On Thursday (8th June), we decided there would be no better way to ease election tension than to head down to Rhythm Section LIVE! at the Bussey Bulding. A safe haven from political turmoil, the increasingly well known ‘Peckham Strong’ label was, as usual, a welcome opportunity to get our dance on. RS Chieftain Bradley Zero opened the night in traditional style, digging through crates deeper than the Mariana to bring the best Vinyl in town to our ears.
The evening was a two-parter and first up was the London-based saxophonist and composer Nubya Garcia. She recently featured for our Track of the Week off the back of her phenomenal debut album, ‘Nubja 5ive’.
Nubya is undoubtedly a pioneer of jazz’s resurgence in the UK, featuring alongside the likes of Shabaka Hutchings, Yussef Kamaal (now disbanded) and the Ezra Collective. Her work to date has largely been as part of six-piece, Maisha, and septet, Nérija. But tonight was a chance for her to show off her talent as an individual.
She hit hard and fast in true Rhythm Section style. The four-piece (made up of Daniel Casimir on double bass, Femi Koleoso on drums and Joe Armond Jones on keys) got straight to business, opening with with a fast-paced flurry of sound that found the perfect balance between spontaneity and coherency. The performance was a showcase in her latest EP, with ‘Lost Kingdoms’ and ‘Hold’ being particular highlights.
Knelt on the floor after a saxophone solo, Nubya mouths “Yes!” to Femi Koleoso as he drums us into ecstasy. Her encouragement of the whole group is testament to her talent as a composer, blending true experimentation with her talent for traditional jazz.
Nubya’s composition brings with it a delectable combination of shimmering bluesy keys, tumbling drums, playful double bass work and of course, her vibrant saxophone skills. It came like a heaven-sent jam session with each band member blessing the crowd with their ability in equal measure.
Next up was Harvey Sutherland and Bermuda (with a welcome break in between allowing us to check in on the exit polls). The Australian producer and self-confessed ‘disco minimalist’ was here to bring enough groove to send us through to the end of the night.
The trio (made up of frontman Mike Katz alongside Graeme Pogson on drums and Tamil Rogeon on electric strings) played their way through Harvey Sutherland’s tidy handful of releases. Since 2013, he has delivered records through the likes of People’s Potential Unlimited, MCDE and Voyage Recordings, with this show coming in the wake of his recently released EP ‘Expectations’.
To cut a long story short, the performance left us wishing more dance music was played with live drum kits and strings. The layering of fluid synths, splashy cymbals and a full-on kick laid the perfect grounding for the electric violin to take things away. If ‘killer violin licks’ weren’t a thing before, they certainly are now. A euphoric quality tinted the highly danceable set, with the flow of highs and lows giving the crowd lots to work with.
Closing the night with the alluringly catchy ‘Bermuda’, the trio left the Bussey Building a sea of happy listeners. A gesture symbolic of what Rhythm Section does best, bringing infectious beats to bright listeners, till next time guys.