Jazz revival is being spearheaded by British people under 30

Written by on 18/08/2019

Young musicians are leading the revival of jazz music as streaming sites like Spotify report a growth in the number of people under 30 listening to the genre.


A key figure in this resurgence is Steam Down, a south London collective who are part of a new generation of artists breathing new life into jazz.

Steam Down founder Wayne Francis said: “A lot of musicians like us are breaking down the boundaries and making music out of the established ways of doing jazz.

“Most of the music is being born out of nightclubs and not jazz bars or concert halls and I think that is one of the main reasons why it has grown out of youth culture.”

The band’s achievements show there is a huge appetite for their music which fuses jazz with other genres.

They believe that many young artists are searching for music that’s more relevant to them now.

“I think perhaps why people are calling this a jazz revival is because its been birth in a new energy, where people can enjoy the music in different ways. We identify our music as futuristic,” says Nadeem Din-Gabisi.

So, what has made jazz so accessible to young people?

Its growth has been attributed to artists trying to reproduce the traditional sound of classical jazz, but they are not turning back the clock.

Writer and broadcaster Tej Adeleye said: “What we are seeing is a generation of artists who know all the standards and tradition but are putting their own stamp on jazz.

“They are incorporating it with music that they love whether that’s hip hop, grime, or afro-beats, its music of their own heritage and it’s really resonating with young audiences.”

YolanDa Brown, an award-winning saxophonist, predicts that the scene, whose roots lie in artists such as Miles Davis and Ella Fitzgerald, will continue to mutate.

She said: “You’re hearing dance inflections, even grime music inflections. A lot more syncopated rhythms and repetitive rhythms.

“People are up and jumping, dancing. The artists are sweating and jumping around as well. And it’s a wonderful atmosphere you can see people are really enjoying it.”

Like Steam Down other musicians within the jazz renaissance are not classically trained. They are doing it their own way, mixing in other sounds from the African and Caribbean diasporas.

Journalist and DJ Kate Hutchinson believes some musicians are contributing to what is now becoming a cultural movement. She said artists were resonating because they were relatable.

She added: “Lots of DJ’s are bringing jazz music into the clubs and young people are hearing it.

“People are also playing jazz tracks as part of their sets. For many jazz isn’t this scary thing that your dad might listen to anymore. It actually has a lot of gravitas and is sonically interesting.”

With the amount of jazz-inspired talent that is now emerging, the future looks bright for a sound that has been injected with an array of new energies.

(c) Sky News 2019: Jazz revival is being spearheaded by British people under 30

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