Joe Armon-Jones – Starting Today (2018) [FLAC 24bit/44,1kHz]

Joe Armon-Jones – Starting Today (2018)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz  | Time – 46:41 minutes | 509 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Brownswood Recordings

2018 debut album, by prodigious keys player, composer and producer Joe Armon-Jones, is buoyant, celebratory and welcoming. With a background in jazz, he draws from influences in dub, hip-hop and soul. Different traditions are infused and commingled together. Soulful brass arrangements are colored with carefully-tuned atmospherics; individual flashes of brilliance are bound into the album’s bigger picture. He’s part of London’s young, jazz-influenced music scene. Drawn from that same close-knit circle, the album features the likes of Moses Boyd, Nubya Garcia and Oscar Jerome. It’s playing with those – along with Ezra Collective, which he co-founded, and touring with the likes of Ata Kak and Pharoahe Monch – which has honed his playing and grown his ideas. It’s made for a record with an unmistakable depth. He draws on deep musical understanding, making music which is warm and has a feeling of joy. A document of his vision for bringing together his different influences, it’s also a testament to hard-earned, head-turning musical virtuosity.

A madman savant of the keyboards, who knows his Herbie Hancock like the back of his hand, Joe Armon-Jones offers yet more proof of the rude state of health of the British jazz scene. Previously published in the compilation We Out Here (a Qobuzissime record!) which came out on Gilles Peterson’s label Brownswood Recordings in February 2018, this co-founder of Ezra Collective has now brought out his first record as a bandleader. Like his spiritual siblings who come from the same scene, Armon-Jones was brought up on a thousand different sounds. So this is jazz: but fusion too, and club music, afrobeat, hip hop, neo-soul, acid jazz, dub and funk, all rolled up in his Starting Today which also features artists like Nubya Garcia, Moses Boyd, Ras Asheber, Oscar Jerome, Big Sharer, Kwake Bass… Never deeply jazz in the classical sense, this record holds echoes of the late Seventies and early Eighties, when soul and funk infiltrated the genre, for better and for worse. Old-timers will think of Roy Ayers, Bernard Wright, Ramsey Lewis, Ronnie Laws, Ronnie Foster, the Blackbirds, the Headhunters, Alphonse Mouzon and a few others. But Joe Joe Armon-Jones never loses sight of the fact that he’s living in 2018 and not 1978, and he points this out from time to time, which means that his album remains free of any whiff of formaldehyde, and retains a sense of fun, as a furious and groovy bout of channel-surfing. – Marc Zisman

1. Starting Today (feat. Asheber) 09:03
2. Almost Went Too Far 06:24
3. Mollison Dub 10:15
4. London’s Face (feat. Oscar Jerome) 09:48
5. Ragify (feat. Big Sharer) 09:48
6. Outro (Fornow) 01:23

Armon-Jones: Wurlitzer (tracks 1-5), piano (track 6), vocals (track 2); Nubya Garcia: tenor saxophone (tracks 1, 3-5); James Mollison: tenor saxophone (tracks 3-5); Dylan Jones: trumpet (tracks 1, 3-5); Oscar Jerome: guitar (tracks 2-6), vocals (track 4); David Mrakpor: bass (tracks 2, 3, 5, 6); Mutale Chashi: bass (tracks 1, 4); Moses Boyd: drums; Kwake Bass: drums (tracks 1, 4); Maxwell Owin: effects (tracks 4, 6); Asheber: vocals (track 1); Ego Ella May: vocals (tracks 2, 5, 6); Big Sharer: vocals (tracks 5, 6).



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