Over the past 30 years, U.K. jazz has taken on multiple, ever-changing guises. From the genre-spanning fusions of the group Polar Bear, to the sound system interpolations of Jazz Warriors, the dance-floor focus of Acid Jazz and Jason Yarde’s saxophone experimentalism, British improvised music has been gradually and often quietly carving out a niche of its own.
For the past three decades, the London Jazz Festival has been documenting this change with its annual 10-day programs across the English capital. With its debut lineup featuring the likes of South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim alongside British big band leader Jools Holland and drummer Louis Moholo, ensuing installments have focused on the music of diverse generations of young British instrumentalists. Specifically over the past five years, the festival has become a showcase of a new iteration of improvised music that references the diasporic cultures of its players, blending West African rhythms, highlife melodies and jazz instrumentation. Key performances have come from the likes of saxophonists Shabaka Hutchings and Nubya Garcia and drummer Moses Boyd.
Read the review in Downbeat Magazine.
[This piece was published on 29/11/22]