On International Jazz Day, Yellow Boat Music celebrates the genre’s exciting growth and the artists that have recorded at the famous Dean Street Studios
“Where’s jazz going? I don’t know. Maybe it’s going to hell. You can’t make anything go anywhere. It just happens.”
So go the famous words of Thelonious Monk. Looking at where the genre is today on International Jazz Day, it’s hard to deny it’s experiencing an exciting resurgence.
Over the last few years, we have seen a swathe of artists - both emerging and established -moving to a more colourful and harmonic, jazz-infused palette. Take Kendrick Lamar, for example, whose Grammy Award winning album ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ features legendary jazz musicians such as Kamasi Washington, Robert Glasper and Terrace Martin, whom all helped to craft the platinum-selling album.
As a result, Rolling Stone reported in an interview with David Bowie’s long term producer, Tony Visconti, that Lamar’s album had heavily influenced Bowie’s 25th and final studio album, Blackstar. Visconti recalls jazz as being the primary influence of the record, and the pair even enlisted musicians Donny McCaslin, Jason Lindner, Tim Lefebvre, and Mark Guiliana after hearing the quartet play at New York Jazz Club 55 Bar.
Younger artists such as Dirty Loops, Jacob Collier, Cory Henry and Tennison, to name a few, are also creating an accessible form of music that traditional jazz has never really achieved. Even rappers such as the Notorious B.I.G (who was mentored by the New Orleans saxophonist Donald Harrison), Nas (the son of jazz musician Olu Dara) and Rakim (who studied the saxophone) have often talked about how jazz influenced their phrasing and diction.
“For me, it’s really exciting seeing these young, amazingly talented musicians bring a vibrancy to the masses,” says Yellow Boat Music’s Philip Jewson. “Collier picked up a Grammy for his amazing arrangement of the Flintstones Theme tune and just take a look at what Dirty Loops did to Britney! While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, you can’t fail to be impressed by their proficiency. Personally, I love it!”
Yellow Boat Music is lucky enough to operate from the heart of Dean Street Studios, once owned by Visconti, where countless iconic artists have recorded their music. These include a plethora of jazz musicians such as the Ronnie Scott Quintet, George Melly, Georgie Fame, Guy Barker and Jonny Van Derrick among many other stars.
Also enriching Dean Street Studios’ strong jazz heritage is prolific composer and arranger, Paul Hart, who is represented by Yellow Boat Music as one half of the award-winning commercial outfit Joe & Co (with Joe Campbell). Since joining The National Youth Jazz Orchestra as a rising star in the early 70s, Hart became one of the UK’s foremost jazz musicians and toured the world with Sir John Dankworth and Dame Cleo Laine as a member of The Dankworth Orchestra. Hart has written extensively for jazz, including a concerto for John Williams, he has had three performances of his works at the BBC Promenade concerts including the jazz suite ‘Out Of Hamelin’. His books of compositions and arrangements for flute & saxophone in the ‘All Jazzed Up’ series are best sellers; the Associated Board (ABRSM) have used them as examination pieces.