A brave debut offering an abundance of firsts
Emily Fortune
16:21 17th August 2020

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Continuing to push both her own sound and the boundaries of the blossoming UK Jazz scene forward with this daring solo debut, Nubya Garcia explores the artistry we know and love whilst also leaning into the unknown. Source comes as the North London musician’s debut solo album, allowing her to take a step in accordance with her own distinct direction, whilst bringing together some of the scene's most forward-thinking frontiers to help bring her vision to life. 

The nine track album moves through a multitude of influences, kicking off with the same energy she entered 2020 with, ‘Pace’. Immediately encapsulating you within it’s contrast of delicate keys, alongside the eerie and straight-forward basslines, subtle enough to allow the percussion to remain agile, we keep up with Garcia’s direct and forthright runs. The track continues to alter it’s mood, dipping in and out of serenity before leaving its mark with a fast-paced finale, already providing a blueprint for the ever-evolving tracklist.

Moving into ‘The Message Continues’, a more upbeat, percussion heightens the energy before Garcia comes in with her optimistic melody, creating an intriguing feeling alongside the track’s relentless drums. Holding a soulful groove with it’s playful approach, it creates it’s own sense of calm-confusion before settling down into a keys-led resolve. 

Showcasing the incredible female talent within the UK’s thriving scene, Garcia is joined by the likes of KOKOROKO trumpet player Ms Maurice, SEED Ensemble leader and alto-saxophonist, Cassie Kinoshi and fellow KOKOROKO trombonist, Richie Seivwright on the varied and dynamic ‘Source’. This 12-minute piece allows each artist to take the track to a new place, putting their own stamp on it, whilst remaining in perfect cohesion with each other.

Winding down with ‘Together Is a Beautiful Place To Be’, the calm and secure melodies give the sense of breaking clouds and warm afternoons, effortlessly captured in this tranquil piece. Welcoming back her trio of incredible instrumentalists, Ms Maurice, Cassie Kinoshi and Richie Seivwright return for the powerful ‘Stand With Each Other’. The stripped-back setting allows Garcia’s piercing melodies to come to the forefront, playfully jumping around octaves amongst the low-register harmonies.

Moving into the fast-paced and playful ‘Inner Game’ the turbulent track puts Garcia and her band in the spotlight, further proving their incredible ability as instrumentalists before moving into the Samba influenced ‘La Cumbia me está llamando’, bringing in vocalists which further add to the free-spirited atmosphere of the track. Enlisting Ms Maurice once again, ‘Before Us: In Demara & Cauara’ brings funk-induced basslines, sporadic keys and an upbeat percussion, acting as a perfect canvas for the pair to tell their story. Amongst the chaos, Garcia and Maurice beautifully navigate the narrative, coming together for powerful harmonies whilst also taking a moment to show their own abilities, it’s the perfect penultimate piece.

Rounding out this incredibly bold project, ‘Boundless Beings’ brings in Akenya on vocals on this dark and mysterious instrumental. Bringing poetic and vivid lyrics, aiding the saxophone’s direction, this track pushes the vocalist to new heights, with her wide-reaching range and vibrant lyricism. Providing reflection in these uncertain times and in navigating the confusion of current realities, this project seeks to take a stab at the unknown and creates something new and beautiful with what is found.

Source is released on 21 August 2020 via Concord Records. 

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