Photo by Vojta Dvrocek
Whether you’ve seen him in Ezra Collective or featuring alongside other breakthrough neo-jazz artists like Mr Jukes. Pianist Joe Armon-Jones is no stranger to the rising wave of jazz. That wave finally crashed onto the coastline of Brighton on a misty October evening.
Upstairs in Patterns, the buzz of red-hot poker lights dawned over the smoke machine’s ghostly essence imitating that of a New Orleans bar; except hands of cards were replaced with hands of lovers both old and young glowing under the subtly luminous light.
Between the dreadlocks, and beards the crowd stretched across the landscape of Patterns – gathered just to hear the diverse infusion of sounds that Armon-Jones and his band were ready to share.
Forming the key components to Joe’s band was saxophonist and long-term collaborator, Nubya Garcia, who is an up and coming artist in the jazz realm. Along with Afrikan Revolution’s Asheber providing vocals for the second and fifth tracks on the set list.
Independent local label Mr Bongo hosted this event as the first night of his European tour, needless to say, it was a great kick-start. Performing tracks from their six-song album, ‘Starting Today’ they opened with ‘Almost Went Too Far’ setting mellow memories of a lazy day in the Summer. Then they went deep into the reggae influences of ‘Mollison Dub’ before moving into a dynamic version of ‘London’s Face’ which originally features Oscar Jerome.
This blend of lo-fi intertwined with jazz creates something so unique – even better when performed live as you can grip and feel every single note. The brass and drum break particularly a such a diverse mixture of culture and sounds; like intimately travelling the world from New Orleans, to Cuba to North Africa.
The night was rounded up by Joe’s strong London accent announcing the last song ‘Starting Today’ perfectly fitting for the next progression of the tour. A spike of energy burst through the room, when this song started, as everyone who was seated got up to dance whether it was a two-step or a head-bop the room was fully alive and moving.
This was the first of many jazz nights to come to Patterns. At the following sold-out event, on 14th November, Joe will be back with Ezra Collective. It’s amazing to see the rising jazz movements in Sussex breaking into the city and more performances like this will be an exciting touch to the music scene on the south coast.