Apart from its central Soho location (just up the road from Ronnie Scott's) and its reputation for prestige and exciting food, Terence Conran's mega café Mezzo has also being bolting on some class jazz to its weekday line-ups for a while now. And although neither the club nor the regular clientele are as committed to the music as the fans who have made Soho's Pizza Express, Kettners (and Ronnies itself) into London jazz meccas, there's no getting around the fact that that Mezzo's association with jazz bookers Timewarp and sponsor Campari is as potent a hook-up as the that powering the tobacco-sponsored French jazz-to-blues label Gitanes. All the artists on A New Generation - with the exception of New Yorkers' the Holland Tunnel Project - are part of the new wave of British "call it what you will": jazz, urban jazz, contemporary jazz, jazz funk, whatever. And because the British jazz market is limited in scale and always fueled by crossover to funk, dance and pop rather than M! OR, there's no chance of the deadly smooth jazz miasma coating these grooves in candy floss. Six acts, two choons each, and the same seamless, uplifting grooves that made Jazz-FM's Listen In Colour such a succes. And what's even sweeter is that most of these tracks are white labels at best to date, and represent the hippetty-hoppitty, r'n'b-soaked future of UK jazz funk rather than the past. If the seventies heroes like the Crusaders, Jay McShann, or Donny Hathaway ever twanged your elastic, dip into this mid-price gem and be prepare to be simultaneously lifted and separated by rowdy rhythms lushly played.
The Sentinels - Casino & Diablo / President Bongo - Delicate & This Is Now / Que Pasa - Glass Blower & Happy Hour / Holland Tunnel Project - Mars & Rescue / Groove Connection - What It Is & Chill Out Forever