SXSW Music Jazz Sampler

Psychedelic, post-bop, Latin-inflected, and more: 11 jazz artists

Moses Boyd (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Moses Boyd – Solo X

Wed. 14, the Main II, 8pm

London drummer Moses Boyd wowed improvisational music fans during SXSW's UK jazz showcase last year behind a spectacular set fronting his group Exodus. He returns with grooving psychedelic jazz/electronica hybrid Solo X, hot on the heels of self-released EP Absolute Zero.

Ashley Henry Trio

Wed. 14, the Main II, 9pm

From a generation of British musicians bred on hip-hop and R&B as much as jazz, twentysomething London pianist Ashley Henry channels his muse into melodic post-bop that swings with soul. New EP Easter finds his Trio morphed into RE: Ensemble, augmented by guest vocalists and Art Blakey saxophonist Jean Toussaint.

Leni Stern

Wed. 14, Russian House, 9pm

This guitarist's career encompasses jazz fusion, a distinctive take on singer-songwriterdom, and more experimentation. The Munich-born New Yorker who married guitarist Mike Stern currently combines all previous interests with rhythms performed by master Senegalese musicians on her most recent album, 2016's Dakar Suite.

Nubya Garcia

Wed. 14, the Main II, 10pm

One foot in post-bop and the other in funky electronica, saxophonist Nubya Garcia – who also works with fellow showcaser Moses Boyd – gives swinging London a new meaning. Dance-floor-ready, her new EP When We Are doesn't stint on fiery improv.

Zara McFarlane

Wed. 14, the Main II, 11pm

UK singer Zara McFarlane brings jazz phrasing to reggae and R&B, a combination that's swept various UK jazz awards since her 2010 debut. Third album Arise was produced by fellow London jazz maverick Moses Boyd and features Ezra Collective drummer Femi Koleoso and pianist Joe Armon-Jones.

Ezra Collective

Wed. 14, the Main II, 12mid

Ezra Collective represents the face of young English improvisers. Influenced by Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, and J Dilla, they're still instantly recognizable as jazz. The London quintet's sold-out 2017 EP Juan Pablo: The Philosopher won Best Jazz Album at the esteemed Gilles Peterson Awards in January.

Graham Reynolds & the Golden Arm Trio

Thu. 15, Elephant Room, 10pm

Seven years have passed since Reynolds released Duke! Three Portraits of Ellington. That's what happens when one's too busy scoring Richard Linklater films, as well as plays, ballets, and any other public performance you could possibly imagine.

Pedro Menendez Fusion Ensemble

Fri. 16, Elephant Room, 9pm

Pedro Menendez remains the vanguard of Argentina's jazz scene for 30 years now. Famed at home for chamber works, the Buenos Aires composer, multi-instrumentalist, and label owner is prepping the ambitious Voyage Through Latin America, a polyrhythmic tour de force paying tribute to his region's unique musical perspective.


Fri. 16, Elephant Room, 1am

This São Paulo septet led by keyboardist/composer Gabriel Nóbrega puts a fresh spin on traditional melodies and rhythms with crack improvisation. Last year's debut album O Raio lays out the group's philosophy on serious grooves.

Vanilla Summit

Sat. 17, Elephant Room, 9pm

Richmond, Va., isn't known as a hotbed of jazz, but on last year's self-titled debut, young quintet Vanilla Summit blends instrumental acumen with Latin and worldbeat rhythms.

Chichiro Yamazaki + Route14 Band

Sat. 17, Elephant Room, 1am

Now something of a SXSW tradition, Tokyo trumpeter Chichiro Yamazaki and her backing trio have brought her catchy pop/jazz to the festival every year since 2013. The group's self-described "Singing Instruments" sound pleases crowds like Herb Alpert in his prime, as heard on her 2017 album Sweet Thing.

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SXSW 2018, Moses Boyd – Solo X, Ashley Henry Trio, Leni Stern, Nubya Garcia, Zara McFarlane, Ezra Collective, Graham Reynolds & the Golden Arm Trio, Pedro Menendez Fusion Ensemble, Silibrina, Vanilla Summit, Chichiro Yamazaki + Route14 Band, SXSW Music 2018

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