We Out Here Film Screenings
We must begin by giving thanks. ‘Inside the Acorn’ offers a sonic veneration to the music’s progenitors. Atmospheric and expansive, the track is both the inner mystic of a burgeoning seed, and the grand oak symbolising endurance, growth and celestial wisdom.
We Out Here is the flourishing of a close knit scenius of collaboration and community – one stretching back past the formation of Tomorrow’s Warriors under Gary Crosby and Janine Irons. The late Abram Wilson and the late Mat Fox, of Kinetika, both of whom more or less every artist has name checked as crucial to their creative development.
This record is a celebration of survival and innovation. Of jazz as ritual, as collective improvisation and DIY ingenuity.
The musical dialogue and friendships between the artists featured has been, in some cases, at least 14 years in the making. In London, where roommates and buildings are here today, and gone tomorrow, that’s a remarkably long period of time. Alongside Warriors and Kinetika, high praise is due to Jazz re:freshed who have championed these acts and many others with a gig a week for only a fiver for over a decade, and released the debut works of London’s freshest new acts. To this day, if you head to West London’s Mau Mau on a Thursday and feel the need to talk over a performance, be fully prepared for Adam “Rockers” Moss to lovingly request that you retire to the back of the crowd. The support is real, out here.
Perhaps the freewheeling, playful militancy of ‘Pure Shade’ takes aim at the inaccessibility and elitism that many have come to associate not only with jazz, but the closed network of Britain’s arts establishment – a divide that deepens as austerity’s axe continues to hack away at arts provision, and creativity becomes another bartering tool of neoliberalism. Mixtape like, the track is a composite history of jazz’s evolution in multicultural London and a showcase of the Ezra Collective’s eclectic dexterity. Big band swing meets echoes of the Black President kicking zombies into attention, whilst gospel reverberates with the same exultant crescendos as on any given Sunday in the cacophony of churches along the Old Kent Road.
Every scene needs a spot. Head north from Old Kent Road and you’ll find the Total Refreshment Centre. Lexus Blondin, its founder, was inspired by the sophisticated squatting communities he met when he first moved to London. It’s now grown into a venue, DIY community space and record label that has been pivotal to the growth of the scene. Together with Spencer Martin, he also launched the award-winning Church of Sound night, where many of the artists on this record have played.