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Three fundamental centres of
London jazz scene are
celebrating their 30th year

Blog
Three fundamental centres of London jazz scene are celebrating their 30th year

19.02.2020

Text: Cem Kayıran
Translate: Yetkin Nural

The new generation London based jazz trend, which has been drawing a lot of positive attention from all around the world since the second half of 2010’s, is actually built on the solid ground that was laid by the work of previous generations. Without a doubt, three London jazz centres that were established in 1990 are among the pioneers of this new trend with their consistent work and inspiring visions. A venue, a label and a radio station; all celebrating their 30th anniversary this year... Here is a look at the building blocks of London jazz scene.

Jazz Cafe

A concert venue with five hundred people capacity, Jazz Cafe is located right in the heart of Camden, one of the important cultural centres of the city. Opened its doors in 1990, the venue was operated under Live Nation organization for a while. Since the owner Steve Ball thought Jazz Cafe was underappreciated in this organization, he decided to transform the venue. And with this new vision, Jazz Cafe became one of the iconic venues of the city’s music scene, hosting legendary names such as Amy Winehouse, Ahmad Jamal, Pharoah Sanders, Don Cherry and hundreds more on its stage. Jazz Cafe, which became a centre for the new generation jazz trend that we mentioned at the beginning of this article, opens its doors to established names as well as upcoming artists from different genres like reggae, hip hop, neo-soul as well.

Ninja Tune

Ninja Tune is a label that identified itself with a certain musical approach, almost becoming a genre by itself. The independent label was founded in 1990 by Matt Black and Jonathan More, who we know as Coldcut, and it didn’t take long for it to become one of the most inspiring formations of recent music history. The Ninja Tune catalogue is mostly based on genres like electronic music, jazz, and trip hop; housing creative names like Amon Tobin, Bonobo, The Cinematic Orchestra, Jaga Jazzist, Kid Koala, DJ Food, Blockhead and Funki Porcini. In time, Ninja Tune started to explore different musical genres as well, sharing its wide distribution reach with labels like Big Dada and Brainfeeder. Another detail that makes this label so special is definitely the visual aesthetic that they meticulously build over their releases. A solid example of trailblazing a culture, the fact that Ninja Tunes is still reaching for the stars after 30 years in the business means a lot.

Jazz FM

The leading jazz radio of the city, Jazz FM started its broadcast at 102.2 frequency with a Ella Fitzgerald concert that took place in Royal Albert Hall on 4th of March, 1990. The station’s broadcast stream includes genres like jazz standards, blues, gospel and soul, and the shows are hosted not only by radio programmers but also by musicians like Marcus Miller, China Moses and Ian Shaw. Love Supreme Festival, which was founded by Jazz FM in 2013, keeps happening annually with ever-extending line-ups. The festival’s 2019 line-up included names such as Chick Corea, Kamaal Williams, Snarky Puppy, GoGo Penguin and Sampa The Great.

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