Album Review: Jazz New Blood Alive 2018

Various Artists

Jazz New Blood Alive 2018

(Jazz New Blood)

Jazz New Blood Alive 2018 is the third compilation recorded live at the annual showcase series with the same name, part of EFG London Jazz Festival and supported by Waterloo Creative Studio. Patricia Pascal and her team have been documenting the thriving young London jazz scene since 2016, providing a helping hand to acts like Kokoroko, Seed Ensemble, Mark Kavuma, Zeñel, Alex Ridout, Sam Barnett, and Cesca, all of whom have gone on to make waves on the national scene (and, not coincidentally, have been featured as New Generation Jazz artists at Brighton’s Verdict as well!).

All the artists here are under 24 years old and there’s a heartening display of talent on offer. What’s equally impressive is the range of styles and influences on display, showing how diverse the vocabulary of the scene has become.

Hot trumpet tip Ife Ogunjobi presents a groove-laden track with an electronic afrobeat flavour, reminiscent of the approach pioneered by Sons Of Kemet or Theon Cross; Quinn Oulton offers a highly idiosyncratic mix of proggy fusion featuring his unaffected vocals that evoke echoes of the quintessentially English Canterbury scene from the distant 1970s; Rosie Frater Taylor opts for a jazzy, folky blend like Nick Drake mixed with Joni Mitchell that still finds room for some hot Benson-esque guitar/vocal scatting; pianist Roella Oloro offers spacious modal jazz with some nice blowing from Kaidi Akinnibi on sax and Joseph Oti on trumpet; Zeñel keysman Noah Stoneman lays out some authentically heavy contemporary jazz with his piano trio, featuring some of the strongest playing on the album and a great solo from Luca Caruso on bass; and Brothers Testament round the session off with the laid-back after hours groove of Nights Of Contentment, ploughing the same post-fusion furrow as BadBadNotGood. Strength in diversity is much championed as a solution to the tensions of contemporary life and there’s abundant musical evidence on offer here.

Eddie Myer