Graham Reid | | <1 min read
While attention of the contemporary jazz scene hasn't completely shifted to London, there is no doubt that the new music coming out of there – which sometimes mixes everything from Ellington and Coltrane to elements of African and Indian musics, hip-hop and grime – is commanding . . . and commanding serious consideration.
In many ways it is a reflection of multi-culti London in the 21stcentury.
Nerija is yet another large ensemble/collective (all women, other than bassist Rio Kai, on this album) with some tight playing but plenty of room for solo flourishes from the likes of guitarist Shirley Tetteh who is outstanding (check Riverfest where she seems to channel classic jazz players of the Fifties through a notion of juju and hi-life) and tenor player Nubya Garcia.
And this is all held in place by the fine rhythm section of bassist Kai (who can get very funky) and drummer Lizy Exell.
There's tickling Afro-jazz crossed with the four horns (Last Straw) and even when this starts to seem conservative (the smooth sound of Partner Girlfriend Lover written by Tetteh) it comes with some subtle disruptions.
An impressive and enjoyable debut album from an implosion of individual talents who – to these ears anyway – offer something more ambitious on album than the much vaunted Sons of Kemet and Ezra Collective, and is right up there with, perhaps surpassing, the energetic The Comet is Coming.
Highly recommended to open-minded jazz listeners of whatever persuasion.
You can hear this album on Spotify here.