The ten-strong all-star ensemble from London – whose members include Kokoroko trumpeter Sheila Maurice-Grey and Sons of Kemet trombonist Theon Cross – was formed by alto saxophonist and composer Cassie Kinoshi in 2016, and was recently celebrating a Mercury Award nomination. “Afronaut”, a track on the 2019 debut album Driftglass, won a deserved Ivors Academy Award for best “Jazz Composition for Large Ensemble”.
The record impresses not only with its fluid mixture of inner-city London jazz and Afro-Caribbean-inspired grooves, but also with a strong political consciousness: “A lot of the songs I compose,” says Kinoshi, “are a commentary on British society. ‘The Darkies,’ for example, is about the laughable fear many people have of immigrants. At least it would be laughable if it didn’t have a direct effect on all our lives.”