In a way, everything is jazz.
After all, the genre has no limits, somehow managing to improvise its way around any barrier set in its place.
So it’s perhaps appropriate that Gilles Peterson sees the jazz in everything. The renowned DJ, broadcaster and tastemaker thrives in a state of flux, forever searching for the perennial now.
The Worldwide Awards is effectively an annual showcase for Peterson’s 6Music (formerly Radio 1) show, allowing fans to vote on their favourite albums, tracks, sessions and more.
It’s a unique interface, one which Gilles Peterson thrives on. Acting as MC, the DJ can’t help moving to the beat – beats which move from the country-soul of Valerie June to out-there electronics in the blink of an eye.
Diversity is key, with Odd Future offshoot The Internet perhaps emphasising this. Neo-soul meets jazz-fusion, the project is beloved of Worldwide listeners, and their performance doesn’t disappoint. Shifting between tempos at breakneck speed, the fluidity of their performance – which contains the first of two Keytars to grace the evening – is balletic, graceful.
A forum to attempt the unexpected, Toddla T swaps bashment riddims for big room house with the Sheffield maverick raising the roof in the process. Mount Kimbie open their set with some classic soul and funk, before descending into rather more challenging, electronic-led climes.
Perhaps the most heartening aspect of the Worldwide vision is its ability to embrace the outsider, to see through hype and image towards something truly soulful. Jon Wayne picks up Album Of The Year for his Stones Throw set ‘Rap Album One’ and his live performance is akin to The Dude from ‘The Big Lebowski’ ambling onstage... but, y’know, incredibly good at production and rhymes.
As the night draws to a close, the capacity KOKO crowd are treated to a live performance from Swindle. A Butterz cohort, it’s difficult to place the producer’s music: improvisatory jazz, anyone? In the words of Swindle’s debut album – ‘Long Live The Jazz’.
Words: Robin Murray
Photo Credit: Tom D Morgan