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Ezra Collective at VEGA – November the 4th 2019

Monday November the 4th, we will be at Vega around 8pm.

The London-based five-piece band Ezra Collective will be in Copenhagen, and it’s an act that’s worth to spend a different Monday evening.
Ezra Collective is surely part of the changing perception of jazz as a genre. The British Jazz explosion is a matter of last years’ facts, as the hype around London’s scene has been loud, since a vibrant phenomenology has pushed through a bunch of young Jazz musicians, whose audiences reflect their multiculturalism as much as their wide-ranging tastes. Yet such music scenes often fragment into side projects and subgenres; this is as much Afrobeat, kuduro, Jazz, Funk and Dub as it is Bop. Whatever you want to call this music, it embodies the best of London’s creativeness – the chaotic friction of multiculturalism and the abundant talent that springs from it. With the help of peers such as Moses Boyd, Nubya Garcia, Kamaal Williams and every project touched by Shabaka Hutchings, Ezra Collective members have not only been reviving the London jazz scene, but redefining it also: Dylan Jones is the group’s trumpet player, first saxophonist is James Mollison, the keys-player is Joe Armon-Jones, defacto band’s leader is the drummer Femi Koleoso, also brother of bassist TJ Koleoso.

Ezra Collective has helped lead a millennial-focused jazz resurgence, as ambassador of rank to spread this thrilling jazz movement’s sound. These young guys lit a spotlight on them in the last years and this is not a sudden magic trick, but the result of a long and productive musical path and existential journey: from “Tomorrow’s Warriors” (at London’s Southbank Centre) whose ethos is to support the development of jazz newbies from early ages, to “Jazz re:freshed” a promotion company turned label, which has played a huge part in supporting many new jazz acts from UK. The people involved into this scene set the conditions and developed the movement over many years, building up a vibrant community of artists, audiences and pros who together are transforming the lives of future generations by increasing opportunity, diversity and excellence in and through jazz. Knowledge, research and dedication but also discipline and determination to create a solid scene; this happens only through time, study and the pursuit of a lifetime passion.

Their first studio release, ‘You Can’t Steal My Joy’, has been released on April the 26th 2019.

This album blots out any preconceived notions of jazz, replacing them instead with a patchwork celebration of jazz’s enduring diversity, while remaining true to their deep musical roots.
It injects the feeling and motion of live music, a lovingly assembled debut LP and a natural continuation of their 2017 EP ‘Juan Pablo: The Philosopher’. The LP is peppered with just a few guest spots, deftly integrating hazy hip-hop into their repertoire without coming off as derivative.
Most likely the Vega concert will be shuffling in improvised versions of the album’s tunes.

The strength of Ezra Collective’s music, is also prove to the strength of their friendship. The group met at Tomorrow’s Warriors, having initially come together for a competition to play at Ronnie Scott’s.

Band’s drummer Femi Koleoso said: “We started to recognise that in one set we’re covering Fela Kuti, we’re covering Herbie Hancock, we’ve got a song fully inspired by Skepta, we’ve got a song fully inspired by Vybz Kartel and Donae’O,” he explains. “When we thought about the mixture of things, we thought: this is such a product of who we are. This is so unique to us. I’ll challenge you to find five musicians that have all the same music references that we do.”

Text: Nicola Semprini