Grange Hotel’s UK Jazz Act of the Year
Manchester based trumpeter, composer, arranger and band-leader Matthew Halsall is one of the rising stars of the UK jazz scene. His albums have won him a legion of fans across the world and acclaim from the likes of Gilles Peterson, Jamie Cullum, Mr Scruff, Radio 3's Late Junction, BBC Music Magazine and BBC 6 Music. 'On The Go' was winner of best jazz LP at Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards 2011. Halsall’s first collaboration with the Gondwana Orchestra in 2014, “When the World Was One” was named ‘Jazz Album of the Year’ by Itunes and was a project that eloquently blended the poetry of Alice Coltrane and the jazz intensity of her husband, John, with sounds from Japan and the east. His latest album “Into Forever” is another collaboration with the Gondwana Orchestra and is a gorgeous journey guided by exquisitely composed music arranged by Halsall himself. It is a calm and beautiful record that highlights Halsall’s willingness to step back from the stage in order to fulfil the image of the music that he hears in his head showing a complete lack of an ego despite him wielding an incredible talent as a trumpeter.
MOBO Award winners, Sons Of Kemet are born of many vital elements – including a name that nods to ancient Egyptian culture, and a line-up that comprises some of the most progressive 21st-century talents in British jazz and beyond. ‘BBC New Generation Artist’, Shabaka Hutchings is band-leader, composer as well as sax and clarinet don, bringing together his fiery vision alongside London-based bandmates Tom Skinner and Seb Rochford and latest addition and fellow Jazz FM Award nominee, tubist Theon Cross.
These collaborative players have previously won major praise in celebrated acts such as Polar Bear, Hello Skinny, Melt Yourself Down, Mulatu Astatke and the Heliocentrics and Sun Ra’s Arkestra. Yet there’s still nothing quite like the ‘supergroup’ sound of Sons Of Kemet: eloquent, fierce, explosively funky – and thrillingly out-there. Hailing from the murky world of the London post-jazz scene with a distinctive street music feel, the group bears influence from the dynamic vibe of New Orleans music to the percussive intricacy of West African drum music with some Caribbean dub flavours thrown in for good measure. Their newest album “Lest We Forget What We Came Here To Do” balances ritualistic sparseness, conversational clamour and unpredictable jazz looseness in a brilliant array of tracks. With a powerful live performance, Sons of Kemet are a fantastic group of highly talented players and performers.
Binker and Moses are tenor saxophonist Binker Golding and drummer Moses Boyd - two of the most exciting young jazz musicians on the thriving London jazz scene. Originally meeting through double bassist/educator Gary Crosby’s ‘Tomorrow’s Warriors’ jazz development programme, they have played together in various large and small format groups including recording and touring extensively as members of Zara McFarlane’s band. Their debut album ‘Dem Ones’ has its roots in experiments between soundchecks and gigs while on the road with McFarlane. Over time these initial ideas and jams have become templates for improvisation, and with their echoes of late period Coltrane and Charles Lloyd, are as listenable and memorable as they are full of invention, passion and surprise. This album has certainly set them in place to be one of the most exciting new pairings of the year and has led to them being aptly rewarded with ‘Best Jazz Act’ at the MOBO awards in October of 2015.