From February 2016. At Rich Mix in Shoreditch on the Bethnal Green Road, the new Tomorrow’s Warriors jam began with a quartet on the bandstand, the sound of Jackie McLean, as interpreted by four fine young new players who have been nurtured over the years by the Harrow-based artist development and jazz education-centred organisation, ringing out.
In it the very naturally gifted pianist Charlie Stacey, a 20-year-old Old Etonian former student of philosophy at Princeton, part of the Tomorrow’s Warriors family since long before his teens, growing up on the bandstand, and sounding, even looking, a little inescapably like a young Jarrett say circa Life Between The Exit Signs.
On alto saxophone was Cassie Kinoshi from the all-female band Nérija who made me think of Tia Fuller a bit – the young Londoner’s style, like the Beyoncé saxophonist, speaks to you, not as out there in terms of timbre, but just as communicative and bop-conversant: the tone tender and warm, a confidence in her stage presence that is converted into performance.
On double bass was Rio Kai, tall and lean with dreads down to his waist, coming from a bass guitar background, getting his ear in well on standup bass by a couple of numbers in.
And completing the quartet, who impressed as a group most of all rhythmically on George Adams’ ‘City Gates,’ a piece the 1980s Adams/Pullen quartet used to play, was Patrick Boyle on drums sounding a bit like Eric Ford of Streatham jam-grounded band Partikel.
The quartet kicked things off with a couple of Jackie McLean numbers: one of these, ‘Melody for Melonae,’ from Let Freedom Ring, was the pick in terms of directness and shape.
Jammers joining after a couple of short sets included Journey to The Urge Within bassist and Tomorrow’s Warriors artistic director Gary Crosby, tweaking the sound down after a quick word with the desk and briefly discussing an F pedal point on ‘Donna Lee’ with a very young ridiculously talented guitarist Tjoe Man Cheung who came on with him, later joined by a couple of saxophonists. There was still plenty of light left outside on a warm drizzly day as a red bus swished by glimpsed in the stageside reflection… and the music played on.