mind: “I mean, I don’t think I’m the person who should be defining it,”
he demurs, avoiding the question of what a jazz record in the 2020 s,
Given the myriad influences that flow freely through his and other successful crossover records of recent years.
“The problem with what I and the people I’m connected with do is that jazz is only one part of it.
Let’s take Sons of Kemet, for example [not a bad example, either, given Boyd’s considerable drumming contributions to Your Queen Is A Reptile]:
It’s as much Duke Ellington as it is Buju Banton as it is Machel Montano as it is D Double E.
I don’t mind it being put under the banner of jazz, but two things you should know – one: it’s not the whole picture;
and two, for me,
if I’m calling something jazz, it’s not even about a style.
There’s something that connects a Wayne Shorter to a Branford Marsalis to a Glasper to a Herbie to a Yussef Kamaal Trio to a Shabaka,”
Boyd says, his eyes popping slightly as he reels off yet another list of influences he so evidently adores, “and that’s that process I was talking about with the sushi.
When I listen to all of those, I hear something they’ve all gone through as musicians that’s different to what I hear when I listen to Sleaford Mods or IDLES – no disrespect to them, obviously.”
While Boyd’s take might read as potentially elitist on the page, in person it’s clear that he’s actually.
Just a young musician totally immersed in his work and still trying to find his voice, which, particularly in a form as knotty as jazz, is probably fair enough.
For one, there is a slowness of maturation baked into jazz’s tradition that’s not as fetishised in, say,
The DIY punk or bedroom electro world, meaning that at 28 he’s still considered young with much development ahead of him:
After all, whereas Paul McCartney had already broken up the Beatles by the time he was Boyd’s age,
Miles Davis was 44 before he released Bitches Brew,
Thelonious Monk was 40 for Brilliant Corners, and Sun Ra had to wait until his 50s for his own purple patch (although, obviously, they count the years differently on Saturn).
For another, jazz as a genre label is currently used so loosely – describing anything.
From a Radiohead song with augmented chords to a Yo La Tengo fuzz freakout to.
LA hip-hop – that it renders the term’s application to a specific style (as opposed to approach) of music almost meaningless.
That sense of a craft still being honed, within a style whose borders appear increasingly.
Diffuse, perhaps better explains Boyd’s somewhat gnomic stance.
“That’s not to say that couldn’t happen in Scotland, or even in Tokyo,
But it’s so much easier for it to happen here, if you live in it,” continues Boyd,
Gesturing beyond the Horniman gardens and out across the London skyline beyond.
So distilling that through a jazz and improvised lens, that’s what I would say makes a London jazz record:
it’s not just an understanding, but a lived experience.”
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