SXSW Music: Must-See Jazz

Jazz imperatives

Native Dancer

Sarathy Korwar

Wed. 15, the Main II, 8pm; Fri. 17, Palm Door on Sixth, 8pm
Born domestically but based in London, drummer/producer Korwar brings years of training in classical Indian music to the jazz field. His blend of electronics and Siddi traditions comes to fruition on debut Day to Day.

GoGo Penguin

Wed. 15, the Main II, 9pm; Thu. 16, St. David's Historic Sanctuary, 11pm
Manchester trio GGP composes electronic music using computers, but then translates it to the traditional piano trio format. The Mercury Prize-nominated band's "acoustic electronica" made its Blue Note debut on last year's Man Made Object and features again on the Live at Abbey Road EP.

Native Dancer

Wed. 15, the Main II, 10pm
London multi-instrumental quintet delivers an infectious melange of jazz, soul, and trip-hop. A pair of EPs and a debut album showcasing its vibrant fusion arrive later this year.

United Vibrations

Wed. 15, the Main II, 11pm; Thu. 16, Flamingo Cantina, 10pm
Based physically in London but spiritually all over the world, United Vibrations' omnivorous sound takes in elements of jazz, African music, dub, and pop on its sophomore album, The Myth of the Golden Ratio.

Moses Boyd Exodus

Wed. 15, the Main II, 12mid; Thu. 16, Elephant Room, 11pm
Also one half of duo Binker & Moses, drummer Boyd has feet in both jazz and electronica/pop production, but it's the former that feeds Exodus' groovy improvisation. A second album arrives later this year.


Thu. 16, Elephant Room, 10pm
Blending jazz and Central African grooves, Montreal's Jazzamboka, which is a portmanteau of jazz and the Congolese word for village, reveals affections for hip-hop, electronica, soukous, and funk on the band's self-titled 2016 debut.

Free Radicals

Thu. 16, Elephant Room, 12mid
Houston's politically charged jazz funk army just passed its 20th anniversary. Two new albums of Afro-Latin booty-shaking party jams, one a collaboration with hip-hop MCs, await release.

Marcus Strickland's "Twi-Life"

Thu. 16, Elephant Room, 1am
Since his 2001 debut, sax master and Miami native Marcus Strickland has played with everyone from Dave Douglas to Roy Haynes. His own groove-positive post-bop burns improvisatory fire, as heard on Nihil Novi, his eighth LP and Blue Note bow.

B.J. Jansen

Fri. 17, Elephant Room, 1am
Born in Cincinnati and based in Philadelphia, Jansen brings the oft-overlooked baritone saxophone back to prominence with the straightforward jazz found on his second LP, 2014's Ronin.

Annie Booth Trio

Sat. 18, Elephant Room, 11pm
Denver's Booth tickles the ivories in ways that draw as much on classical and pop melodies as traditional piano jazz. After two studio LPs, her Trio unveils live EP Abundance just in time for SXSW.

Chantae Cann

Sat. 18, Elephant Room, 1am
C.C.'s breathy singing has featured in backgrounds for India.Arie, among others. Last year's debut LP Journey to Golden reached No. 7 on Billboard's jazz chart and features a collaboration with Grammy winners Snarky Puppy.

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at Sign up for our South-by-specific newsletter at for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest Tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

More SXSW Music 2017
Playback – SXSW Recap: Love, Hate, Garth & Trump
Playback – SXSW Recap: Love, Hate, Garth & Trump
Final love / hate SXSW listicles

Kevin Curtin, March 24, 2017

Americana 12-Pack
Americana 12-Pack

Doug Freeman, March 17, 2017

More by Michael Toland
Sound on Sound Review: Japandroids
SOS Review: Japandroids
Anthem after anthem after anthem

Nov. 12, 2017

Texas Platters
Ingebrigt Håker Flaten’s Time Machine
Hong Kong Cab (Record Review)

Oct. 27, 2017


SXSW Music 2017

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)