Joe Armon-Jones hopes to continue the push against elitist jazz after scooping multiple Jazz FM Awards last month.
The Ezra Collective keyboardist claimed two gongs with the band at April’s awards show, in the highly sought-after ‘UK Jazz Act of the Year’ and ‘Live Experience of the Year’ categories — with both decided by public vote.
South London-based Armon-Jones also found time to release his debut album Starting Today on May 4.
In the face of so much success, Joe, 25, said: “I just want to enjoy it and appreciate their gratitude and stuff, but not get too caught up in it.
“I like people as a community. But it was wicked, a real treat.”
Despite his solo project, he remains fully committed to his band.
He said: “I wouldn’t see it as a ‘going-solo’ thing.
“I’ve always made my own music, and this is just me putting it out there, just showing people some of the stuff I make when I’m not in other bands, basically,” he said.
Bringing afrobeat, soul and hip-hop to jazz, Ezra Collective has been carving out their own path in the jazz world ever since they first formed seven years ago.
The five-piece group started forming during their time at Tomorrow’s Warriors, an organisation dedicated to jazz education in south east London.
Joe said: “When I first came to London it was more looked down upon to play other genres in Jazz.
“There was slightly more of a purist attitude to playing just swing, for example.
“I don’t know who the hard jazz musicians are anymore.
“I used to but they seem to have retreated back in to the scene and now they’re all playing hip hop and stuff.”
Not only is jazz itself becoming more diverse, Joe said that audiences are becoming more varied too.
Harking back to Ezra Collective’s Ronnie Presents gig at Islington Assembly Hall, which garnered their Jazz FM Award for ‘Live Experience of the Year,’ Joe said: “It was all different kinds of people.
“Young people and old people, white people and black people.
“It wasn’t like there was a specific type in the audience.
“It kind of worries me when I look out into the crowd and you see that you’re only attracting guys or something.
“We want just everybody coming down, that’s the nice thing about it.
“It doesn’t feel like an exclusive thing for Ezra: it’s accessible for everyone.”
But for all jazz’s current inclusivity, its reputation hasn’t always been one of open arms, Joe added.
“In the past some jazz musicians have treated it as a kind of closed thing, like a ‘This is our intellectual music that you don’t understand so you can’t come and watch it.’
“I think that’s not helped jazz so much.
“But there are definitely good musicians out there that open it up to the public, that try and get people involved.
“It’s all to make people dance at the end of the day.”
With an upcoming Ezra Collective tour through Austria, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland and Belgium in September, as well as his own solo tour which will be taking him to World Wide Festival in France among other exciting places, Joe has plenty to be getting on with.
But asked whether he was nervous, Joe said: “I’m actually looking forwards to just making some more music.”
- 10000Blackburn Rovers v Fulham @ Ewood Park Saturday January 31 @ 3pm Kit Symons could welcome new signing Jazz Richards into Fulham's starting 11 for tomorrow's Sky Bet Championship clash with Blackburn Rovers. The 23-year-old defender signed on a month's loan from Swansea City this week with the Cottagers travelling…
- 10000Alternative jazz and experimental musician Gwyneth Herbert will be serenading the audience at one of London’s hottest jazz spots tonight. The Wimbledon-born performer is putting on a show at The 606 Club in Chelsea where guests can expect to see a ukulele, melodica and even a cheese-grater to make an…
- 10000Summary:The Londoner has his own band and music agency at the age of just 22.Image: By Nathan Blades, Christine Dorisamy-Pillai and Rachael Knowles It's difficult being 22. For most of us, it's the point where we struggle to balance adulthood with the aftermath of university. But for George Simmonds there's a jazz…
- Wimbledon Library hosts Indian music festival to celebrate goddess of knowledge, wisdom and learning10000The goddess of knowledge, music, art, wisdom and learning is being celebrated at Wimbledon Library this Saturday. The Festival of Joy and Happiness is run by Saudha, the Society of Poetry and Indian Music, and will see musicians, classical performers and traditional Indian musicians celebrate Saraswati Puja with Sanskrit chanting,…