Kazumi Watanabe – Garuda [Jazzy Couscous]

 

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Cheekily named Jazzy Couscous have brought out an ambient experiment by Japanese jazz maestro Kazumi Watanabe that got lost somewhere in the 80s. It’s intricate and ethereal, conjuring up rainbow tones in high-fidelity.. Accompanying it is a sort of balearic remix from Kuniyuki, who adds tribal and natural elements to mesmerising effect.

Mood-creating solitary listening.

Garuda was released on 26/3/18, and you can find it over at Juno

Ezra Collective – Juan Pablo: The Philosopher

Having already broken into the local jazz consciousness with last year’s Chapter 7 EP and the Sun-Ra informed Space Is the Place single, London five-piece Ezra Collective have dropped their anticipated Juan Pablo: The Philosopher EP, a heady collection of new wave jazz tunes.

Ezra Collective are a good emblem for the revitalised London jazz scene that has become highly conscious of the interplay between the roots that soul and hip-hop have in jazz, including the late 2000s broken beat scene and the rediscovered (for the second time since the early 2000s) West African funky heritage.

The EP opens with a sunny, psychedelic keyboard trill that composes itself and morphs into the afrobeat-style brass refrain that forms the centrepiece of opening track ‘Juan Pablo’. It continues throughout its blissful 23 minutes with a full-throttled dissemination of funk, atmospheric disco-esque rhythm and late night post-bop.

The dynamism and craftsmanship on display here speak for an inner love of rhythm and jazz that’s been lacking in a scene saturated by real book purists and faux-pas cocktail bars. Juan Pablo: The Philosopher is bold, colourful and, dare I say, breakthrough: it’s something to get excited about. Ezra Collective are sure to be a solid reference point in UK jazz for the years to come.

You can get Juan Pablo: The Philosopher on Bandcamp. 45turns tip: keep an eye out for a repress before the end of the year. 


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