VEGA, COPENHAGEN, 4. NOVEMBER 2019: The room is pretty packed to be a Monday evening.
And suddenly around 8:30, a stunning beautiful woman in a mini-red dress entered the stage, together with a smiley acoustic guitarist. She is Sasha Keable, and she’s about to open a truly good jazz night. Deep as Sarah Vaughan, fresh like Amy Winehouse she definitely killed it, looking like a consciuos rapper spitting rhymes while pointing a fingered-gun hand to constantly underline the accents of her soulful singing. She brillantly performed for 35 minutes and then introduced the five piece band Ezra Collective, which took few moments to pop out onto the stage.
Band’s leader, the drummer Femi Koleoso, was in a great shape and after the first piece of welcoming, engaged the audience into his and band’s definition of «joy». Ezra Collective came to Copenhagen in order to bring some joyful notes, something that can last after that experience and not only a fast and fleeting happiness effect. The album «You Can’t Steal My Joy», is their first studio release, and few of the members wore on stage the shirt claiming that title on the back side, obviuosly part of the band’s merch.
Femi is surely right, playing that set looked like a moment of emotional sharing rather than showing off.
The band’s keyboard player Joe Armon-Jones is probably one of the most interesting musicians/composers I heard both live and on his recordings in the last years and the like-minded, equally talented bandmates made for some of the most thrilling live music of my personal 2019.
The people in the crowd appear already familiar with this band and be well aware of members’ skills.
James Mollison is on the stage playing his tenor sax, and his musical complicity with the trumpet player Dylan Jones is sturdy and clear, and rich smiles among the two kept on for the whole show.
There’s a tangible thread which runs through the whole set: from funk, to hip hop, a wide spectrum of sounds is refracted through a shared, dedicated approach to playing.
Throughout, they conveyed a freshness and honesty that typifies the current new generation scene.
Opening with a solid african suite, this established the laid-back nature of band’s approach and allowed bassist TJ Koleoso (also drummer’s brother) to lock into grooves that shook the audience’s diaphragm for some bars…I mean this music is really super.
Forget about trends, snobbish chats and loosers’ prejudice. British jazz it’s a big thing and a busy bunch of ladies and gents born in the 90s, are performing around the globe having the chance to push out amazing music, to make the audience smile, shout and get swet, that’s it.
The show was flaoting as a celebration of jazz’s enduring diversity, lots of drumming while the band’s anthems got back and forth along with improvisations. The horns accents dictated the melodies before any musician on the stage performed an extraordinary solo that combined fast lines, rhythmic stabs and powerful soul vibes. They palyed an amazing 90 minutes set and the audience loved it. This is something not to underrate since many of the new hyped names maybe can have the critics’ favor, but if you had a decent impression of a musician’s live performance supposed to be huge, well… maybe the hype is in your eyes and most likely in your «perception». I’m truly glad of witnessing some serious talents in jazz, and having the chance to watch them performing in different context and countries.
As long as the legs will move and the hands are following, your soul has been reached and touched. Ezra Collective is a great Jazz band, and they keep on showing their skills.
Text: Nicola Semprini
Photo: Blurred Culture