Clash has just emerged from the Jazz FM Awards, where some of the best new talent in Britain was recognised.

The past 12 months have seen an incredible surge of energy run through the British jazz scene, gaining an international foothold.

Saxophonist Nubya Garcia won Breakthrough Act of the Year, Ezra Collective picked up two awards, and Ashley Henry led the house band.

Shabaka Hutchings' achievements were recognised, while Zara McFarlane won Vocalist Of The Year for the second time in her career.

Greats such as George Benson and Pat Metheny were recognised, with drum 'n' bass producer Goldie filming a tribute for the latter.

At the side, Kamasi Washington soaked up performances from an all-female line up, including everyone from Esperanza Spalding to Dame Cleo Laine.

Full list of winners:

Breakthrough Act of the Year
Nubya Garcia

International Soul Artist of the Year
Moonchild

UK Jazz Act of the Year (Public Vote)
Ezra Collective Digital #

Initiative of the Year
Esperanza Spalding: Exposure

Instrumentalist of the Year
Evan Parker

International Blues Artist of the Year
Robert Cray

Jazz Innovation of the Year
Shabaka Hutchings: Multiple projects

Vocalist of the Year
Zara McFarlane

International Jazz Artist of the Year
Cécile McLorin Salvant

Album of the Year (Public Vote)
Thundercat – Drunk

Live Experience of the Year (Public Vote)
Ronnie Scott’s presents Ezra Collective – EFG London Jazz Festival at Islington Assembly Hall

PPL Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient:
Dame Cleo Laine

Impact Award Recipient:
George Benson

PRS for Music Gold Award Recipient:
Pat Metheny

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Josh Beech was brought up in South London, before connections in the fashion world took him international.

Settling in Los Angeles, he felt inspired enough to pursue music, and – eventually – found the other members of Jaguar Bones.

Inspired songwriting, crisp production, and a polished sheen, the band's songwriting owes a little bit to Los Angeles, and a lot to London.

New single 'Over My Dead' is incoming, and it took an age to write – before the chance find of a photograph helped unlock the puzzle.

Josh explains…

"The writing process behind 'Over My Dead', was slightly different to the way we did our debut single, 'Turn The Sky Gold'. We recorded the parts between James’ Home studio in Denver and my home studio in North Hollywood."

"Musically, we finished 'Over My Dead' a few months ago but it wasn’t until a recent photograph I took of local LA artist Lilliya Scarlett, that we felt inspired enough to finish the lyrics and melody of the song. That photo has now become the artwork for the single. I’m excited for people to hear 'Over My Dead'. It’s probably the most vibey, down-tempo track I’ve been a part of writing."

Tune in now.

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If you were to describe Whenyoung as anything, it is aesthetically pleasing. The moment they graced the stage in their teletubby-esque red, yellow and blue jumpsuits – which by now, have given the band a recognisable edge that separates them from other indie landfill – they remained cool and collected to the moment they abruptly finished their set (which I imagined to be a style choice).

For a band with only five tracks on Spotify (and one of them you can only really listen to at Christmas time), playing Ally Pally must have seemed like a colossal leap from the smaller venues these guys are probably used to playing. But if there were any nerves amongst them, they were well hidden beneath confident air that the Irish trio seemed to be breathing in. Even down to the movements and angles both guitars were being played at, everything about their set seemed very carefully curated and seamless. So much so, their performance wouldn’t have gone amiss if it’s venue was The Roadhouse, Twin Peaks.

As well as the fact that this was Alexandra Palace they were playing, the next support Dream Wife have built quite the name for themselves within the indie pop scene over the past year – yet another factor to keep in mind when watching such a new-to-the-scene band like Whenyoung. Not only did they hold their own, but they blasted into their first song Blank Walls and continued at that pace throughout, slowing down or speeding up when necessary to control the atmosphere radiating from their presence. Saying this, the energy between the three became so much more apparent the further they strode through their eight song set, and after each track had come to and end, the applause was slightly louder and more apparent.

Aoife’s vocals remained soft, sultry, and reminiscent of the late and great Dolores O’Riordan. And no, not because she is also Irish… even in a space as big as Ally Pally, you could feel her words and emotions fill the room. Every note was fuelled by sentiment and danced around each tight riff being flung out to the crowd from the boy in blue jumpsuit (Niall Burns).

