Heard recently on Carmen Lundy's superb Modern Ancestors, drummer-rapper Kassa Overall in duo with pianist Mike King and picking up a lot of acclaim for Go Get Ice Cream and Listen to Jazz took to the stage of the Pizza Express Jazz Club just after midnight. This was a smart laidback show, whether drawing on Satie or dreaming up funny little sounds vocodered and mucked about with as Overall in a well travelled onesie stripped off to a vest to unwrap his comfortable alter ego as a zany rapper.
As a drummer he has Karriem Riggins-level chops and operates in that space but his really literate often wry raps recalling Soweto Kinch's deft style when he MCs were a refreshing change and King, a young Herbie in some ways, not just in his Chicago origins but because the headphone wearing player showed great skill on the Steinway (using his left hand to reach up to the Nord electric piano sometimes for some squelchier house beats) proved an excellent sparring partner. I liked best of all the rap over was it the chords for the Bob Haggart standard 'What's New' later. I'd hear these guys again pretty much any day of the week. Stephen Graham
Photo of Kassa Overall: marlbank