Kokoroko cover the waterfront stylistically moving beyond genre into a diasporic Afrojazz blend that journeys through highlife and Fela Kuti's innovations via West Africa to 1970s funk America parallel to the Marvin Gaye cosmos on the chant 'Something's Going On' and in and out of a syncretic London contemporary blend. Debuting here the eight-piece founded by trumpeter Sheila Maurice-Grey achieved word of mouth buzz before the Pandemic and then everything went on pause. Band name Kokoroko is a word from the Nigerian Urhobo language and means “be strong.”
Four tracks are extremely brief. But the main statements found dotted around the album include 'Ewà Inú' when there is time to simply nestle into the beat and Richie Seivwright's trombone solo emerges organically while Maurice-Grey oozes rectitude and an at easeness in her solo. 'Age of Ascent' has a great groove from Ayo Salawu and beyond the trombone solo the horns together act like a chorus and fulfil that role often.
Could We Be More is new in our twin albums of the year and top UK lists. Kokoroko are all about the flow and thrive on a riff-groove alchemy and not to forget ensemble play that's so vital in all great jazz. Read these here
Kokoroko play We Out Here on 25 August