Jack Steadman is one of modern music’s rare chameleons. The simultaneous indie-pop frontman, Soundcloud electronic producer and folk balladeer’s latest venture sees him fronting his own 8-piece neo-soul band, who deliver a spectacular blend of hip-hop, soul and jazz fusion in West London.
Opener ‘Somebody New’ sets the mood perfectly, the wonky d’Angelo-esque groove getting the crowd on their feet. This leads effortlessly into a cover of Slum Village and J Dilla classic ‘Fall In Love’. The virtuosic talent of his band is immediately apparent, as the brass section and keyboardist trade solos effortlessly all night. Indeed, the band’s interpretation of Roy Hargrove’s ‘Strasbourg/St Denis’ is a six-minute masterpiece of meandering jazz, drawing an impressed reaction.
Shades of Steadman’s indie-pop past in Bombay Bicycle Club become more recognisable on crowd-pleasers such as ‘Ruby’ and ‘Tears’, showcasing his considerable talent for melody. The highlight, however, comes later on in the form of a memorable cover of Lauryn Hill classic ‘Doo-Wop (That Thing)’, where vocalist Frida Toura – also of London jazz band Native Dancer- steals the show with a powerful, charismatic performance. ‘Angels/Your Love’, the album’s first and main single, lacks the presence in a live setting of collaborator BJ The Chicago Kid, but is in its own right a compelling, psychedelic journey: complete with one of the finest bass lines you’ll hear in 2017.
Latest single ‘Grant Green’ is a fitting encore, a Motown classic in the mould of James Brown. ‘You can make my heart go wild’, the ecstatic crowd screams in unison. As the shy Steadman bows to the audience, pointing modestly to his band, it is easy to forget he is a musical polymath that has written and produced yet another album of fine material. ‘There’s nothing the man can’t do’, a thrilled voice proclaims in the venue lobby. On the evidence of this tight and energetic performance, I’m sure few would disagree.
Mr Jukes played:
Fall In Love
(Slum Village cover)
From Golden Stars Comes Silver Dew
Leap of Faith
(Herbie Hancock cover)
Doo-Wop (That Thing)
(Lauryn Hill cover)