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Musician

Denys Baptiste

Born:

Born in London of St Lucian parents in 1969, Denys studied music at school from the age of 13 and, in 1990, went on to study at the West London Institute (Brunel University). In 1992, he continued his music education at London’s Guildhall School of Music, studying under former Jazz Messenger, Jean Toussaint. From the moment he joined the London jazz circuit, Denys displayed extraordinary talent, energy and commitment. Spotted by veteran Jazz Warriors double bassist, Gary Crosby at the bassist’s regular Tomorrow’s Warriors jam sessions, Denys was immediately invited to join Crosby’s new band, Nu Troop

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Article: Profile

Beyond Afrobeat: Kokoroko's World of Black Music

Read "Beyond Afrobeat: Kokoroko's World of Black Music" reviewed by Peter Jones


London-based octet Kokoroko has been led by trumpeter-vocalist Sheila Maurice-Grey since she formed it in 2014 with percussionist Onome Edgeworth. The band's original idea was to update Afrobeat for a 21st century audience, inspired by the likes of Ebo Taylor, Tony Allen, and Fela Kuti. It was the extraordinary public reaction to their first release--a single ...

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Article: Album Review

James Kitchman: First Quartet

Read "First Quartet" reviewed by Chris May


In the pen portrait of London-based guitarist James Kitchman which is included on the website of his record label, Ubuntu Music, Kitchman singles out the five jazz musicians who have most inspired his playing. Four of them are saxophonists John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins and guitarists John Scofield and Bill Frisell--titans all, frequently cited as influences ...

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Article: Book Review

Giant Steps: Diverse Journeys in British Jazz

Read "Giant Steps: Diverse Journeys in British Jazz" reviewed by Chris May


Giant Steps: Diverse Journeys in British Jazz David Burke 240 Pages ISBN: 9781908755483 Desert Hearts 2021 David Burke's survey of British jazz musicians of colour does not begin promisingly. The first sentence of his Foreword reads: “Jazz is, of course, African-American in provenance, just as the greatest ...

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News: Book / Magazine

Giant Steps: Diverse Journeys in British Jazz

Giant Steps: Diverse Journeys in British Jazz

Giant Steps: Diversity Journeys in British Jazz features conversations with many of the artists who have engineered the cultural transformation of British jazz over the past four decades. A new wave of the genre emerged in the 1980s, spearheaded by the Jazz Warriors, a collective of black musicians which launched the careers of bassist Gary Crosby, ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Lift Every Voice And Sing: Twenty #BlackLives Albums That Matter

Read "Lift Every Voice And Sing: Twenty #BlackLives Albums That Matter" reviewed by Chris May


Jazz has been inextricably linked with social and political protest since at least the late 1930s, when Billie Holiday made famous the leftist songwriter and poet Abel Meeropol's “Strange Fruit." The song, which has a power to move that is undiminished by familiarity, likens the bodies of lynched African Americans to fruit hanging in trees.

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Article: Interview

Denys Baptiste: Pathfinder For The New London Jazz

Read "Denys Baptiste: Pathfinder For The New London Jazz" reviewed by Chris May


Bandleader, composer and educator Denys Baptiste is among the generation of musicians, many of them of Caribbean or African heritage, who pointed the way for the younger players who have emerged on the London jazz scene since around 2015. Baptiste's contemporaries include saxophonists Jason Yarde, Soweto Kinch, Steve Williamson and Courtney Pine, and trumpeter Byron Wallen, ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

New Jazz From London: Top 20 Paradigm Shifting Albums

Read "New Jazz From London: Top 20 Paradigm Shifting Albums" reviewed by Chris May


After a lifetime trying to get on an equal footing with its American parent, British jazz has finally come of age. Since around 2015, a community of young, London-based musicians has forged a style which, while anchored in the American tradition, reflects the Caribbean and African cultural heritages of many of its vanguard players. The scene ...

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Article: Album Review

Dinosaur: To The Earth

Read "To The Earth" reviewed by Chris May


Britain's Edition label has remained independent of London's post-2015 alternative jazz scene, whose aesthetic is formed in part by the emphases of identity politics and which now, in 2020, has gone overground with the signing of three bands led by movement auteur Shabaka Hutchings to Impulse! in the US. Edition, which was founded in 2008 by ...

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Article: Album Review

Wildflower: Season 2

Read "Season 2" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


On paper, the UK trios Wildflower and Ill Considered bear an obvious resemblance. Each features the outstanding reed player Idris Rahman and bassist Leon Brichard, and both groups are groove-oriented progressive jazz. Wildflower is the slightly more melody-driven and the less raw of the two bands, with intricate improvisations interwoven throughout. Season 2 sees Rahman altering ...


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