JAZZ, GRIME & CROSS-POLLINATION IN THE CAPITAL

Throughout modern history the soundtrack to the lives of young London has always been in a state of flux, with new genre’s popping in, old ones popping out and the cycle repeating itself time and time again. Grime music has been at the forefront of the conversation around deaths and rebirths in recent times, however developments in the bubbling London Jazz scene and world dominating UK Drill scene have highlighted a growing attitude toward collaboration that could inform some interesting results.

mez kamaal

In the latter part of the last decade the London Jazz scene was in a state of regeneration with it’s recent injection of young, unapologetic Londoners who’s tastes and styles have been shaped by the sounds of the underground music that’s inhabited the cities many sub-cultures. Musicians such as Yussef Dayes, Moses Boyd and Kamaal wiliiams are some of the leading lights in this new world and have successfully introduced the music and culture of Jazz musicianship to a whole new generation – myself included. 

With the spirit of improvisation which is at the core of both worlds, you can see, like the Grime MC uses bars and flows as their instrument riding the riddims fed by the DJ, this relationship between rhythm, cadence and live improvisation is what makes each art-form unique in there own right. 

What’s become evident of late is that cross-collaboration between Jazz musicians and Grime MC’s does present a valuable opportunity for both worlds to benefit from the successes of their respective scenes, which was highlighted in a live session between Kamaal Williams and Mez a couple of years back. Where producers like Swindle and Silkie who brought the world of Jazz into the Grime sphere with their particularly Jazzy production styles, up until this point not many had successfully brought the world of Grime into the world of Jazz. But with both movements looking set for further growth and development in the coming years, more cross-collaboration could yield some interesting results as the months progress.

Outside of the respective worlds of Jazz and Grime, crossover work has also been a theme among forward thinking music makers in other pockets of the broader British underground scene. The UK Drill movement which’s gone from strength to strength has been experiencing it’s own wave of cross collaboration. From the Headie One X Fred Again project ‘GANG’ – which saw the likes of Jamie XX back in the mix on production duties for the first time in a long time, to the likes of DJ and formiddable “Future Garage” and House producer Joy O recently teaming up with UK Drill MC ‘KO’ on the song ‘Untitled’.

What’s become clear is that the melting pot of modern music in the UK has reached a point where musicians from all corners of the map are breaking down the barriers that separate their worlds and working together in a way that should inspire more collaborations of the vein, which can only bodes well for the future.

The mass crossover potential in the broader UK movement looks as though it could lay fertile ground to sow the seeds of innovation on our home turf if things continue. For Grime MC’s in particular it presents an opportunity to broaden their horizons and take advantage of experimentation that’s taking place. With Grime fraternity vowing to throw-out the rule book earlier this, whats happening in London right now is the perfect time to try new things by taking advantage of the eclectic music talent across the capital.

Cross pollination in music and the art of bringing together different styles and genres does invariably create something fresh in the process, and with a noticeable rise in musicians seeking collaboration outside of their respective scene’s it comes across strongly that we’re once again on the cusp of another special period for UK artists and the post lockdown landscape of live music. 

Written by Timi Ben-Edigbe

/@TIMI.WATSONROSE

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