Listen: A powerful, engaging look at the rising London jazz scene via the We Out Here comp
I don’t know much about the current jazz scene here in Minnesota, and I certainly don’t know about the jazz scene in London. This fact either makes me a perfect choice for reflecting on the We Out Here comp, a collection featuring rising talent from the London Jazz scene, or grossly incompetent to speak to its contents. Whichever side you fall on that debate, I’m glad I found this record, which has firmly placed itself on the inside track to be one of my favorite and most-listened-to albums of 2018.
The record has a defiant swagger and a rich array of sounds that seem to blend the past and future of jazz. From the dramatic swells of opener “Inside the Acorn” by Maisha to the punchy, Dilla-esqe horns of “Pure Share” Ezra Collective, it is a record that sounds both smart and funky, both loose and focused. Highlights for me include the emphatic, spiritual jazz-funk of “Brockley” by Then Cross, the strained urgency of “Black Skin, Black Masks” by Shabaka Hutchings and the sultry guitar work of “Walls” by Triforce. Even with favorites, there isn’t a track on this record that temps me to hit the “next” button when it pops up. This record has proven to be one of those LPs that is more likely to be started over after finishing than stopped partway through.
I’ll have to take the word of the organizer of the record that the nine-song LP captures an array of the young talent in the London jazz scene because, as I mentioned, I don’t really have any sense of this scene. From what I can gather, it is a talented and visionary group of artists, creating music that is incredibly absorbing, even (or especially?) for a jazz novice like me. The record grabbed me the first time I listened to it, and I’ve found new corners to explore over dozens of spins in the last few months. It is a record that feels strong with each twist, and something that still feels like a sum greater than its parts.
Listen below and buy a copy of the comp, and if you enjoy it as much as I have, join me in diving deeper into the artists and scene captured on We Out Here.