The Austin Chronicle

13 Jazz Acts to Help You Keep Cool at SXSW

By Michael Toland, March 15, 2019, Music


Wed. 13, the Main II, 9pm; Thu. 14, Edwin’s, 9pm
Nérija boasts a pair of Jazz Re:freshed stars: trombonist Rosie Turton and rising sax star Nubya Garcia, who killed it at the label's SXSW showcase last year. There's more to the London septet than being a mere JR adjunct, however. The four-horn front line and guitarist Shirley Tetteh create an ultramelodic riff machine over frisky, post-bop grooves. Recent Domino signees, they'll soon reissue their 2016 debut EP.

The Comet Is Coming

Wed. 13, St. David’s Historic Sanctuary, 10:10pm; Thu. 14, Empire Garage, 9:45pm; Fri. 15, British Music Embassy @ Latitude 30, 12mid
Another project from British sax god "King" Shabaka Hutchings (Sons of Kemet, Shabaka & the Ancestors), TCIC combines its leader's mighty improv chops with Danalogue's spacey synthesizers and Betamax's house-inflected drums. A brilliant trip through Afrofuturistic jazztronica, Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery debuts on legendary jazz label Impulse! two days after the trio's initial SXSW appearance.

Sarah Tandy

Wed. 13, the Main II, 11pm; Fri. 15, Elephant Room, 12mid
London composer Sarah Tandy respects tradition enough to lead a classic quintet lineup – bass, drums, sax, trumpet, and her own keyboards – but she's no conservative throwback. Taking cues from the vibrant UK jazz scene, she folds funk and electronica into her post-bop without any obvious crossover moves, like Horace Silver in the 21st century. Debut album Infection in the Sentence, featuring Ezra Collective's Femi Koleoso on drums, arrives imminently.

Yussef Dayes

Wed. 13, the Main II, 12mid
The victim two SXSWs ago of Trump policies against anyone with a Middle Eastern name, drummer Yussef Dayes finally gets his chance to dance in Austin. The soulful fusion found on the Londoner's "Love Is the Answer" single paves the way for his forthcoming debut LP.

Bixiga 70

Thu. 14, Flamingo Cantina, 12mid; Sat. 16, Lucille, 11pm
Brazilian music retains deep roots in Africa, a precedent exploited by São Paulo nonet Bixiga 70 on last year's sophomore LP, Quebra Cabeça. Jazzy horns soar over danceable grooves and a battery of Afro-Brazilian percussion as the nearly decade-old band calls up the spirits and makes them shiver.

New Natives Brass Band

Fri. 15, Antone’s, 8pm
Although this large ensemble hails from Lafayette, it nails New Orleans brass band styles as sharply as any Big Easy native. Jazz, funk, and marching band heroics meet at the second line and stomp 'til the clouds part and the demons get chased away.

RADS Krusaders

Fri. 15, Elephant Room, 9pm
Veteran jazz/R&B fusion act the Crusaders no longer treads the boards, but if you're still thirsty for that sound, Crusaders co-founder Joe Sample has you covered. Though he doesn't perform with them, the Houston keyboardist personally hand-picked the members of RADS Krusaders to keep the spirit of his old band's sound alive. And that the quintet does on last year's debut, Going Way Back Home.

Jeff Lofton

Fri. 15, Elephant Room, 11pm
Trumpeter Jeff Lofton never met a jazz flavor he didn't like: cool Miles Davis, post-swing Clifford Brown, Latin bebop Dizzy Gillespie, funky proto-fusion Freddie Hubbard. Last LP still 2009's Jazz to the People, the Austinite's 2018 cover of "What Is This Thing Called Love" kept home fires aglow.


Ronnie Coleman Jr. & Merlot Music

Thu. 14, Elephant Room, 1am
Houston multi-instrumentalist locates the sweet spot between jazz and funk and lays it down smooth.

Graham Reynolds & Golden Arm Trio

Fri. 15, Elephant Room, 10pm
Veteran Austin jazz sage takes time out from composing soundtracks for Richard Linklater.

Jazzrausch Bigband

Fri. 15, Elephant Room, 1am
Unique blend of brass-band jazz and club-ready techno from Munich.

Zack Varner

Sat. 16, Elephant Room, 8pm
Seasoned Austin saxist made his bandleader debut last year with Blues in the Nude.

Tarik Hassan

Sat. 16, Elephant Room, 11pm
Middle Eastern melodies meet American jazz in this Austin bassist's swinging aesthetic.

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