First ever jazz win of the Mercury - as Ezra Collective win this year's prize

For many it would never happen - but this year it did when a jazz act won the Mercury for the first time in the history of the prize with Ezra Collective winning for Where I'm Meant To Be at a ceremony in London earlier this evening. Ezra …

Published: 7 Sep 2023. Updated: 5 months.

For many it would never happen - but this year it did when a jazz act won the Mercury for the first time in the history of the prize with Ezra Collective winning for Where I'm Meant To Be at a ceremony in London earlier this evening. Ezra Collective once again reach parts of a wider non-jazz consciousness that few UK jazz acts can dream of. 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, included 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. 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.'' The band take home a prize of £25,000 Koleoso picking up the prize pondering ''if a jazz band winning the Mercury Prize doesn't make you believe in God, I don't know what will.''

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Friday night jazz planned for new series this autumn at Ladbroke Hall

Look for a new venue covering jazz in west London this autumn with the official launch this month of the Friday Jazz programme at Ladbroke Hall. The series, held in partnership with Steinway and Sons and Bang and Olufsen in the grand early 20th …

Published: 7 Sep 2023. Updated: 5 months.

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Ladbroke Hall 1

Look for a new venue covering jazz in west London this autumn with the official launch this month of the Friday Jazz programme at Ladbroke Hall. The series, held in partnership with Steinway and Sons and Bang and Olufsen in the grand early 20th century Beaux Arts building, kicks off on 22 September with the Zhenya Strigalev Sextet plus special guests Lucy-Anne Daniels and Soweto Kinch. The following week on Friday 29 September, it's flautist Gareth Lockrane and his band. October sees saxist Baptiste Herbin and guitarist Richard Manetti on 6 October, and reedist Giacomo Smith of Kansas Smitty's renown is to appear on 13 October. Ladbroke Hall series co-founder Loic Le Gaillard says: “It’s been a dream of mine to be able to curate a space where the world’s finest jazz musicians can express their talent, while audiences can enjoy both tremendous music and some delicious food and drink in an inspiring setting.'' More details here.

Ladbroke Hall, above, in the photo