Whenyoung’s songs sound like you might’ve heard them before – which isn’t to be taken negatively. The drums in their new single 'Pretty Pure' were very reminiscent of The Cure, whether that’s because I’m being tricked by the familiar sounding track name or whether it was done on purpose, it worked. Nothing about it sounded copy-cat, more so appreciative. Pretty Pure was among their more upbeat tracks and played even better live than it does through headphones.

Which is the truth for their whole set. Whenyoung are one of those bands who put more than just the music into their live shows. Being the warm up act for two much bigger bands, you wouldn’t expect as much thought to go in as what did. The lighting which remained either blue or red, the costumes, the energy… it was an impressive spectacle to watch – and I can’t wait to see more from them.

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Words: Laura Copley

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South London's much-mythologised underground guitar scene is coming of age this year.

Sublime debut albums from the likes of Shame, Goat Girl, and Matt Maltese (oh just you wait…) are making good on initial promise, and in their absence a new generation is jamming hard at the Brixton Windmill.

Black Midi are one of the finest new groups in the capital, recently tearing it up at Camden sweatpit the Lock Tavern as part of an Easter all-dayer.

For those outside the capital, however, it's been tough to keep tabs on the group – basically, because they put very little online.

Shooting a live session with NTS at Flesh & Bone Studios in Hackney, this is about as close to the leering, barbed, continually inventive Black Midi live show as you can get.

Tune in now.

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Roaring guitars, bursts of feedback, cacophonous squalls set against only marginally more restrained basslines: from its opening track, Kyle Molleson’s debut as Makeness is certainly boisterous. Yet there’s a case to be made that ‘Loud Patterns’ is something of a pop record, not least in the Scottish artist’s warm vocal delivery and ear for melodic hooks. If there’s also a pattern to be discerned here, it’s surely the level of quality that permeates the album’s various twists and turns.

There’s more than a pinch of Hot Chip’s geek-chic electronica on display, most notably on ‘Who Am I To Follow Love’ and ‘Gold Star’, both carrying Alexis Taylor’s trademark nonchalance through the chthonic soundscapes they rush through. Best of all is ‘Day Old Death’, an absolute stormer brandishing the kind of smart, pulsating rhythms that sound like they were born to see out a 4am finish on some distant planet.

The record’s later stages veer further leftfield, and while the comedown is expertly managed, one begins to pine for the glossier touches which Molleson clearly excels at. Nonetheless, it’s an album brimming with vigour and ideas from start to finish, and likely set to be one of the UK’s most engaging debuts this year.

7/10

Words: Matthew Neale

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E from Eels inhabited numerous personas over his fruitful 17-album career: the tragic post-grunger of ‘Beautiful Freak’ and ‘Electro-Shock Blues’, the unkempt drifter of ‘Souljacker’ and ‘Hombre Lobo’, the joyous prophet of ‘Tomorrow Morning’ and ‘Wonderful, Glorious’. Like his introspective last record ‘The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett’, ‘The Deconstruction’ finds him taking stock of the often tumultuous journey that brought him to where he is now.

But while its predecessor stripped the music back to focus on the emotional aspects of E’s life, this one finds him revisiting the various sonic paths he traversed along the way. The dusty beat and distorted beats of ‘Rusty Pipes’ hark to his late ‘90s experimentalism, while ‘You Are A Shining Light’ shows off his undiminished way with a scuzzy riff.

It feels like a career-straddling greatest hits collection in which all the ‘hits’ are brand new.

7/10

Words: Josh Gray

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Brixton's Samuel Bedford has an urge to create.

Someone who feels life a little too keenly, this tumult of emotions needs to go somewhere, so he translates it into music.

Recently releasing new single 'Simmer' under the name Cagework, it's a remarkable piece of lo-fi songwriting, featuring wire-thin guitar lines that clench down on permanent truths.

Samuel explains: "'Simmer' is a reflection of how nothing is really permanent. I wrote it a year or so ago, at a time when I was in a weird living situation and my friendship group was dissolving around me. I actually tried to pitch it for a Netflix drama but it was quickly brushed over."

