UK new-wave jazz five-piece Ezra Collective play their biggest Manchester headline show at The Deaf Institute. Ezra Collective are one of the most important names in British music right now. Cornerstones in modern developments within the UK jazz underground, each release – each performance, even – feels driven by a rare sense of purpose.
Their latest release ‘Mace Windu Riddim’ is an attempt to capture the intensity and energy of an Ezra Collective show that could well be their most potent, and most downright addictive statement yet. Put simply: it’s a disco-driven summer banger that surrenders to the jazz tip.
Femi Koleoso kicks into the beat, hints of afrobeat through its perpetual motion, that sheer physical groove, the ongoing, undulating torrent of rhythmic possibility accentuated by TJ Koleoso’s elastic bass. Then there’s Joe Armon-Jones on keys, daubing dapples of colour across that skeletal frame, pushing each chord, each note out to its limit.
The drummer explains: “Second release on Enter The Jungle Records, and this time it’s a marriage between the aggressive, high energy Ezra Collective sound and our collective love for disco. Yeah disco. We wrote this to bring joy to the dance floor. Happiness and smiling.”
There’s a sudden stop; then that joyous horn refrain from James Mollison (saxophone) and Dylan Jones (trumpet), driven by the unity afforded by a singular purpose, echoing the sheer zen-like cool of Mace Windu, the black Jedi who stood for democracy, and a better future for everyone.
Femi smiles: “The only Star Wars character with a purple light sabre makes Mace Windu unique and easily distinguishable. Much light the Ezra Collective Sound.”
Femi Koleoso – Drums
TJ Koleoso – Bass
Joe Armon-Jones – Piano
Dylan Jones – Trumpet
James Mollison – Tenor Saxophone
This is a standing show. A Band on the Wall fundraiser.