Here’s one for the jazz cats. Glowrogues are a Manchester-based group of phenomenally talented musicians, led by drummer and composer Jim Molyneux, bringing together jazz, hip hop and funk, with tight horns and serious grooves.
Drawing on their inspiration from artists such as The Cinematic Orchestra, Snarky Puppy and The Robert Glasper Experiment, the band is made up of budding talent from Manchester and Birmingham’s jazz scenes, featuring members of Cinematic Folk Septet The Old Dance School, the Beats & Pieces Big Band, as well as members of experimental jazz fusion trio Apes Grapes.
To mark the release of their new live album, they’re hitting the road. Do catch ’em live if any of these tour dates are anywhere near you: Liverpool (10 October), Manchester (12), Newcastle (16), Leeds (17), Durham (18), and Edinburgh (19). Ticket details here.
Glowrogues – White Lie (Live)
For a band that has been around in one form or another for over 20 years, the Hot 8 Brass Band remain something of a best kept secret for many. Their current tour of the UK is in support of new album On The Spot and although interest has been piqued by last month’s performance at Glastonbury, there’s still much to discover about their unique blend of hip-hop, funk and jazz all wrapped up in the marching band style so closely associated with their hometown of New Orleans.
The backbone of the whole show is band leader Bennie Pete, whose sousaphone is not only a striking visual aspect to the band, but provides the low bassline on which the rest of the sound is built. Frontman and trumpet player Alvarez Huntley is the on-stage spokesman for the group, leading the crowd into as much audience participation as he can by urging them to wave their arms and sing along – but only singing when he says so!
No-one was going to argue with him, such was the positivity and infectious energy in the room. In fact, it’s hard to know how they manage to keep the whole thing going as one seamless thread for the duration of their 90 minute set, with virtually no breaks between songs. The music itself was supercharged throughout, with a mixture of their own material as well as a host of covers all given the ‘Hot 8’ treatment. Among the best of these were the Snoop Dogg track What’s My Name and the Marvin Gaye standard Sexual Healing.
It’s hard to think of a more unique act on the circuit right now. If you have an opportunity to catch them at one of their remaining festival dates this year (including Truck Festival in Oxfordshire and Tramlines in Sheffield) then best make them a priority.
Dark and intriguing, we’re currently being fascinated by the sound and style of Izzy Flynn. New track Faith – her third single – starts slow but builds beautifully into an epic piece that we can’t stop listening to, and you can expect to hear a lot more about her during 2017.
Listing some of her inspirations as Joni Mitchell, Leonardo Da Vinci, Frank Ocean, Frederic Chopin, Esperanza Spalding, Nina Simone, Lauryn Hill and Keith Jarrett, it is fair to say that the London-born singer/songwriter is not an artist who can easily be pigeonholed.
Having trained in jazz at Leeds College of Music, her own style is a fusion of the freeform musicality of her learning and the structural accuracy of Da Vinci’s body series. Alongside the Abstract Orchestra – an all-star Hip-Hop Big Band that have recorded and toured with huge acts such as Amy Winehouse, Jamiroquai, Submotion Orchestra – Flynn has performed around the world. Most recently they supported Mos Def, De La Soul and Afrika Bambaataa.
Flynn graduated with a First Class Honours and Composition Award on the BA Jazz Degree at Leeds College of Music. Primarily influenced by electronic, jazz and R&B styles, with rich harmonies and memorable melodies, her dark and alluring sound could draw comparisons with the likes of James Blake, BANKS and FKA Twigs. And like those artists, Flynn curates every aspect of her creative output. Not just a singer/songwriter, she takes inspiration from her icon Joni Mitchell, viewing her work more as a complete project. While she writes both the music and lyrics, she also performs all keyboard, synth, lead vocal and backing vocals herself. She is heavily involved in the music production and her own artistic styling.
It’s clearly a labour of love for her, and it certainly won’t be too long before many more people get to love her work too.
Izzy Flynn – Faith
Izzy Flynn – Medicine
It’s always with a slight sense of trepidation that we go to see for the first time live an artist that we’ve been fans of for a while. Will they live up to expectations? Can they really cut it on a big-scale headline show? Well, we need not have worried about this one. South-Londoner Izzy Bizu gave a dazzling performance that reassured that the hype surrounding her has plenty of foundation.
Whilst hers is not yet a household name, plenty of her music will be familiar to many, not least from her vocals on the intro theme for the BBC’s Euro 2016 coverage – an uptempo take on Edith Piaf‘s La Foule – but this gig introduced those who had not yet had a chance to hear it to most of the tracks on her recently-released debut album A Moment of Madness.
Some key highlights included big singles Mad Behaviour and White Tiger, as well as an absolutely sublime pared-back performance of Someone Who Loves You, for which Bizu was joined on stage by electronic duo Honne.
Her live band left the stage for that one track, but for the rest of the show they were by her side and were as impressive as Bizu. Her music style takes in all manner of jazz and soulful fusions and the musicians and backing vocalists met the task with style and swagger.
What she lacked in assurance at the very beginning of the night – Bizu was clearly (and understandably) initially nervous in front of a sold-out crowd at what is one of London’s most visually stunning venues with its multi-level balconies towering high above the stage – she more than made up for as she settled into proceedings.
In the end, it was clear she was enjoying herself, although not nearly as much as her fans who lapped up everything she did. It was an exquisite vocal performance from a charming and unassuming young singer who has all the attributes to be doing her thing for many, many years to come.
This should really have been a summer tune but what the hell, well happily take it even in chilly January… the beautiful White Tiger by the equally beautiful Izzy Bizu is a great uplifting song to start our weekend with.
The 21-year-old Londoner has a seemingly effortless soulful voice, and has been busy raising her profile through support slots with Rudimental and Foxes. The track is taken from her album Moment of Madness which is due for release in late May 2016.
Izzy Bizu – White Tiger