1 February 2020

Column: Pat Pascal – London Jazz Nights

Buster Mantis was alive yesterday celebrating 1 year of Champion Sounds – a weekly improvised groove-jazz session that happens every Wednesday. The energy felt in the packed room was massive and the brilliant line-up gifted us with a set of unforgettable real-time music-creation completely off the charts. The names are well known in the scene as some of the ‘heaviest young musicians’ around. Hugo Piper and Rupert Cox were stellar in their solos and showed great dynamic stability, knowing when to express in full and when to support the group during experimentations. The powerful and unique set-up of 2 drummers with Jack Robson and Zoe Pascal, lead the band into some highlights especially spiking the audience into a deeper level of interaction and shared creativity. But they all took turns in the driving seat. Memorable solos and unpredictable moments from Dylan Jones on trumpet, Quinn Oulton on sax and heavy rock/jazz guitar licks from Daniel Kemshell.

The fact that jazz improvisation is indeed the ‘spinal cord’ of this virtuosic group, explains how easily they can travel from one style to the other without hesitation, making the music more interesting, vibrant and raw. If you happen to be around Deptford on a Wednesday night make sure you catch the sessions. The entrance is free and will end your day on a high note. Sessions like this make the fabric of London’s underground jazz scene.

Unprompted appearances from heavyweight musicians seem to be happening with more frequency outside the usual big club mainstream jam circuit. Just this week, Thundercat, well known American bass player, surprised everybody by attending Renato Paris’s jam night, Straight Pocket in Brixton. Kamasi Washington was seen in 2018 playing at Buster Mantis during a Steam Down night. It seems to me they are looking to soak up some of the freshness this new generation is bringing to the game.

Get your pen out and make a note of some of the best music nights and jams, in London at the moment:


Renato Paris´s Straight Pocket at Pure Vinyl Records



246 Ferndale Rd, Brixton, London SW9 8FR

Instagram: @straightpocketldn


Kansas Smitty´s (Live music every day)


Ticketed concert night presenting different bands

63-65 Broadway Market, London E8 4PH



Champion Sounds

Improvised groove-Jazz nights with different line-ups every week


Buster Mantis

3-4 Resolution Way, Deptford,

London SE8 4NT

Instagram: @champion.sounds


The Banger Factory House band residency led by Mark Kavuma



The Prince of Wales

467-469 Brixton Road, London SW8

Facebook: @TheBangerFactory

Fridays and Sat

Jazz Lates

Concert night presenting different bands every week

Free with registration

Ninety-One Living Room

91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL

Facebook: @91livingroom


Groove Science

Concert night with different line-ups every week


The Standard

10 Argyle Street, London WC1H 8EG

Instagram: @groove.science



Concert night with different bands every week

A Sunday Jazzsession

Upstairs at Ritz


Brixton Oval

Coldharbour Lane, Brixton

Instagram: @thecitizenbay

Other nights to look out for:

Overnight Oats presented by guitarist Tara Cunningham

Improvised jazz groove sets


186 Hackney Road,  London E2 7QL

Ticket: £5

Instagram: @abigfatrat

GW Jazz concerts presented by

Gordon Wedderburn, known to introduce some hot new talent.


Facebook: @gwjazz

Brave Poets present

“host astounding musical talent jamming live with freestyling lyrical poets, rappers, singers & vocalists. Cross-border and cross-genre contemporary ground-breaking talent.”


Instagram: @bravepoets

Jazz Jams for under 18s

Tomorrow´s Warriors Jazz Jam

at Richmix

Once a month


35 – 47 Bethnal Green Road

London E1 6LA



National Youth Jazz Orchestra Jazz Jam

at Foyles Bookshop (Charing Cross)

Once a month


107 Charing Cross Road,  London WC2H 0DT

Facebook: @NYJOuk


Column by Patricia Pascal

Photo of Dylan Jones by Patricia Pascal

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