Teaming up with Matt Martin for a new live session, this slimmed down, pared back, incredibly intense recording gets to the heart of the matter.

Tune in below.

Catch Cagework at the following shows:

April
30 London Sebright Arms w/ Holiday Ghosts

May
2 London The Lexington w/ Vundabar
4 London Five Bells w/ Wedding
7 London Old Blue Last w/ Holy Now
8 London The Social for Huw Stephens
12 Bristol The White Rabbit
23 London Rough Trade East

June
4 Exeter Cavern w/ The Districts
5 Guildford Boileroom w/ The Districts

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Jazz is the answer to all life's evils.

It's an elixir, a solution, a potion, a means to turn some of your daily troubles into uncategorised wisdom.

Today is International Jazz Day, and it's with impeccable timing that London underground crew Kamaal Williams share their feisty new fusion stepper.

The looping bass-line on 'High Roller' owes a debt to rare groove, while that slinky layering of keyboard colour nods towards broken beat's clubland legacy.

At heart, though, the piece revolves around contemporary movements in London's jazz scene, something Kamaal Williams has done much to proselytise.

New album 'The Return' drops on May 25th – pre-order LINK – but 'High Roller' is online now.

Tune in now.

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When is an immigrant not an immigrant? It’s a question I have been asking myself more and more over the last five years or so, and especially since the Brexit referendum. I moved to the UK from Nigeria and not somewhere in Europe, but I still find myself wondering why I hear (and read) that word ‘immigrant’ all the time but it never seems to be directed at me.

The current Windrush scandal has returned the issue to the forefront of my mind – I am a naturalized British citizen who moved here with my parents when I was a child. But, again, society and the government have treated us in a completely different way to the Windrush generation and their children. Why?

An episode from our first summer in London goes some way towards answering the question, I think. My family eventually settled in Bromley (South-East London or Kent, depending on who you speak to). As in Nigeria, our life outside of school revolved almost exclusively around the church. I remember a very warm day during the summer holidays when I was arriving at church for music practice. I was wearing a backwards black Kangol hat (a la Samuel L Jackson) and wraparound sunglasses. (It was the late 90s and I was a teenager, what can I say?)

I stepped into the side entrance of the church and encountered a friend’s mum in the hallway. She looked very perturbed by my presence. Then I took off the sunglasses and hat after which she exclaimed, “Gbenga! You shouldn’t go around looking so dangerous.” We had a laugh about it but twenty years on, I still think about it.

You see, in the hat and sunglasses, I looked like a ‘typical’ black youth. One who might have tried the side door of the church, found it open and sneaked in to see what I could make off with. But without the hat and sunglasses, I was the un-threatening, well-educated, well-behaved boy who was taking time out of his holidays to help out at church.

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My family came to this country as economic migrants. But we didn’t move because the economy in Nigeria had collapsed and there were no jobs, neither did we move fleeing war or persecution. Rather, two of my older siblings were at university in the United States and my parents needed us to be somewhere with a better Dollar exchange rate. At school my teachers would joke that I spoke English better than a lot of my classmates. We are those magical immigrants so magical that we didn’t even get called ‘immigrants’ anymore.

I may not be called an immigrant, but I am reminded of the residue of outsider status very regularly. “Where is your accent from?” is a question that I am asked at least once every day. It takes different forms. Sometimes it’s “You’ve got a slight accent” or “You don’t sound like you’re from Brighton.” This last formulation gets to the heart of the question and sometimes people are that direct: “You’re not from here.” It is never said negatively. At least, that is not the meaning that I take. In fact, it’s a positive thing, people setting the mundanity of their background against the exotic one they assume I have. They laugh when I say to them, “Where are you from?” or “You have an accent too.”

My speech has always betrayed me as being from somewhere else, or having been somewhere else. In the UK, it is not being from ‘here’. In Nigeria, it betrayed the fact that I had lived abroad (my family lived in the The Hague from 1990 to 1994), a status that comes with assumptions about money.

