Album Review: Nubya Garcia – SOURCE [Concord Jazz; August 2020]

SOURCE is the first long player by tenor saxophonist and one of London’s young jazz luminaries Nubya Garcia. London has been the campus for what has been happening in jazz lately, and the hothouse of Tomorrow’s Warriors and Trinity Laban Conservatoire along with nights like Jazz Re:freshed and Church of Sound, have helped propel artists like Garcia to international stages. With SOURCE (released in August by Concord Jazz) this journey comes full circle.

Inspired by life on the road and a homesickness for London and what Garcia describes as `communities and bubbles of goodness’ the nine tunes see Garcia reunited with a who’s who of young UK jazz talent, proving beyond doubt why she won 2018’s Jazz FM Breakthrough Act of the Year Award

Produced by Garcia herself in collaboration with celebrated producer Kwes, who has also sat behind the desk for Bobby Womack and Solange, the record (and you really should try and to drop a stylus on it if you can) was recorded at London’s iconic Soup Studios – the floating analogue-recording studio on a boat moored in East London.

The set opens suddenly with ‘Pace’, a washy soundscape of Joe Armon Jones’ keys over which Nubya’s ethereal tenor sax spirals like incense, setting the musical mood for the album.

Title track ‘Source’ is anchored by the bass of Daniel Casimir locked in with the pocket one-drop groove of Sam Barrell Jones, and is the first of two tracks to feature the frontline of London’s finest ambassadors of Afrobeat, Kokoroko. The trio of Sheila Maurice-Grey, Richie Seivright, Cassie Kinoshi also show up on ‘Stand with Each Other’ a beautiful expression of the friendship and community out of which this young generation has created their own sound. The tune features a Nyabinghi rhythm borrowed from Rastafarian ceremonies and is a musical libation and easily the album highlight. 

Garcia also teams up with all female cumbia collective La Perla for ‘La Cumbia Me Está Llamando’. In this sense the album draws on the sounds Garcia has encountered touring the world, which of course she was able to seek out in London too. This collaboration is another celebration of sisterhood and Garcia is one of many amazing women on the current scene who are leading bands. This is no accident and is the result of the intervention of Tomorrow’s Warriors to encourage and support more women in jazz, along with people of colour. 

Source then is another impressive statement from this new vanguard of jazz talent and from here Garcia will undoubtedly continue to fly.