This rising young star of the London jazz scene is blazing a trail for the sax sisterhood
If scenes are supposed to thrive only on SoundCloud nowadays, then no one’s been checking the pulse of London’s free-spirited young jazz stable lately. Over the past few years, a network of forward-thinking musicians has assembled to foster a varied sound that belongs on sweaty dancefloors instead of expensive dinner clubs. Like jazzers Pharoah Sanders and Sun Ra before them, they start supergroups, collaborate and cross-pollinate influences from the African and Caribbean diaspora, such as Afrobeat and neo-soul, with an energy that is refreshing to taste but impossible to bottle.
Many of its players appear on the new compilation We Out Here, masterminded by scene linchpin Shabaka Hutchings for Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood label. And a standout is Camden-born tenor saxophonist Nubya Garcia, whose compositions glow with Afro-futurist touches, chill Baduizm and self-assurance. Garcia is also one of the few twentysomething women breaking through as a sax-wielder. “I still get asked all the time if I’m the singer, as if I’m not valued as an instrumentalist,” she has said.