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Jazz Renaissance

Exklusiver Mix von Nick Woodmansey aka Emanative. Dazu ein Gespräch über die Gründe fürs Spiritual Jazz Revival, seine Kooperationen mit der Steve Reid Foundation, BLM und das nächste Album. |English Version|

Nick Woodmansey

Der englische Schlagzeuger Nick Woodmansey hat als Emanative bereits zahlreiche Alben veröffentlicht. Unter anderem bei den Labels Jazzman Records und The Steve Reid Foundation. Nun hat er fürs King Georg einen 30minütigen Mix erstellt. Wir haben uns mit Nick über das Spiritual Jazz Revival und gesellschaftliche Zusammenhänge unterhalten |English Version|.

There has been a lot of protests recently in the U.K. against structural racism and police violence provoked by the death of George Floyd. Especially in London, where you live, the demonstrations were particularly large. How have you been perceiving the events?
I’m actually inbetween London and the coast, in West Sussex, and there have been big protests up in London and down in Brighton and even small and peaceful protests in the village close to where I live. It has all had such a profound inpact!
Within my own family, our daughters are discovering and ordering amazing books and getting themselves more educated on colonialism and anything about our history not taught in schools over here.And we are all learning and discussing things.
With my musician and DJ friends everyone is doing the same whilst getting involved in raising money for various BLM related causes. A crew of DJ’s and dancers that i’m part of called Hashtagunity are actively fundraising and protesting.
It’s both shocking and enlightening at the same time. There are positive and negative aspects to it all, but essentially I feel any widespread knowledge and education of truth is going to have a good effect in the future.

In the last few years Spiritual Jazz had a big revival. Suddenly not only artists like Alice Coltrane & Pharoah Sanders have become popular among the younger generation related to club culture, but many less unknown artists from the 70s have been reissued lately as well. How do you think that this development can be understood?
I think that in recent years we have been fortunate enough to find ourselves exposed to a whole wealth of music from all around the world from all corners and genres… from online streaming to new vinyl reissues we have had an explosion in all directions musically!

It’ s »cool« to like Sun Ra

Jazz in general has had a renaissance and has found itself a younger audience, and so it is inevitable that that interest would extend to the period of experimental jazz of the late 60’s and the 70’s with it’s deep exploration into all things spiritual and all different cultures and influences. To some degree it’s all a bit trendy at the moment, it’s »cool« to like Sun Ra etc. But there is also a sincere and inspirational new wave of deep and diverse jazz emerging.
Artists that I’ve worked with from Sarathy Korwar and Collocutor to Idris Ackamoor of the Pyramids, Sun Ra Arkestra veteran Ahmed Abdullah or Phil Ranelin of Tribe Records are all enjoying this new found exposure to a new audience.page1image5847040page1image3702048

»Jazz in general has had a renaissance and has found itself a younger audience, and so it is inevitable that that interest would extend to the period of experimental jazz of the late 60’s and the 70’s with it’s deep exploration into all things spiritual and all different cultures and influences.«

Nick Woodmansey

Last year you released your 7” »Vibes From The Tribe« with Phil Ranelin, co-founder of Tribe Records, on The Steve Reid Foundation where you already released an album back in 2015, »The Light Years Of The Darkness«. How did the collaboration come about with Ranelin and what is the connection to the Steve Reid Foundation?
I’ve now done several records for the Steve Reid Foundation over the years, the first was a version of an amazing track called »Lions Of Judah« by Steve Reid.
After he passed Gilles Peterson and Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) spoke about forming a charity in his name, to help artists in need due to illness or injury as well as also helping emerging talent that we believe to be exciting, new and pushing the boundaries!
I did this record, Kieran did an edit for the b-side and Gilles released it on Brownswood Recordings. I was invited to become a trustee back then, and now nine years later, I’m also responsible for the weekly runnings of the charity as well.
I did the full length double album »The Light Years Of The Darkness« next and collaborated with many other amazing artists.
Four Tet (again), Idris Ackamoor of The Pyramids, Ahmed Abdullah (trumpeter & Sun Ra Arkestra veteran and member of Steve Reid’s The Master Brotherhood), Rocketnumbernine, Earl Zinger (Diabolical Liberties), etc

»Vibes From The Tribe«

»Vibes From The Tribe« by Phil Ranelin was something I originally wanted to do back then for the album, but due to timing it never quite happened… perhaps it wasn’t the right time? When I then spoke to Phil in 2018 he was as excited as me about the idea if a new version.
It’s an all time favourite of mine (and of the rest of the Emanative band)
We then arranged to bring him over to London for a show at The Jazz Cafe.
It was an amazing night, and everyone loved it, Phil is a lovely person and legend of black jazz history!
I feel like Tribe Records has since been getting some well deserved attention with various reissues coming together and being released at a time when this message of struggle and freedom for black musicians is potentially more relevant than ever before!

As Emanative you collaborate with a lot of different artists. Your album »Earth« from 2018, with one of my favorite songs, »Reflection«, was a collaboration with Nat Birchall and Liz Elensky, who happens to be your wife. Liz also appears in many other songs of yours. Would you or Liz like to tell us a bit more how you started working together?
Me and Liz actually met through music, she auditioned for a band I was in and became the lead singer, and soon after this we got together.
We’ve worked musically on various different things with each other over the years, including Emanative records.

Everything we’ve done together has been about our family or our music and art. We are 95% complete on an album together. The vocal sessions were sadly interrupted due to the pandemic.
The album consists of me on production, with a serious of drum and percussion recording sessions I did at Floating Productions over a few days after we had recorded »Vibes From The Tribe« with Phil Ranelin!
Liz is on vocals and all conceptual and lyrical content and we have collaborated with several electronic artists such as DJ Khalab and Tamar Osborn of Collocutor (On The Corner Records); Hector Plimmer (Albert’s Favourites) Ben Page of Rocketnumbernine, Vince Vella, Ben Hadwen sax and woodwinds for Emanative, The Maghreban (R&S Records), and keyboardist and producer Deoke amongst others.
It’s more electronic than my recent albums, but still has deep and organic emotions and roots. This record will be forthcoming on Shapes Of Rhythm here in the UK.

Interview: Hermes Villena; Foto: Tom Rowland