In Nigeria, I was also betrayed by what I didn’t say, or couldn’t say. We spoke English in our house and it’s still the only language I speak fluently. My father is Yoruba but my mother is from Kenya. They didn’t speak each other’s languages and felt that raising their children to speak really good English would give them advantages in life. So in Lagos people would often begin speaking to me in Yoruba and then berate me when I replied in English. Often they wouldn’t need to say anything, though. They still don’t.

It’s as simple as being sat in a taxi listening to the driver speak to someone on the phone and having no idea what he’s saying. That happened to me a few times the last time I was in Lagos. I was in the city of my birth but could just as easily been in Moscow or Mexico City. Waiting to be brought into the conversation. Or hoping to jump in with the few words I did know in the foreign language.

There is a cultural outsider status that sometimes intersects with race but cannot be solely explained in terms of race. That’s what I as getting at when I wrote ‘Living On The Outside’ with my friend Gareth (the other half of Eku Fantasy).

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I actually feel as much cultural ambivalence around Nigerians as I do around white British people. I ask myself many of the same questions about where I fit in and whether I am being judged. And I feel more relaxed around my white friends than I do around Nigerians I do not know. Is this because my white friends are my friends, or because I have more in common with them than I do with the Nigerians?

I’ve lived in England for twenty years now. My wife is English. My children were born here. I’m not sure I’d go as far as supporting England in the World Cup, but I’ve now watched more England matches than I have the Super Eagles.

“Are you willing to assimilate?” is one of the questions I grapple with in ‘Living On The Outside’. It’s a question I ask myself every day. That’s the main difference, I would say, between someone who is from ‘here’ and one who isn’t. The constant internal questioning. But perhaps I would be asking the exact same questions if I lived in Lagos instead of Brighton.

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Eku Fantasy have been supported by the Artists’ International Development Fund. Their debut EP ‘EF1’ is out now.

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Thyra Banks (not to be confused with the smizing enthusiast) understands how the success game goes. As a rapper on the come-up, you can spend years putting in the work, but all it takes is one tweet – in this case, from Nicki Minaj – to become an overnight sensation. “I’m not even gonna lie to you. [The media] can say what they want,” Banks tells Clash over the phone. “A few people have been like, ‘You’ve been approved.’ I hear that, and I know that. But sometimes it takes a co-sign from someone bigger to get people’s attention. And in my case, that’s what happened.”

The south London MC has been spitting fire for years; earning respect from industry vets Charlie Sloth and Tim Westwood and really got attention when she put her inner demons on display during a candid SBTV Warm Up Session. She’s collaborated with Stefflon Don and Lady Leshurr, and recently completed a tour with Wiley. But it’s all good; you can still catch her vibe during the festival season. “This year I’m finally doing all the shows I’ve wanted to do. I’m on a majority of the festival and UK line-ups. It’s really good. I’m happy.”

Banks understands the importance of being a voice for the UK’s young, diverse community, particularly other girls of dark brown hues, many of whom see themselves when they look at her. “Colourism is still happening. It’s not personal to the lighter shades of the world or white people. It’s a thing,” says Banks. “Sometimes when you speak on it, people feel some type of way. But it’s not about you. The situation is bigger than us. But it’s there. Things are easier when you have a more international appeal. Which in their eyes is being a lighter shade or just being white. I just have to make sure I keep going harder. And I will.”

Ms Banks has come way too far to stop grinding. The celeb co-signs are a bonus, but she hasn’t finished – not until she feels the true impact her music makes and sees stronger bonds within her community. “I feel like our people need to come together,” she explains. “Black men need to show more love to their sisters. A lot of the black guys [in the industry] work with a lot of lighter skin artists; that’s cool. No shade against them. I work with them, too. But don’t forget your darker sisters as well. We’re not separate. We are all one. Let’s help each other.”

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WHERE: Camberwell, South London
WHAT: Straight-up bars over hard-hitting beats
GET 3 SONGS: ‘Come Thru’, ‘Vibez’, ‘OMG’

FACT: She used to stock shelves at Marks & Spencer, trading her name badge in for a mic and the spotlight.

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Words: Safra Ducreay
Fashion: Josh Tuckley
Photography: Sophie Mayanne

For tickets to the latest Ms Banks shows click HERE.

Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

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