Next week the EFG London Jazz Festival kicks off across a multitude of venues throughout the city, so who better to take over this week’s playlist than the event’s director of programming, Pelin Opcin.
Since it launched in 1992, the festival has hosted a wealth of landmark performances from Joe Pass and Martin Taylor playing to a hushed, packed house at Union Chapel to The Monk Liberation Front living and breathing all 70 of Thelonious Monk’s compositions in a heady all-dayer on the FreeStage at the Royal Festival Hall.
This year’s programme continues to add to the event’s rich history, with performances including the official Jazz Voice opening gala featuring top performers Cécile McLorin Salvant, Cherise Adams-Burnett, Corinne Bailey Rae to Steve Williamson Experience at the PizzaExpress Jazz, plus electronic artist Gazelle Twin and much more.
Read on for the thinking behind Pelin’s picks to get you in the mood and tune in below…
Angel Bat Dawid – London
Originally recorded on a cassette tape, Angel Bat Dawid’s debut album ‘Oracle’ is a statement of ingenuity, vigorous performance and jazz being a tool for protest. Greeting artist’s London premiere with this stunning track.
Terri Lyne Carrington’s Social Science – Trapped in the American Dream
Get ready for the album of the year! Terri Lyne Carrington Social Science’s ‘Waiting Game’ is a masterpiece of immaculate music and powerful messaging. This first single is steaming against injustice.
Makaya McCraven – Black Lion
Known for his recordings of re-editing the music of the moment and his interactions with London jazz scene, genre-defying Makaya McCraven teams up with his fellows from the US avant-garde Tomeko Reid, Brandee Younger, Dezron Douglas and Joel Ross, on this track.
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah – The Shared Stories of Rivals (KEITE) feat Saul Williams
Reimagining West African, First Nation, and African Diaspora/Caribbean rhythms and styles and merging them with poetry and electronics, Christian Scott creates an intense, new texture on his 2019 album ‘Ancestral Recall”. This track is burning with crafted rhythms and a roaring trumpet.
Soweto Kinch – Soul Bearings
Such an inspiring track Soweto Kinch’s 2016 album Nonagram, with so many layers of melodies, beats and styles sounding like a digitally crafted big band on fire!
Watch out his new release “The Black Peril’ coming up this year.
Rosie Turton – Butterfly
A beautiful interpretation of Herbie Hancock’s original by trombonist Rosie Turton, one of London jazz scene’s most promising new voices.
Cleveland Waikiss – Spoken Word
The chameleon singer who performed in all sorts of outfits from drum’n bass to Jamaican music, from rock to jazz, celebrates his 60th with a brilliant show. This track is from his 2002 album Victory’s Happy Songbook.
Gary Bartz – Funked Up
A very funky track indeed…2005 single showcasing one of Gary Bartz’s so many sides. A spiritual jazz master, a fusion jazz inventor or a funky alto player, Bartz promises a party joined up with the musicians of Maisha, Zara Mcfarlane and Dwight Tribble on his highly anticipated show in the festival.
Ley Lines – Emma-Jean Thackray
A catchy track with trance like grooves, from the same titled 2018 EP of one of UK jazz scene’s hottest talent Emma-Jean Thackray.
Art Ensemble of Chicago – Rock Out
While it is strongly recommended to check out their 2019 release “We Are On the Edge” celebrating the Ensemble’s 50th anniversary, this track is from 1969 shows how their sound is always miles ahead, always visionary and inspirational even when they tackle more conventional forms.
Micheal Wollny – When the Sleeper Wakes
Internationally acclaimed German pianist/composer Michael Wollny will do the UK premiere of his Bau.Haus.Klang project in the festival. In the meantime, enjoy a more melodic style from the artist in this 2014 recording.
Gazelle Twin – Mongrel
Electronic music composer, producer and vocalist Gazelle Twin’s 2018 Pastoral album is a soundtrack to the dystopic future and Mongrel is definitely not a sing along tune – but a very good one!
Dawn of Midi – Ijirag
Brooklyn based minimalist trio returns with a rare headline show, unique in a way that tracks like this one may be heard from a different angle: their set will be a response to the Bauhaus movement, celebrating its 100th.