*2018 Album of the Year*
With every London jazz release, I always wonder whether there will be a time when I’m left disappointed by the music. Every release so far I have listened to has been nothing short of brilliant, and this is mostly thanks to the tightly knit collective of musicians that collaborate regularly and bring such chemistry to the music. On Maisha’s new debut album There Is a Place, this sense of chemistry and bright community is stronger than ever.
The six-piece group, led by bandleader Jake Long bring nothing but spirituality, soul and incredible grooves to their music. I don’t know where to even start with the project. I suppose we could with the opening track titled “Osiris.” It opens up with rumbling drums, trumpets and saxophone melodies and an angelic tone that breaks down in sound and quickly explodes into this incredibly beautiful arrangement of saxophone and flute melodies as well as incredible drumming that carries heavy grooves throughout. The near 12-minute stunner continues to developed and blossom throughout its journey, really feeling tribal and raw in sound. It almost feels improvised, like the sudden drum breakdown near the end of the track with the beautiful guitar leads bringing this incredibly poignant energy that just makes you want to wild out. The theme of incredible break downs and progressions is prevalent throughout the album. The second track “Azure,” is more mellow and hypnotic in tone, with incredible piano keys throughout the track, and subtle drumming, accompanied by rainforest-like percussive energy that is just beautiful. “Kaa” is another clear highlight for me, as it starts off with a sweet, mellow rhythmic composition that bursts into life with electrifying saxophone solos, guitar leads and again, phenomenal drumming by Jake Long, who for me steals the show on this record.
Maisha really excel on their debut album, bringing an addictive amount of fire and energy that transcends music. A truly original and spiritual release that is another stellar addition to the London jazz discography that just keeps growing and blossoming into something remarkable.
You can listen to Maisha’s debut album There Is A Place below via Bandcamp. It is released through Brownswood Records.
Jake Long – Drums
Nubya Garcia – Saxophone/Flute
Shirley Tetteh – Guitar
Amané Suganami – Piano/Wurlitzer
Twm Dylan – Double Bass
Tim Doyle – Percussion
Yahael Camara-Onono – Percussion
Axel Kaner-Lindstrom – Trumpet
Johanna Burnheart – Violin
Barbara Bartz – Voilin
Tom Oldfield – Cello
Madi Aafke Luimstra – Viola
Maria Zofia Osuchowska – Harp
Strings arranged by Jake Long
Recorded at Soup Studios by David Holmes
Mixed and Produced at Soup Studios by David Holmes and Jake Long