Awards ceremonies tend to be predictable, boring affairs.
The endless nominations, the cramped tables, the free alcohol you can’t be too quick to drink – the list goes on. The much-fêted Mercury Music Prize is no different; industry chums gather annually to back-slap and congratulate each other on the usual selection of household names, tokenistic diversity, and the jazz choice.
The 2018 Mercury Prize felt different. This time, the ‘token jazz act’ felt like one that could actually win. Gone were the Basquiat Strings and Kit Downes of yesteryear, instead this was a product of a new jazz scene which had taken hold. The cluster of musicians at the centre of this movement, trained as much by free local workshops as by universities, is led most prominently by saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings. It was his band, Sons of Kemet, who earned the nomination. Their music isn’t something to sit and chin-stroke to, it is kinetic and infectious.
Read the January cover feature in Crack Magazine.
[This piece was published on 07/01/19]