First Thoughts: Various Artists – We Out Here

Brownswood seem to be making a habit of churning out some exceptional healing and soulful music. If we cast back to last year releases, from London based jazz influenced singer/songwriter; Zara MacFarlane album titled; ‘Arise’, and Cuban star singer; Dayme Arocena’s album titled; ‘Cubafonia’, you may remember how both vocalist stunningly took center stage throughout their albums, as well as, both using their respective Cuban and Jamaican heritage as influence for their lyrics.

Nevertheless, we moved into the new year with something which anyone interested in the jazz will have been waiting for. ‘We Out Here’ is a culmination of everything exciting about London’s jazz scene, with many artists’ in the album having recently released recognised solo projects of their own, it only seemed foretelling this would be great LP. Featuring artists like Nubya Garcia, Theon cross, Moses Boyd, Ezra collective, to name few.

EzraThis photo is courtesy of Ezra Collective

Opening with the tasteful decadent arrangement of Jazz refreshed members; Maisha’s track, which beautifully opens the LP with a cosmic fluid ride. The gentle flute and abrasive bass clarinet complement each other perfectly, providing a befitting opening to the LP.

The Five-piece band Ezra Collective take over with the track ‘Pure Shade’. An infectious vibrant track with an ever-teasing opening with momentous build up eventually equating to a high energy segment, with Joe Armon on the keys and Femi on the drums almost trying to outdo each other for tempo. That momentum gradually fades into a slow downtempo closing to the track.

9793453.jpgThis photo is courtesy of Shabaka Hutchings

We close the LP on a lighter note to previous tracks with afrobeat collective; Kokoroko’s track ‘Abusey Junction’. Their lead Guitarist Oscar Jerome has been making waves with solo material of his own, with the recent album ‘Where Are Your Branches?’. A befittingly calming end to a predominately high energy and creative LP, Oscar’s finger work on the guitar unassumingly puts you at ease, whilst the trombone and trumpets gently fade in and out throughout the track.

I imagine many of the artist siting early jazz to be their main core of influence, this LP represents how jazz has evolved in their eyes, as they have seemingly drawn upon other influences giving their work more vigor to move dancefloors. This LP can only be telling of the great things to come from these artists in future.

Author: Kofi Yeboah

I'm a Music & Culture Journalist, and DJ from London. I worked in radio, events promotions, and content production. .

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