Is it mid-April already?
Jazz is one of my favourite genres of music, and I think that’s the case for most people. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get the airtime that it deserves, especially when you listen to some of the music being produced by fresh, young jazz artists such as Theon Cross. This song is called Brockley.
Part of a very fluid London jazz scene, Theon Cross is a unique item in that his instrument is the much-overlooked tuba. While he learned the stereotypically heavy-handed instrument at the Guildhall Youth school of music under the tutelage of tuba extraordinaire Oren Marshall, Cross has put his own stamp on the jazz scene with his sense of rhythm and improvisation. Inspired by the dance music he and many other people of our generation grew up with (you can imagine my surprise when I found out he and I were of similar age), Cross brings a sharp, almost Caribbean edge to the tuba that many people will never have heard before.
As mentioned before, jazz in London is very fluid. Theon Cross has provided his sound to jazz groups such as the award-winning Sons of Kemet – taking the place once filled by his teacher Oren Marshall – while also working with other prominent UK artists such as Emile Sande and London grime artist Kano. However, it is his work with his very own trio that has produced his acclaimed debut EP Aspirations (2015), along with this record, featuring on the album We Out Here (2018), a compilation of some of the most exciting young jazz artists in the city.
Bursting with energy, Brockley is a hard-edged, bouncing tune with fantastic rhythm. The website promoting the album talk about Theon Cross as being Caribbean-inspired, and such a piece of music really reminds you of the huge Caribbean community in London and events such as Notting Hill Carnival, a celebration of Caribbean culture that is both famous and infamous. Brockley is full of the energy of such an event, and is just the type of jazz music that I believe deserves the opportunity to be heard in the mainstream.
Please check out this song, and the rest of the album We out Here – share with your friends, and spread the word about the great work being done in a vibrant music scene!
And, of course, have a great week from The Culture Cove!