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Ezra Collective - Live @ Sala Shôko, Madrid (eng)

Ezra Collective - Live @ Sala Shôko, Madrid (eng)

Although the mainstream music media don´t usually dedicate much space or time to new wave jazz – an exception perhaps being names such as that of Kamasi Washington – the fact is that there is an increasing number of young bands that stand out as notable representatives of the genre, which is in turn evolving into an interesting music phenomenon gaining wider appeal. Ezra Collective are definitely among these bands, and we had the chance to enjoy them live on Thursday the 21st at Shôko, in downtown Madrid. The event was brought to us by the newly-created organization Estrecho Colectivo, which we thank for the invitation to cover the event, while we really look forward to the forthcoming musical surprises it has in store for us featuring emerging artists from both Spain and all over the world.

 

Producer and dj Sang a Bang took charge of opening the evening with a handful of really cool beats and a groovy attitude in a set that was just about right for setting the tone for the show.

 

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Photo by Leo Gusmao

 

About an hour later, the members of Ezra Collective showed up onstage and, from the very first minute, a wave of feel-good vibes took over the venue. Bearing a name with obvious biblical references, the London-based quintet delivers a simple and straightforward message: their music aims at offering joy, comforting and lots of dance!  A prescient message and a promise that Femi Koleoso and his gang kept to the letter. The recipe included equal doses of jaunty mood and dancing spree, and it was extremely effective.  

 

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Photo by Leo Gusmao

 

The setlist mainly consisted of compositions off their latest award-winning ΕΡ, "Juan Pablo Τhe Philosopher", while tracks from their previous studio work, "Chapter 7", were also performed. Musical influences which cover a vast range, from classical jazz all the way to the music of Fela Kuti and J Dilla, and which Ezra Collective weave together into their own personal sound.  Speaking of which, we cannot help but mention the rendering of the classic Space is the place, the band’s homage to emblematic jazz composer Sun Ra.

 

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Photo by Leo Gusmao

 

Torrential flows of afrobeat groove and virtuoso solos in constant succession, with short interludes for verbal communication with the audience – we find the word “verbal” to be a necessary specification, since, in fact, communication between the band and the audience never really stopped throughout the show. Femi Koleoso on the drums and Joe Armon-Jones on keyboard gifted us with moments of exhilaration; TJ Koleoso’s bass added a solid touch of funk, while the riveting dialogues between James Mollison’s tenor sax and Ife Ogunjobi’s trumpet were well tied together – although there were a couple of fleeting instants when their chemistry seemed slightly off. This might be due to the fact that Ogunjobi is not a permanent member of the band, but was filling in for trumpeter Dylan Jones.

 

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Photo by Leo Gusmao

 

All in all, both individual performances and the set as a whole were anything but a letdown, and we can be pretty sure that the gleeful feeling was mutual and absolutely contagious. As a young, talented, evolving band, Ezra Collective proved themselves as worthy upholders and renovators of the jazz tradition in today’s music scene and, by all indications, their artistic future seems bright and promising, both inside and outside the British borders.

 

Venue: Sala Shôko, Madrid

Date: 21.02.2019

Hosted by: Estrecho Colectivo

Photos by Leo Gusmao

Gallery on Facebook

 

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Photo by Leo Gusmao

 

ezra-collective-sala-shoko-madrid - 6

Photo by Leo Gusmao

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