The British jazz scene is going through an extremely vibrant period right now. As 2019 draws to a close, there have been more new releases by British acts than for some time, facilitated by record labels like Whirlwind and Ubuntu who have contributed significantly to this trend over the last few years.
One artist to come to the fore is pianist / keyboardist Rebecca Nash and her group Atlas who released her debut CD in July entitled Peaceful King on Whirlwind records. Peaceful King straddles many musical forms focusing mainly on jazz with a sprinkling of new age and electronica; an extremely mature and ethereal offering for a debut. Rebecca recently embarked on a UK wide tour to promote Peaceful King and I was fortunate to catch her album launch at the Seabright Arms in East London in the tail end of November.
The Seabright Arms is an interesting venue; although a pub upstairs there is a vibrant music venue downstairs in the basement, with a layout that can only be described as a mini version of the 02 Academy in Islington, not what you would expect hidden below a typical looking pub! There is no seating, well there wasn’t for this gig, so you have to stand the whole way through, or dance if that is your wont. This layout is In keeping with a venue perhaps more suited to rock and other forms of popular music. And similar to a rock venue, there was a support act first up called the Nick Walters quartet, led by trumpet player Nick Walters, who also joined Atlas and played in the main performance of the night.
The gig featured tracks from Rebecca’s album, starting off with the title track which has an “ECM” feel, combining jazz with electronics, Sarah Colman provided vocals on Hotwired and Grace, whilst Dreamer contained a haunting trumpet solo by Nick Walters. There was a vibrant and attentive audience including many big figures on the scene, which indicates the esteem in which Rebecca Nash is held. The only downside was the gig was too short! The band was on stage for exactly one hour but the more important thing to note is how much talent is coming out of Britain right now, and definitely these artists deserve as much airplay as possible.
Rebecca Nash: Piano / Keyboards
Thomas Seminar Ford: Guitar
Chris Mapp: Bass
Matt Fisher: Drums
Sara Coleman: Keyboards
Nick Walters: Trumpet
Nicholas Malcolm: Trumpet