A new landmark Jazz release.
This is what Ezra Collective have been working towards for a better part of a decade now, and finally, it comes actualised on ‘Where I’m Meant To Be’.
The sounds and ideas present an exciting vision for a new movement in Jazz. It works with the sounds of the new wave of UK Jazz set by Alfa Mist, the works of Shabaka Hutchings (The Comet Is Coming, Sons of Kemet, Shabaka & the Ancestors) and Yussef Dayes.
Taking these new interpretations of fusion and afrobeat and putting features like those from Sampa the Great and Kojey Radical, bridges a gap between Jazz and other new veins of rap and R&B that results in a far more vibrant and colourful record than most coming before it.
It has a great energy flowing through the record. ‘Victory Lap’ is the spearhead for the album as it wears its Felt Kuti influence on its sleeve, but then morphs into something else entirely. But the record can do so much more than just groove, just hear ’Never the Same Again’ for its buttery smooth flows as it brings the pace down from the afrobeat dynamics.
The main reason we believe the album has been so successful is in its variety of vocalists presented to take the edge off of a purely instrumental jazz record. To purists, this may be a deterrent, but it’s more likely that this will be a key gateway record for new Jazz fans.
Context means a lot, and having now taken home the Mercury Prize for 2023 means that this is a landmark release. The scene has been building to this for the last decade or so, and it’s now more alive than it’s ever been.
Having now reached a critical mass, it’s now time to pay close attention to Ezra Collective if you haven’t been already.
This is one for the ages. Jazz heads rejoice.
‘Where I’m Meant To Be’ is available in the Store now.