Through a thriving UK Jazz scene, Pure Shade from Ezra Collective puts a fresh and harmonious spin on the traditional small band composition.
Having worked with pioneering London sonic upstart Floating Points and Abbey Road engineer Matt Mysko, this five piece are redefining what it means to be a modern jazz band; and all about 6000km from where the genre all started. Ezra Collective cite influences that traverse afrobeat, hip-hop, elements of roots, samba and, well, jazz.
Pure Shade takes you on a dynamic trip of melody and hooks, all held down by a swinging mid-tempo groove. The quintet mix virtuoso trumpet and electric piano with a tight rhythm section formed of bass, synth and drums. It’s not overly complicated but the careful dynamics bring out a piece that just feels beautifully formed. Once the track develops it’s then brought back down to just the singing voice of electric piano, heavily coloured with vibrato, before the horn sections deliver a refrain that has an uplifting yet laid back quality. This is definitely helped by synthesiser which adds sizzle to an already great trumpet line.
Aside from the gorgeous artwork by Gaurab Thakali*, We Out Here is a superb collection of tracks from some of London’s hottest Jazz cats. I’ve picked out Pure Shade in order to feature Ezra Collective, but you’d be selling it short not to have the whole compilation on repeat.
We Out Here was put together by Brownswood Records and is available from their Bandcamp and as a Double LP and CD.
*Honestly, if this was a visual art blog, he’d have definitely featured. Having produced art work for a number of musicians, records, the New Yorker and the New York Times, he’s someone to look out for across the Jazz, Skate and wider cultural scenes!