Your Ticket to… the 2010s

Handpicked by Jane Cocklin


Orchestra Baobab – Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng [World Circuit; 2017]
Any fans of world music will be familiar with long-standing Senegalese band Orchestra Baobab formed in the 1970s.  The group put African music on record players and into clubs throughout Europe with their addictive danceable rhythms. The ten-piece recently reformed to pay tribute to one of their former singer Ndiouga Dieng and definitely do him great justice. The catchy riffs and grooves will carry you through to dawn without noticing how much your feet hurt until the sun rises.

Sekou Keita – 22 Strings [ARC Music; 2015]
Keita is a Senegalese kora maestro and never fails to spread warmth with his beaming smile throughout his live performances. This album is a solo offering which showcases his sheer virtuosity and dexterity with his instrument.  He honed his skills from childhood, learning from elders in his griot family.  His playing stays beautiful and charming and avoids trying too hard.  A great album to listen to when unwinding from a long day and will leave you in a state of zen.  Before hitting the sack, put on ‘If Only I Knew’ and sink into the warmth of his vocal layers.

Mark Kavuma – Banger Factory [Ubuntu Music; 2019]
This was an album that got under my skin immediately at the launch this year.  Born and raised in Uganda, Kavuma is a trumpeter who is becoming a leader and well-respected composer on the UK jazz scene.  This album brings together some of London’s finest jazz players and pulls contemporary influences from younger players with multicultural backgrounds. This is jazz with some pumping hip-hop vibes injected from time to time. This record is performed by one of my favourite rhythm sections Michael Shrimpling on double bass and Will Cleasby on drums.  Check out the title track to get you in the mood for your first drink of the weekend.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band – So It Is [Sub Pop; 2018]
This group are culture bearers of New Orleans music that mix traditional jazz with Cuban and Latin sounds. This style of music and artists like Allen Toussiant, Lee Dorsey and Professor Longhair is what gave birth to my obsession with music, and I have a special place in my heart for this band. These performers are legends of the blues, jazz and gospel blend and know how to bring the party both behind the instruments and backstage.  This music has been honed bopping along the cobbled streets of Louisiana. Even Dave Grolsch is a fan. Their more recent releases really infuse Cuban style into their repertoire, so check out their latest catalogue too.

Kansas Smitty’s – Broadway 2018 [2018]
An East London sentimental choice! This is a neighbourhood jazz band with their own basement bar in Hackney that never fails to engage and bring the best live musicians to their stage. Inspired by the old sounds of Kansas City and New Orleans, the house band also mix Brazilian and Latin influences to bring instantly loveable jazz tunes with a twist. This is one of my most-played records in the last few years that never fails to get me out of bed with a smile on a weekend morning.