This release is every bit as colourful as its cover suggests. In compiling a snapshot of London’s young jazz scene, Brownswood have moved to fill an ever-increasing gap with some brilliant music. Don’t be put off by the ‘j’ word – if you’re well versed in the deeper side of jazz you will undoubtedly get something out of this, but if like me you only occasionally dabble there is much to enjoy, with some lovely sonorities, hook lines and contrasting moods. It only took the sound of the clarinet with which Maisha begins ‘Inside The Acorn’ to get me hooked, and that was only the start. The calming brass and wordless vocals of Joe Armon-Jones’ ‘Go See’ reach a high spiritual plain, while at the other end of the tempo spectrum there is the virtuosic drum work to go with the brassy chords on the Ezra Collective number ‘Pure Shade’. Moses Boyd’s ‘The Balance’ has a lovely, squelchy trombone bass, while elsewhere we get Shabaka Hutchings, Nubya Garcia, Theon Cross, Triforce and the excellent Kokoroko. This is a strongly recommended compilation documenting one of London’s booming musical areas, and is a great way in for starters.
5 out of 5