I once heard a musician say:
“If you break it once, It’s broke! But if you break it twice?… It’s jazz.”
What with the umpteenth new musical genre crowding for space on retailer’s shelves, It is Nu-Jazz that has defined itself as one of the leading musical styles with this decade almost half over. Imagine a groove, well tempo’d and flowing. Now add a lead solo devoid of pattern or repetition. A horn or guitar just riffing along to tell a story of musicianship long lost with the advent of electronica. How electronic and jazz first met is a long story, but safe to say this latest breed of artists have invigorated an over-saturated and bland dance music scene with a fresh analog vibe from the past.
A lot of seasoned music programmers around town have picked up the torch regarding this music’s relevance to what is both innovative and also quite danceable. The big difference being, where as house music’s rhythms are more obvious, Nu-Jazz is a more felt experience, a vibe. Sophistication meets the club crowd. There are vocals, stories, and lyrical experiments with beautifully produced percussion to match. Without to much of a listening revival there remains a lot to be heard.
Respected colleague of mine from Radio 1, Standa Zima has pioneered his broadcasts with a distinct Nu-jazz flavor as well as producing some Czech Nu-Jazz artists on his label Stoika (Handstand). Dj Blue who entered the Guinness book of world records last year for longest continuous Dj set is also partial to the smooth broken beats of Nu-Jazz. His marathon set that cemented his name into history was primarily from his own collection of Nu-Jazz artists. Jazzanova, Koop and Beanfield along the more experimental acts Truby Trio and The Kyoto Jazz Massive.
While most of these artists hail from Europe, the influence has most certainly gone global embracing more traditional Jazz influences. Latin, Brazilian and even Asian themes are well prevalent, as in last century’s first Jazz explosion.
German label Compost introduced their impressive compilation series entitled The Future Sound of Jazz in 1995. They have since released a subsequent eight additional volumes of recordings showcasing the many varied directions this genre represents.
Another Roxy warm up regular and Chill room contributor Dj Tall has released several stunning mix CD’s my favorite entitled “Broken Jazz” mixed effortlessly featuring unique compositions by Beatless, Faze-B and Homecookin’. These trailblazers of tomorrow’s tunes today play Prague frequently are normally featured throughout the summer’s busy festival circuit. I recently caught both Tall AND Standa tag-teaming in the brown bar at Akropolis last month. Their contrasting mixing styles alongside similar musical sensitivities blended immaculately keeping the room attentive and twitchy as dawn eventually arrived. Keep in mind that pure Jazz plays ideally into a Nu-Jazz set. Gilberto, Miles and Monk can be proud to know that their legacy is alive and well in our cities hottest clubs and bar’s.
Tim’s Top 5 Nu-Jazz Compilations
1) Brokenjazz / Dj Tall (Promo) 2015
2) Nu Jazz / Various Artists (Wagram Electronic) 2014
3) The Future Sounds of Jazz Vo# 8 (Compost) 2015
4) Nu Jazz Meets Brazil (Irma) 2016
5) Nu Jazz Sessions 2 (Groove Gravy) 2016
Tim plays Nu-Jazz on High Fidelity every Friday from 8-11 p.m. on Radio 1, 91.9 FM.