Despite training first in classical guitar and then jazz at London’s Trinity Laban music school, Oscar Jerome’s music isn’t your typical conservatoire jazz fare. Anchored by his nonchalant baritone and soul-inflected grooves, and lifted by his rhythmically intricate guitar riffs, his eponymous first EP and this month’s Subdued offer a glimpse into the intersections between introspective singer-songwriting and improvisatory jazz.
“I used to be against the jazz label because I don’t feel like what I’m playing necessarily is jazz” Jerome explains. He is speaking from a café in New York having just played the prestigious Blue Note the night before and with a Winter Jazz Festival showcase presented by Gilles Peterson on the horizon. It’s his first visit to the US and despite having landed in a snow blizzard that left half of his equipment stranded, his excitement to be in the birthplace of jazz is palpable.
“My records are definitely jazz-influenced”, he continues, “but then I’m equally influenced by hip-hop, punk, West African music, soul and lots of other genres. I don’t mind the jazz label as much now, though, because it’s gained a much more positive connotation in the last couple of years.”
Read the rest of the interview in Clash Magazine.
[This piece was published on 15/01/17]