SXSW Music Review: Jazz Re:Freshed Showcase

Ezra Collective grounds another all-star UK jazz convergence

Another thrilling Jazz Re:Freshed showcase of young Londoners followed in the footsteps of two previous SXSW showcases on Wednesday at the old Emo’s, now the Main. And as happened in 2017, drummer Yussef Dayes was denied Stateside entry. Not anyone’s fault except the current U.S. administration, but still a disappointment.

Ezra Collective (Photo by David Brendan Hall)

After DJ duo Violet Sound spun for an hour, Sarah Tandy hit the stage in support of her debut album Infection in the Sentence. Fronting a quintet that included Ezra Collective drummer Femi Koleoso and saxophonist James Mollison, the young pianist occasionally struggled with the electric piano tones of her Nord Electro 5, but that didn’t keep the audience from marveling at her speed-demon improvisations.

Up next, EC keyboardist Joe Armon-Jones retained Mollison, trumpeter Sheila Maurice-Grey, and bassist Mutali Chashi, adding 2018 showcase breakout Nubya Garcia on additional sax. Back-burning his main band’s Afrobeat in favor of dub reggae and adding guest vocalists, including young songsmith Oscar Jerome, the frizzy-haired keyboardist established a solo musical identity.

Garcia and Maurice-Grey stayed onstage for Nerija, a supergroup of JRF stars, including Rosie Turton (trombone), Seed Ensemble’s Cassie Kinoshi (sax), and Shirley Tetteh (guitar). The septet’s lively post-bop featured dashes of funky fusion. Afterward, Jerome subbed for the absent Dayes, his mildly funky jazz-pop sounding out of place. Maurice-Grey guested on one song, making it her fourth set in a row.

Jerome served as an appropriate palette cleanser for headliner Ezra Collective, who once again blew the doors off with relentless Afrobeat grooves and burning solos. Splitting their set evenly between songs from debut EP Juan Pablo the Philosopher and upcoming full-length You Can’t Steal My Joy, the quintet left the packed house exhausted and sated.


Ezra Collective

Wednesday, March 13, 1am, The Main II

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw. Sign up for our South By-specific newsletter at austinchronicle.com/newsletters for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
Gun-Filled Weekend Prompts APD Action
Gun-Filled Weekend Prompts APD Action
Spring fest unrest

Mike Clark-Madison, March 22, 2019

Faster Than Sound: What Sparked Joy at SXSW Music
Faster Than Sound: What Sparked Joy at SXSW Music
Marie Kondo-ing my Festival experience, with scooters and shooters in the giveaway pile

Rachel Rascoe, March 22, 2019

More by Michael Toland
Texas Platters
Jon Lundbom & Big Five Chord
Harder On the Outside (Record Review)

March 22, 2019

SXSW Music Review: Swervedriver
SXSW Music Review: Swervedriver
Pulling the plug on the sweetest of crunches

March 16, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

SXSW 2019, SXSW Music 2019, Ezra Collective, Jazz Re:Freshed, Yussef Dayes, Violet Sound, Sarah Tandy, Joe Armon-Jones, Femi Koleoso, James Mollison, Nerija

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle