Talk us through the concept of the Jazz Hip Hop Late Night Sessions.
Every Friday night at Foundry616 jazz and hip hop make babies. That’s how our house honey hostess InРs describes it, and she should know! Jazz instrumentalists and hip hop MCs perform and create in the moment. No set recipe – we make it up on the spot, off the top, as the mood fits. We aim to push the boundaries of our musical flow, words, and dancefloor grinding. We challenge ourselves and the listeners while keeping the juices flowing.
Who’s involved in the crew?
We have a house band called the House Honeys. I’ve already mentioned InРs, our hype woman and vocalist. Billy Green is the resident MC and we have a revolving rhythm section of happening and versatile jazz and hip hop musicians. Joe Littlefield AKA J Walk is our sax man and stratospheric thinker and DJ Sam Z is often there to slay the musicians and keep the beats pumping in the breaks. As it is a jam session we always have different performers jumping up from the audience. I direct the musicians onstage and make weird noises from the baby grand piano.
What is it about these styles of music that works so well with improvisation?
Improvisation is the lifeblood of both jazz and hip hop. Hip hop has always stolen fragments from jazz and since the ’90s hip hop has been like the popular cousin to jazz, edging it to stay young and evolving. I was first turned on to the sound of jazz hip hop when I heard The Roots’ album Do You Want More?!!!??! with Steve Coleman on sax. J Walk and I have been studying the rhythmic innovations of Steve Coleman and the M-base movement and we like to throw those at the rappers and the Foundry crowd to spice things up.
Have you uncovered any new superstars?
Jazz hip hop is an egalitarian form, so it’s not about superstars. Having said that, amazing new talent pops up every week. A few names to look out for are Billy Green, Natalie Slade, Kween G, Mtuse, Sampa, Ltl Gzeus, Vanessa Caspersz, Chux, Shazza T, Little Hunta, Diolita, Dobby and G.O.D.
Jazz hip hop sessions are at Foundry616 every Friday night from 11:30pm.