Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Review

The Jazz Defenders : King Phoenix

King 1

8

6.4

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UK release date 16.04.2022

The Jazz defenders have been busy of late and good to see they have been gigging. I caught a clip of their show from The Hoochie Coochie Club,Newcastle and was mesmerised by the explosive drumming on hand.

This, their new sophomore album follows on from their excellent debut album 'Scheming' which had some great tunes on it such as the vintage Blue Note styling of 'Top Down Tourism' and the funkified 'Brown Down'.

However this new offering sees the group shift a few gears especially in the cinematic spy thriller side to them where they really do excel and 'The Oracle' is a standout tune adorned with cascading strings beautifully arranged by bandleader,George Cooper.

They've also embraced jazzy hip hop featuring guest MCs
check out 'Live Slow' with Herbal T whose slick rhymes work perfectly over the soul jazz piano comping,darting horns and bone deep groove that's on offer.Incidentally it had received great radio support from the likes of Craig Charles (BBC 6 Music), Helen Mayhew (Jazz FM), Jamie Cullum (BBC Radio 2), Ashley Beedle (Worldwide FM), Colin Curtis (Worldwide FM) amongst many others, all loving the vibe.
'Perfectly Imperfect' ft.Doc Brown is another slice of the good stuff opening with the hilariously classic line ' Wait! One plus one my maths ain't strong' - your'e lucky Doc that the band knows where the one is especially the riveting double bassline! Awash with summery horns it's a highly likeable groove with Cooper reigning supreme on the piano at the end.

There's twisted latin flavours too in the shape of "Saudade" and "Love's Vestige" seems like The Jazz Defenders have all angles cornered and with a recent appearance at Ronnie Scott's we will be hearing a lot more from this rather exceptional and stylish outfit.
Words Emrys Baird

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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