You can always trust a Soul Jazz compilation and Kaleidoscope – New Spirits Known and Unknown is no different. You may be forgiven for think that jazz was invented in London in about 2017 such is the excitement over a treasure trove of new artists in recent years. This compilation seeks to present to you the best bits from deep jazz cuts to wilful experimentation to deep soul. Comes with extensive liner notes and photos. A good as any a place to begin your discovery.
Limited Vinyl Triple LP £28.25 SJRLP455-7
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Vinyl Triple LP £25.27 SJRLP455
Deluxe 3LP on Soul Jazz.
CD £12.50 SJRCD455
Deluxe 2CD on Soul Jazz.
It’s quite remarkable, the London jazz scene. A genre long derided for being difficult and uncompromising has managed to burst its banks without compromising at all. Long gone are the days where the high point for a young British jazz band was a token mercury prize nomination (sorry SEED Ensemble), now there’s a whole world out there voracious for the music this wonderful scene is producing.
‘Kaleidoscope - New Spirits Known and Unknown’ from the always good Soul Jazz functions as a vital survey of the scene, featuring tracks that have little in common beyond a shared curiosity for where jazz could go. It’s hard to imagine a scene that can just as easily accommodate Yazmin Lacey’s smooth vocal jazz as Hector Plimmer’s video game soundtrack funk, but it’s right in front of us.
Though the scenes most succesful band Sons of Kemet aren’t present, we do get a wonderful track from their tuba player Theon Cross. On ‘Candace of Meroe’ we get a real show of his heroic tuba playing, able to match the track’s saxophonist beat for beat when playing. Here is a man who could probably blow your house down.
One of the other stalwarts (an odd word for a relatively young scene, but apt nonetheless) is Makaya McCraven, who features despite being born in Paris and raised in the USA. His presence is an acknowledgement from Soul Jazz that despite centring on London, as jazz is about collaboration, it would be ahistorical to leave out someone who’s contributed to the scene as much as McCraven. It’s also an acknowledgment that his music is extremely good, ‘Untitled’ is probably the freest track here, a sparse cut-up that makes Levitation Orchestra’s group vocal work seem all the bigger in comparison.
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