Having released her jaw-dropping EP When We Are and scooping the Jazz FM Breakthrough Act of the Year award last year, it was clear that London-based saxophonist and composer Nubya Garcia was bound for further success in 2019.
Her year began with an opening set for respected veteran saxophonist Gary Bartz, who was celebrating 50 years since the release of his long player Another Earth with a show at Le Poisson Rouge, NYC for Winter Jazzfest. Nubya’s set caught the attention of Rolling Stone, who commented ‘her big, commanding tenor tone and patient improvisational flow made a contemporary sound feel simultaneously ancient’.
Since then, we’ve been treated to three immense and diverse tracks featuring that ‘commanding tenor tone’. On Swindle’s recently-released, admirably-ambitious album No More Normal, Nubya adds soulful, uninhibited melodies to the coda of laid back, UK via LAX bubbler, Run Up. She also features in the comprehensive new documentary about the record, sharing her experiences of collaborating on the track.
As his biography states, ‘Ben Hayes creates music at the intersection between spiritual jazz, dance music, and experimental electronica’, so naturally Nubya’s collaboration with Ben on the new single Ready Yet reflects that: a rich, almost balearic soundscape stretched over an elastic rhythm of natural percussion, padded with warm synthesis and keyboards. Nubya’s playing on this cut is energetic and dynamic – with emphatic D♭ note soaring above the wash or rising instrumentation.
Nubya unleashes a crisper sax sound on the opening track of Theon Cross’ forthcoming solo album, Fyah. Channeling the same trance-inducing, clustered note style that Shabaka Hutchings displays on Sons of Kemet’s Mercury Prize-nominated LP Your Queen is a Reptile, Nubya plays blistering, rhythmic phrases that set up a melodic solo and awesome passage of self-harmonisation.
All three tracks show Nubya’s adaptability and the artistic standard she brings to each and every musical situation. Garcia plays live at Band on the Wall on 3rd March, joined by two other rising acts on the British contemporary jazz scene, in Vels Trio and Emma-Jean Thackray. Find out more and pick up tickets, here.
Photo credit: Adama Jalloh