There are really some exciting things going on in contemporary British jazz right now… Jazz that goes a long way to defying its own definition as jazz perhaps. Jazz that takes as much from electronic, rock, punk, metal, ambient music, all other kinds of music essentially, as it does from its own direct heritage. A level of improvisation, and the instrumental factor, still make it jazz… But: no introspection. NO SELF INDULGENCE! Just great music, that is seeding itself slowly into the wider conciousness of British jazz.
This week, someone by the name of robjam responded to the ‘live blogged‘ view of the Guardian’s online blogger, Tim Jonze, of the Mercury Music Prize, for which Roller Trio were nominated, in the midsts of the awards ceremony as such:
Guardian: Only Plan B and Jessie Ware stand out as having made music that sounds like it could possibly have been recorded after the Watergate scandal
robjam: Oh dear.
You clearly know nothing about jazz in general, or Roller Trio in particular.
It’s a good album – not quite a great album – but it could only have been made in the last 2 or 3 years (you would know this if you knew anything at all about contemporary jazz). It belongs to a movement which features bands such as TrioVD & Troyka which is absolutely contemporary, growing out of the work of bands like Polar Bear & Acoustic Ladyland from 6 or 7 years ago, & further propelled by outfits such as Led Bib & Get the Blessing from 3 or 4 years ago.
But, basically, you’re just not interested enough to make the effort to find out more about this music. Much easier to trot out the usual cliches about “token” bands on the shortlist, & retreat hastily to your comfort zone.
Ok, so that’s partially standard newspaper comments thread rant fodder… a little stroppy, anyway. But it was also the first real acknowledgement I had seen of this new trend that has rather taken me over recently, as ABNQ has taken shape. And ‘robjam’ gave a brief history if its c. 7 year development in three sets of bands: Polar Bear/Acoustic Ladyland to Led Bib/Get The Blessing, and more recently TrioVD/Troyka. There’s big differences between all of these acts (even if some of the personnel crosses over significantly. There’s definitely something going on there, that we, ABNQ, are determined to be part of in our own way. Hopefully over time I can draw more specific attention to some of these new acts, in the hope that others will do the same for us.