Blue Lab Beats, Jazztronica Live at Late Night Jazz Royal Albert Hall, Blue Adventure/Decca France ****

Accessible, sunny vocals stacked with beats and pieces and plenty of crowd reaction from the reliably infectious Blue Lab Beats on this sized up likeable EP with the natural that is David Mrakpor at the centre of the sound, Blue Lab Beats have …

Published: 20 Nov 2022. Updated: 11 days.

Accessible, sunny vocals stacked with beats and pieces and plenty of crowd reaction from the reliably infectious Blue Lab Beats on this sized up likeable EP with the natural that is David Mrakpor at the centre of the sound, Blue Lab Beats have certainly found their niche harnessing soul jazz, Herbie style 70s jazz funk and so much more and you can easily make a leap from the unpretentious dance floor friendly flavours of acid jazz to what's on the EP. Personnel includes the ever listenable-to trumpeter Jackson Mathod, Namali Kwaten in an 80s throwback mood on drum machine and the silky strings of The Multi Storey Orchestra. Highlights from this April 2022 show include the easy abandon of the serious riffery displayed on 'Gotta Go Live' moving to the fast lane with chunky sax from one Xvngo in tow. Party vibes spill out all over the EP so nothing to see here for the chin strokers perhaps but plenty for the soul crowd. Vula Malinga steals the show vocally on 'I’ll Be Here For You' and 'Labels'. Mrakpor's guitar lines on 'Reflection' open the door to another world entirely. A breath of fresh air and far more jazz relevant than you might first think but in no way orthodox or stale.

More reading:

David Mrakpor live at Tottenham's Post Bar (2021)

Lonely (2022) reviewed

Motherland Journey (2022) reviewed

Tags: NEW

Sebastian Rochford, Kit Downes, Silver Light, ECM *****

Oh so very immaculate and beautiful in its reverberation - new in our track-of-the-day 1 luv section - this intimate duo piece marks the first stirrings from A Short Diary an album out in early 2023 that introduces the Scottish born Sebastian …

Published: 19 Nov 2022. Updated: 17 days.

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Oh so very immaculate and beautiful in its reverberation - new in our track-of-the-day 1 luv section - this intimate duo piece marks the first stirrings from A Short Diary an album out in early 2023 that introduces the Scottish born Sebastian Rochford's first record as a leader for ECM (the Polar Bear and Sons of Kemet legend has been on the label already as a sideman with Andy Sheppard). A duo album with fellow ECM artist Kit Downes whose Vermillion is in our list of best UK albums this year, the piece begins with a simple resonant melody delivered deftly by Kit far away from any big bravura statement but instead mindful and glistening. Seb joins after a while on brushes and the feeling of contemplation intensifies like a silent prayer. A Short Diary is dedicated to Seb's father, Aberdeen poet Gerard Rochford (1932-2019) and to his family and includes a piece his father wrote 'Even Now I Think Of Her'.

More reading:

Seb Rochford live at the Vortex in May 22

Pulled By Magnets Seb's grindcore band with Pete Wareham and Neil Charles reviewed in the East End in 2019

Surrounded by Sea review - Seb with Andy Sheppard

Seb Rochford top left in the ECM publicity photo - taken by the avant trumpeter Alex Bonney - with Kit Downes