Review: Those who pay attention to these things know that Poland's EABS (short for Electro Acoustic Beat Sessions) are one of the hottest jazz combos in the world right now - an accolade earned not only via their incredible playing, but also their willingness to fuse elements of classic Polish and American jazz with hip-hop, soul and funk influences. Here, the fast-rising septet joins forces with 22a regular Tenderlonious (who provides flute and soprano sax solos) for two epic workouts. A-side "Kraksa" is something of an epic; an ever-changing 13-minute jazz journey that brilliantly switches from floor-rocking goodness to horizontal bliss midway through. "Svantetic", meanwhile, wraps fuzzy rock guitars and hammered-out piano riffs around a sweaty groove that just grows in intensity throughout.
Review: Touchingly, the A side of latest single from Ruby Rushton is a tribute to de facto bandleader Tenderlonious' father, who spent many years working in Nepal. Entitled "Sun Khosi", the track is a brilliantly summery blast of percussive, Afro-fired jazz fusion laden with sweat-soaked horn blasts, snaking Latin trumpet lines, deep Rhodes notes and inspired alto flute solos from Tenderlonious. B-side "Chrysalis" was composed by keys-player Adrian Shepherd and was influenced by the style of one of his inspirations, jazz pianist John Taylor. It's up-tempo, bold, hugely enjoyable, electric piano-heavy and sits somewhere between jazz-funk and the kind of jazz-fusion fare made famous by Azymuth.
Review: Given that he's been rather busy with 22a's jazz house band Ruby Rushton, it's quite a surprise to discover that Tenderlonious has found time to record another solo album, his first full-length solo effort for three years. It's a deep, woozy and atmospheric affair, with the storied Peckham producer flitting between jazz-funk-fuelled deep electro ("Buffalo Gurl"), lapsed lo-fi deep house ("Hard Rain", "Casey Jr"), blunted beats ("GU22"), sparkling ambient jazz ("Low Tide"), wonky futurist synthesizer grooves ("Another State Of Consciousness"), and cuts so deep, jazzy and off-kilter that they defy definition ("Aesop Thought", where his distinctive flute playing takes centre stage).
Review: While jazz is never far from Tenderlonious' thoughts - he is a proficient flautist and the man behind the superb Ruby Rushton combo - he has plenty of other musical strings to his bow, as last year's rather fine "Hard Rain" album proved. "After The Storm", his latest EP, treads a similar sonic path, tiptoeing between ultra-dreamy, sunrise-ready deep house (the fluttering flute solos and Larry Heard grooves of the superb title track), Kaidi Tatham style jazz-funk fusion ("G Flex"), broken deep house smoothness with added Herbie Hancock synths ("D Low"), and crunchy 21st century jazz-funk ("Broken Hearts Club"). In other words, it's business as usual for one of Britain's best.
Review: Earlier in 2020, Tenderlonious presented the first part of a very personal project: an EP of stunningly original fusions of jazz and traditional Pakistani and Indian music, which he recorded in Lahore last year with local "anything goes" quartet Jaubi. As the title suggests, this full-length excursion continues the journey, offering intoxicating 21st century ragas full of suspenseful held-note chords, exotic tabla rhythms, delay-laden instrumentation (guitars and brass instruments as well as Tenderlonious's trademark flute solos) and dreamy ambient textures. It's a unique and genuinely interesting set that somehow manages to be both groundbreaking and hugely entertaining. Don't sleep!
Review: When the time came to record his second album for 22a, trumpeter Nick Waters gathered some of his jazz musician friends and Smokehouse studios, quickly explained the plan and then recorded the resultant improvisations. There was minimal rehearsal - just sketching out of rhythms and grooves - but the results are little less than inspired. Although avant-garde in ethos and built around improvisations, the five tracks on "Active Imagination" never lose their shape, focus or vibe. It's as if the assembled musicians were fully in-sync, with call-and-response solos and expressive instrumental motifs rising above loose-limbed drum patterns that flit between brain-scrambling intensity and hushed, late night calm.
Review: For the latest release on his 22a label, Tenderlonious has persuaded trumpeter Nick Walters to reassemble his Paradox Ensemble outfit for the first time since 2013. "Awakening" is the 13-piece collective's debut album and, like previous releases, attempts to strike a balance between tight ensemble playing and more freeform, solo-powered passages. This plan is arguably best executed on the warm, groovy and ambidextrous B-side opener "Brahman", where wild instrumental solos ride a swinging groove and rich synthesizer chords, but is also expertly explored on the Latin-tinged dancefloor jazz opener "34268". That said, the collection's slower numbers are also inspired, particularly the dreamy "Dear Old Thing".