// Opening DJ-Set by Sean Steinfeger
Ezra Collective on tour with new album.
The group - consisting of Femi (who also drums for Gorillaz) as drummer and bandleader, Joe Armon-Jones on keys, James Mollison on saxophone, Ife Ogunjobi on trumpet, and Femi’s younger brother TJ on bass guitar - originally came together in 2012 as teenagers at the youth band of Tomorrow’s Warriors, a music education initiative at the South Bank Centre in London. They have since shot forward to become architects of a new phase in their city’s musical journey, a hybrid time in which Black genres - jazz, grime, afrobeat and more - can dovetail and harmonize fluidly, at new, forever rising levels.
Ezra Collective have been releasing music since 2016, and in 2018 their track "Pure Shade" appeared alongside other standout players from London's young jazz scene on the sampler "We Out Here," released by Brownswood Recordings, the label of BBC presenter and jazz enthusiast Gilles Peterson, who that same year awarded Ezra Collective the "Best Jazz Album" award for the EP "Juan Pablo: The Philosopher."
Following the critically acclaimed release of their debut album You Can't Steal My Joy (2019) and an explosive Glastonbury performance that catapulted British jazz to unimagined heights, a world tour was on the cards, which unfortunately fell victim to the pandemic.
However, they made the most of their time in the lock down. The album Where I'm Meant To Be, produced over a period of 18 months, has now been released. Already the first single Victory Dance is a pulsating, addictive anthem. It's an Afro-Cuban-salsa-jazz-afrobeat smash-up that you definitely want to experience live.
The album, which also features Sampa The Great, Kojey Radical, Emile Sande and Nao, is the product of years of improvising together on stage and takes the exploration of hip-hop, UK club sounds, jazz and Afro beats to the next level.