– GUERRILLA WARFARE –
It’s party time at Ezra Collective HQ. And who can blame them? As poster boys for the resurgent London jazz scene, this week they’ve released their debut full-length, You Can’t Steal My Joy to near-universal acclaim, been baited into a “Jazz War” with The Comet is Coming by BBC Radio 1 (in the process, making me aware of the proper pronunciation of Shabaka Hutchings name – think “Chewbacca” – God rest his soul) and played Madison Square Gardens.
So, unsurprisingly, the quintet are in the mood to celebrate. Listen to the way drummer and band-leader Femi Koleoso, mischievously comes in with his snare on the off-beat of each bar. Observe the zest with which the horns section of Dylan Jones and James Mollison attack those stabs. Saviour the gleeful running up and down the keyboard from Joe Armon-Jones during his solo. It is, to steal Led Zeppelin’s fabled phrase, the living, breathing – nay, gasping – spirit of “tight but loose”.
You Can’t Steal My Joy is not just a statement of intent, it’s also a homecoming announcement… and São Paulo is the Samba-themed victory parade.
Sure, …Joy has its quieter, more cerebral moments. Philosopher II is a beautiful piano interlude while the stratospheric success of the Jorja Smith-consecrated Reason in Disguise is undoubtedly the driving force behind the band’s explosion into the collective (no pun intended) consciousness.
But São Paulo is the track where you feel the band most at liberty to cut loose, kick back and cop out. Go buy You Can’t Steal My Joy now and feel the force become strong within you.
MORE FROM THIS WEEK’S MIX
LANEOUS: HOLD MY HAND
SARATHY KORWAR FEAT. MC MAWALI: MUMBAY
LAZARUS & THE VERY BEST: NDIFE ALENDO
NOÉ ZAGROUN FEAT. MARO: MOVE ON
P.S. You can find all of the tracks reviewed above in the 45 Revolutions per Minute playlist below or click to access the 45 RPM Playlist on Spotify itself.
If you like what you hear (or even if you don’t), please engage in dialogue with me @45rpm_Reviews on Twitter. And, if you’d like to receive updates weekly, please subscribe to the email list to get these recommendations sent to your inbox weekly.
– SV –