Saxophonist and flautist Nubya Garcia has become one of the leaders of the UK jazz renaissance that’s been underway for a few years and which continues to expand in new, exciting ways. She’s a member of the groups Maisha and Nérija, she’s played as a sidewoman on such acclaimed albums as Ezra Collective’s Juan Pablo: The Philosopher and Makaya McCraven’s Universal Beings, and she’s got a couple EPs under her belt, but Source is her first full-length album as a bandleader, and it marks yet another major milestone in her career. Like a lot of the best records Nubya has played on, it’s an album that can’t be pigeonholed. It mixes the freeform, avant-garde side of jazz with the warm, chilled-out side. It looks outside of jazz and incorporates bits of reggae, Afrobeat, cumbia, soul, and other styles of music, and it includes some guest vocalists who add even more variety. Its psychedelic, genre-defying sound recalls the early ’70s fusion era, but Source is an album that feels fresh and modern. Like many of her closest peers and collaborators, Nubya Garcia makes a convincing case that jazz is a genre that’s still full of innovation. [Notable Releases of the Week]
In support of her excellent new album Source (that’s our review from Notable Releases quoted above), genre-defying UK jazz musician Nubya Garcia did an NPR Tiny Desk (Home) Concert, though not actually from her home, as she’s currently between homes due to the pandemic. She did it on a boat (a first in Tiny Desk history), specifically the boat that’s home to Soup Studios, where Nubya recorded Source.
Joined by her band — Joe Armon-Jones of Ezra Collective (keys), Daniel Casimir (double bass), Sam Jones (drums), Richie Seivwright of KOKOROKO and Cassie Kinoshi of SEED Ensemble (vocals) — Nubya performed three songs from the new album: the title track, “Pace,” and “Boundless Beings.” They sounded as fantastic as you’d hope, as you can watch for yourself below.
Source is out now on Concord Jazz.