Jazzcats Ezra Collective go their separate ways

Energy. You can’t ignore it on the second album by the London jazz band Ezra Collective. The quintet who found each other as teenagers in the ‘jazz clubhouse’ Tomorrow’s Warriors by jazz pioneer Gary Crosby – young people learn to play jazz there – rises Where I’m Meant To Be with jazz of the most moving, lively kind. Cheerful horns (trumpet and sax), the rhythm section of the Koloseo brothers (drummer, bandleader Femi and bassist TJ), which is very much attuned to the groove, and then the keyboardist Joe Armon-Jones, who embraces every style.

Afrobeat – the Nigerian background of the brothers – dominates even more. In the beats picked up from the street, it goes from trap to salsa. Rappers Sampa The Great and Kojey Radical make a logical contribution, and in ‘Siesta’ Emeli Sandé sings. What a nice uplifting record this is. One that definitely marks the musical growth of young British jazz cats who go their own way even more. After the example of the late Nigerian drummer Tony Allen, whose words begin with ‘No Confusion’: ‘I’m playing jazz my way’.

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