Ant Law and Alex Hitchcock, Same Moon in the Same World, Outside In ***1/2

There's a strong case to be made for Ant Law crowned the most exciting jazz guitarist on the UK scene at the moment and he is as impressive a side player or co-leader as he is a leader. He just about stole the show recently in Juncture, actually he …

Published: 4 Nov 2022. Updated: 28 days.

There's a strong case to be made for Ant Law crowned the most exciting jazz guitarist on the UK scene at the moment and he is as impressive a side player or co-leader as he is a leader. He just about stole the show recently in Juncture, actually he did, and with Emma Rawicz last year live when there was a big choice of other ridiculously accomplished players around him his sound rose to the top time and time again harmonically. Alex Hitchcock is as melodic as they come - if you dig the sound of Iain Ballamy then step his way although Hitchcock has a very different kind of poeticism in his head. For more on that listen to the excellent Dream Band. Hitching their wagon to a modernish approach the pair expose each other to a love-in of melodic possibilities and pathways of logical extension without the jarring sense of too many sweet centres blended in as they swerve from the woodily textural feeling baked into 'Don't Take Too Long' to the highly loquacious sweep of 'Outliers'. Guests (there are too many) include an array of big names including vibist Joel Ross, Shai Maestro, Jeff Ballard and saxist Tim Garland. But forget the distraction of well-deserved reputation. If at the time of recording everyone had been in the same room at the same time this would have been a very different record if it even had been possible to make it which is doubtful so thanks be to the wonders of tech more than quibble about the process and the subjectivity of what distance no matter how shrunk does to recordings although it is a thing. The clear navigation of sax and guitar is what you need to concentrate on most. Who wouldn't be moved by 'Chrysalis' it's true.

Tags:

Ezra Collective, Where I'm Meant To Be, Partisan ****

Ezra Collective - top left-to-right: Ife Ogunjobi, James Mollison, TJ Koleoso, Joe Armon-Jones, Femi Koleoso. Photo: press Ezra Collective reach parts of a wider non-jazz consciousness quite credibly incidentally that few UK jazz acts can dream …

Published: 4 Nov 2022. Updated: 28 days.

Next post

ec

Ezra Collective - top left-to-right: Ife Ogunjobi, James Mollison, TJ Koleoso, Joe Armon-Jones, Femi Koleoso. Photo: press

Ezra Collective reach parts of a wider non-jazz consciousness quite credibly incidentally that few UK jazz acts can dream of. It isn't hard to understand why given the reach of what they do. Now signed beyond the bedrock of the jazz village to the Fontaines DC and Beth Orton-rostered label Partisan Records the AfroCuban exuberant trumpet-dotted flavour to 'Victory Dance' shows a buoyant mood in which pianist Joe Armon-Jones underpins the horn line in the manner of Chucho Valdés and breaks out to solo before the horns in unison come back.

The London band borne out of Tomorrow's Warriors are led by drummer Femi Koleoso with TJ Koleoso on bass, Joe Armon-Jones on keys, Ife Ogunjobi on trumpet and James Mollison on tenor saxophone.

Influenced by grime, hip-hop, Afrobeat, jazz and more they interpreted Wayne Shorter Adam's Apple classic 'Footprints' on 2020's best-selling various artists compilation album, Blue Note Re:imagined. Featured guests on Where I'm Meant To Be, include widely adored hitmaker Emeli Sandé on 'Siesta' the track begun by the expectant din of people's voices and Sandé sounding soulful with Armon-Jones on keys busy and circling in with percussion to keep the pace up. The lyric is however a fairly routine homily advising ''take your time'' and resilience. Rapper Sampa the Great, Kojey Radical in conversation a little with the late Tony Allen on the thumping Afrobeat livener 'No Confusion' riffing off Gil Scott-Heron lyrically also feature. Words from the great film and tv director Steve McQueen are at the radical heart of the album who talks about black music ''breaking through'' and ''within the unrecognisable there is the familar.''

There's plenty of variety - the strings soaked 'Never the Same Again' with a beautiful piano line and some of the best horn playing on the album is my overall pick and shows a lot of maturity and serenity away from the more party friendly numbers. The reggae feeling on 'Ego Killah' is also a big plus and including Charlie Chaplin's 'Smile' ubiquitous as a cover works well in context, certainly the sentimental choice. 'Belonging' has one of Femi's best grooves and the sax line is very elemental. Certainly Ezra Collective can do tender well and you get that here even on one of the less essential tracks the Nao vocal feature 'Love in Outer Space'. It would be churlish to give the album anything less than four stars - a feelgood listening start to the day for sure but there is a lot of depth and ideas that contextualise jazz in the bigger picture juxtaposing all their influences and bouncing of all of these to make their Trojan Horse jazz imaginings out there in the glare of the wider music industry marketplace something fresh and appealing.

  • Ezra Collective stream tonight live from their sold out show at Ronnie's.