A London Dance:
short-film on new Movements In Jazz

South of the River, in the three-mile stretch that connects Peckham, New Cross, Lewisham and Deptford musical history is being written on the daily.

A youth-driven movement, helmed by a collective of singers, poets and producers, have been drawing inspiration from Grime, Broken Beat, Dancehall and Garage to recontextualise and reconceptualise one of the greatest human inventions of the 20th century: Jazz.

“It would be unfair to say that it is unanimously from South London, but the majority of the players in this scene, are people that have grown with each other, and known each other for years.” – Experimental Film director, producer and Spokenword artist Hector Aponysus comments at the beginning of our convo. – “There used to be this event called Steez. A lot of those artists had their first opportunity through that event. There’s the Royal Albert [pub] too. Jools Holland used to play there.”

“The most important thing for me and the artists is about not pushing it as pure jazz.”

The Steez scene, championed by Luke Newman, offered the unique opportunity to unite this collective, providing fruitfully creative for musical experimentation. It was the starting point of [now] known players in the British musical landscape, such as King Krule, Black Mack and Cosmo Pyke.

“The most important thing for me and the artists is about not pushing it as pure jazz. They all have the sounds of the music that these people grew up listening to, and that they appreciated.” – Hector reemphasises.

To document this moment in time, and how the uniqueness of the area nurtured its musicians, Hector has cast and directed a new short film ‘A London Dance – New Movements In Jazz.’

Shot at a low frame rate to reflect the authentic and dissonant nature of the scene, over its six minutes, you can hear insightful commentary regarding its essence narrated by eight of its most preeminent figures: two members of the five-piece jazz-fluid band, the Ezra Collective, Kamaal Williams, Maxwell Owin, Wu-Lu, Theon Cross, Poppy Ajudha and Joe Armon-Jones

Femi Koleoso, Ezra Collective drummer comments on how the energetic moshpits from Grime collective Boy Better Know inspired him to make new music. Kamaal Williams, Peckham Native and Black Focus Label owner, comments on how his search for new music led him to subvert what jazz is in a completely different way, never creating the same sound twice. Neo-jazz-soul songstress, Poppy Ajudha, shares how her music is less about the separation between the player and the instrument, and how the emotive core foundation of jazz is conveyed in her music.

That’s enough spoilers. You can stream ‘A London Dance – New Movements In Jazz’ in collaboration with Farah, below.

Words by Catarina Ramalho

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