resting rhythm echoing a Sonny Rollins slow ballad, stepping down from heart starting tracks, 'Pace' and 'Source', in which Nubya’s large, fierce tenor sax improvisation burns from her core. Armon-Jones glistens in every track, gliding with Nubya.

SOURCE tracks Nubya’s roots (reflected in the album artwork!), 'Before Us: Demerara & Caura', written after Nubya’s parents home villages in Guyana and Trinidad, rocks Caribbean percussion blending into drummer Sam Jones’ fast rolling jazz drums. 'La Cumbia Me Está Llamado', recorded in Bogotá, Colombia translated as "The Cumbia is Calling Me", was born of a totally improvised session with female vocal trio La Perla, delivering a South American Latin punch to the record.

As one of the busiest, most in-demand, and celebrated saxophonists, known for running between stages across festival fields, and colouring countless musician’s tracks globally, it’s odd to think this is Nubya Garcia’s debut full album. Yet it’s here, and stands firm; a standout record that is the answer to the question: ‘what is UK jazz now?’.

Hamish Irvine


Yo/u can buy and stream SOURCE here and on Spotify,

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