I’ve followed Rhythm Section closely for the past 3 or 4 years ever since falling in love with the deep melodic sounds they purvey during my early years of University. Having unfortunately missed last year's Rhythm Section live session featuring the amazing Harvey Sutherland, I was more than excited to find out that they had set up a quarterly live show residency at the Jazz Cafe for 2017. Their first date on Thursday 2nd March saw them welcome 3 of the London’s finest rising talents.
First up on stage was Emma-Jean Thackray, a producer and instrumentalist who the RBMA have already dubbed as ‘one of the UK’s most exciting new Jazz artists.’ And I could see why as the deep subby bassline of ‘Morley Buttons’ immediately caused heads to start bobbing across the venue. It was jazz, but not as I knew it, and I liked it a lot. Other highlights of her set included the hazy trumpet and splashy drums of ‘Birthday Cake’ and the avant-garde keys in ‘Baro Bop’ that suck you deep into the groove. Her 2016 EP release ‘Walrus’ was tipped as one of the most exciting Jazz records of the year and it translated perfectly to the live stage.
Next up was the spectacle of 7 piece jazz collective Nérija. Sounding just as impressive as they looked, they wasted no time in getting the crowd moving with their full bodied blend of soulful jazz. The talent on display from each artist was quite unbelievable, and it showed between band members, screw facing at one another's solos in appreciation. High points of the set included the irresistible groove and growing momentum of ‘The Fisherman’ and the charming summer nostalgia of ‘Valleys’. It was clear from the reception they received as they left the stage that they had produced something special.
Last up on the stage for the evening was psychedelic jazz come synth pop band Super Best Friends Club. With Mercury prize nominated The Comet is Coming drummer in tow, the colourful band rounded off the evening perfectly with the fragile vocals of frontman Jonah Brody gliding you through space past dreamy retro synth keys, pulsing bass lines and floating harmonies. The set highlight for me was ‘Universe Universe’, transcending from low gravity verses into an explosion of furious crashing drums and looped keys.
Aside from the wonderful music it’s worth noting that there was something special about the crowd too. From the punters to the bar staff, everyone was exuding good vibes. Not only that, but people weren't talking when the artists were performing and there wasn’t an abundance of mobile phones recording every second of the show. It was refreshing to say the least. The intermission track selections from Bradley Zero on the 1s and 2s also didn’t go amiss. A spectacular night of live music from start to finish and I look forward to their next show.