One of the first things that hits you – and hit is most certainly the word – on entering Brixton Electric tonight is the sheer physical force of the sound.
Joe Armon-Jones has hired in the Unit 137 soundsystem, and it’s ultra-intense bass weight resonates out into the streets, with the gut-churning, bone-splintering low frequency sound threatening to break the crust of the Earth.
It’s clear, then, that his is no ordinary jazz gig. But then, Joe Armon-Jones has never been an easy composer to pin down – holding down keys in Ezra Collective, his own work moves between spiritual jazz and dub, with a dash of soul for good measure.
Assembling his own crack ensemble – complete with stellar guests such as Oscar Jerome and saxophonist Nubya Garcia – Joe Armon-Jones leads from the front, with his complex, fusion-leaning soloing allied to an ear for killer bass lines, and a desire to work as one voice among many.
The set list leans on 2019’s well-received full length ‘Turn To Clear View’, but in truth there’s very little containing the prodigious composer. Material from solo debut ‘Starting Today’ is also unearthed, with the full set viewed through the prism of bass culture.
A graduate from the university of dub, Joe Armon-Jones seems to spark with ideas, his intense yet joyous approach offset by vocal exhortations from Ashebar, whose trans-genre low frequency quests are ringed in a certain mysticism.
Brixton Electric quickly becomes a swaying morass of fans, the primordial bass ooze binding person to person. It’s a set that embraces the amorphous, one that eschews boundaries – it’s equidistant from either a traditional jazz performance or a dub workout, while someone absorbing traits from both.
A righteous, often inspired experience, the set caps an astonishing two year run from the keys player – in just 24 months Joe Armon-Jones has released two records under his own name, a one off dub inversion, and a full record with Ezra Collective.
Seated behind his keyboard, head bobbing, face contorted in ideological frenzy, it feels like this is just the start.
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