The first jazz record was cut in 1917, a single by the Original Dixieland Jass Band that sanitised the music of New Orleans to make New York dance. A century on, that sound has morphed into innumerable shapes, created new genres in its own image then been inspired by them in return.
It seems strange to describe a 100-year-old music as having a 'moment', but after a few decades languishing in smoky clubs, jazz is back in the mainstream, sampled by the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Thundercat, and melding with grime, funk, house and spoken word to create a whole new spin on the sound. "I hope that once the buzz reaches an inevitable peak, it settles into our everyday peripheral vision, rather than being this kind of 'other'," says Tina Edwards, founder of Jazz Standard. On 15 March, she descends on SXSW Festival with a gang of British artists who are pushing jazz in new directions. "Genre-labelling is getting more tired and problematic. Artists are frustrated by having to categorise their music, and fans should follow suit. I hope this movements inspires people not to think 'jazz' or 'garage' or 'hiphop'. Just think good music."
As well as a nighttime event featuring GoGo Penguin and Ninja Tune’s Sarathy Korwar, Edwards hosts a panel talk on Jazz's future, featuring Grammy-nominated artist Christian Scott and double Grammy award winner Jacob Collier. "This generation of musicians are pretty much the first who are old enough to have studied an instrument in detail, and young enough to have been affected by Youtube, streaming and file sharing," she says. "They've tucked into the infinite fruits of the internet. It's also no coincidence that half of the stage artists are associated with Peckham; Moses Boyd, United Vibrations, Yussef Kamaal. Music scenes are essentially born from groups of friends who inspire each other. British musicians in their twenties have grown up with garage and drum & bass; you can especially hear that in Yussef Kamaal's album Black Focus."
Ahead of the showcase, Edwards picks the 10 jazz artists to know right now.
Yussef Kamaal – Black Focus
Drummer Yussef Dayes and pianist Kamaal Williams are at the epicentre of the emerging scene in the UK, which is Peckham-centric. Garage and grime seep into what these guys do.
Moses Boyd Exodus – Rye Lane Shuffle
Drummer Moses Boyd, one half of MOBO award-winning Moses and Binker, is a powerhouse. He's been heralded as this generation's Art Blakey, but with a spin on electronics.
GoGo Penguin – Hopopono
One of the most breathtaking live acts you'll see from the UK; fans of The Cinematic Orchestra and Bonobo take note. We're taking GoGo Penguin to SXSW to headline the British Underground and Jazz re:freshed stage on March 15.
United Vibrations – Grow
Earthy groove and shuffling rhythms; United Vibrations have something of a cult following in the UK. We're excited to see how an American audience reacts to these guys.
Native Dancer – Love
This will be the band that have people throwing some moves. They haven't even released an album yet but have a loyal following. Native Dancer are just about to release some remixes by DJ Eric Lau.
Christian Scott – Of A New Cool
From his latest album Stretch Music, Of A New Cool is literal in every sense of the word. He's just about to release three EPs inspired by the centenary with jazz that have an emphasis on drum tracks and beats. He released his app Stretch Music in 2015 and will be talking on our 'Jazz in the Digital Age' panel.
Sarathy Korwar – Mawra (Transendence)
One of the most innovative percussionists and producers in the UK. Born in the States, raised in India and based in London, Sarathy is celebrated by Gilles Peterson (and us at Jazz Standard) as a genre-breaking artist. His upcoming album features artists from India's underground hiphop community.
Jacob Collier – Close To You
Discovered on Youtube by Quincy Jones, Jacob Collier is a multi-instrumentalist whose first ever gig was supporting the ledgendary Herbie Hancock. Some of his harmonic arrangements of classic tracks have broken the internet.
Talib Kweli ft Norah Jones – Soon the New Day
Talib Kweli's Soon The New Day is addictive listening, smoothened by Norah Jones' whispy vocals. He's part of the only other jazz related panel at this year's SXSW, The Jazz of the Music Biz.
Braxton Cook – Somewhere In Between
The vocalist and saxophonist releases his debut album in April. Having come through Christian Scott's touring band, he's developed something fresh out of Harlem. Fun to follow on Instagram.