After stamping their authority on the British jazz scene, which appears to be as bright and as relevent as it has in a lonng time, some of the UK biggest talent are heading over to this years SXSW for arts organisation Jazz re:freshed showcase.Industry heavyweights including Don Was (Blue Note), Gennaro Castaldo (Director of Communications, BPI), Helen Sprott (Director of Music, Arts Council England) and Vanessa Reed (Chief Executive, PRS For Music Foundation) are all showing their support for the showcase, designed to further recognize the importance of the diverse emerging British jazz scene to the wider musical world.
Jazz re:freshed have teamed up with the British music industry, who are supporting the showcase, which featured celebrated artists such as Moses Boyd, Yussef Kamaal, United Vibrations and Native Dancer hailing from south London areas including Peckham and Lewisham. In addition the showcase features Ninja Tune recording artist Sarathy Korwar and GoGo Penguin, the Manchester based piano-trio whose trademark anthemic acoustic-electronica saw them nominated for the Mercury Music Prize who are currently signed to the legendary Blue Note Record label.
Jazz re:freshed and British Underground have recently launching a two year international music project called Outernational, which will globally spotlight British jazz talent through a series of showcases at international music events AFROPUNK and SXSW. In addition to the showcase on 15 March at Main II, British Underground and Jazz re:freshed will be hosting a networking boat party on 16 March featuring performances from Moses Boyd Exodus and Shabaka Hutchings – for more information please visit www.britishunderground.net/sxswjazz.
Ahead of the trip over to America, we spoke to sticksman and MOBO winner Moses Boyd
You’re going to SXSW right, for a British Jazz showcase? Tell us a bit more about that? How important are organisations like Jazz Re:freshed and British Underground for musicians nowadays.
Very Important i feel. Jazz refreshed has served the underground music community for over a decade by providing an amazing platform for music that doesn’t necessarily conform to the mainstream. I’m glad they’re getting the recognition they deserve as they been influential in nurturing and showcasing a community for years. equally British underground incredible in the work they do in helping artist get there presence outside if the UK. I feel lucky that everything has line up that were able to head over to America and shine a light on whats happening over here.
You’re doing a show in London as well?
Yeah I’m at Corsica studios on march 23rd, it’s been a while since Ive done something with my band in London so really looking forward to a hometown show.
There’s some top acts going along with you as well, you must have worked with and/or have much respect for some of these guys?
yeah for sure. i admire all the bands going, I’ve known personally some longer than others. and played and worked with a few of them in various settings. its gonna be alot of fun in texas to say the least.
How do you rate the Jazz scene here in the UK right now? Who do you look up to?
I think the music scene is incredible right now in the UK not just jazz, although jazz is thriving at the moment and i feel its beginning to mix and meld into many different worlds. more and more events and promoters are including the music in places and line ups where before it wasn’t the case which is good for the artform. also artist outside of the jazz world are collaborating Showcasing more of the music, people like Little Simz, Bonobo, events like Sunfall festival And Dimensions festivals. its a good time for sure.
You seem to have a lot going on at the moment working with other artists as well as having Binker & Moses and Exodus – tell us a little bit about those things? How did you put Exodus together?
Exodus Started out as an outlet for me to explore music i was was writing as well as music i was making electronically and my ongoing efforts to mix the two. Though my line up can change, the core band of Nathaniel Cross, Theon Cross, Artie Zaits and Binker Golding are all people ive had a longstanding musical and personal relationship before the exodus. And really I’m trying to document as much of my musical growth with this group of musicians. not that i don’t work with other people but i feel the Exodus has a sound that has been molded over years of fellowship.
And you’ve albums coming out this year with both Binker & Moses and Exodus – any ideas on when we might see these, what stage they’re at right now? Can you give us an insight into these releases?
yeah all being well. Ive got a few things coming. At some point.
You’ve been awarded a MOBO and recognised at Gilles Peterson’s worldwide awards – does that add pressure, or are you all cool with that sort of thing?
Not for me to be honest, i’m quite a chilled person. i feel the im same person award or not. and i don’t think of them when i write or perform. but i’m grateful for them, what they’ve done and allowed me to do has been a blessing for sure.
Any more plans for the year?
More music and collaborations, i’m producing an album for Zara Mcfarlane and some stuff with a few other artist that should be out this year. and just more shows in more places.
SXSW British Underground Jazz re: freshed showcase line-up:
8 PM – SARATHY KORWAR
9 PM – GOGO PENGUIN
10 PM – NATIVE DANCER
11 PM – UNITED VIBRATIONS
MIDNIGHT – MOSES BOYD EXODUS
1 AM – YUSSEF KAMAAL (Featuring Shabaka Hutchings)
Sarathy Korwar and GoGo Penguin are presented by digital platform Jazz Standard