London Brew is the debut album by London Brew, a band consisting of a dozen British jazz musicians including Nubya Garcia, BBC Radio 1 presenter Benji B, and multiple members of Sons of Kemet and the Invisible.[2] The album was released on 31 March 2023.

Background and recording

The band was assembled by producer and guitarist Martin Terefe and executive producer Bruce Lampcov for a series of concerts in major cities across Europe,[3] starting with one at the Barbican Centre[4] celebrating the 50th anniversary of Miles Davis' Bitches Brew which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[5]

In place of the concert, the group assembled at the Church Studios in North London in December 2020, starting five days after the end of the UK's second COVID-19 lockdown, to record the album, an improvised set inspired by Bitches Brew. The recording took place over three days. The process started with pre-production work by Terefe and the Invisible's Dave Okumu, which Okumu described as Terefe sharing "a vision rooted in inspiration and celebration rather than faithful recreation". Benji B was brought in to feed Terefe's and Okumu's initial sketches to the ensemble. Okumu said the recording process was full of "so many special moments" such as "Shabaka and Nubya speaking to each other through their horns or Theon Cross dropping the heaviest bass line this side of lockdown."[3]

Terefe, left with over 12 hours of material from the sessions, said he mixed them "like a non-jazz record" with "no editing at all, except deciding where to start and end a song", a decision he considered "the least conventional thing to do". Terefe called the results a "new piece of music that taps into Miles's mindset at the time and our emotion of having been through the pandemic", and said "calling the album 'Inspired by Bitches Brew' comes the closest" to explaining it.[3]

Release

The album was announced 19 January 2023 along with the release of lead single "Miles Chases New Voodoo in the Church", an interpretation of Davis' Jimi Hendrix-inspired "Miles Runs the Voodoo Down",[6] and was released by Concord Jazz on 31 March.[4][5] The second single, "Raven Flies Low", was released 9 March. It is said to match "rugged funk aspects in the beat to glorious melodies wrought from the effects-laden violin of Raven Bush."[7] Terefe said that in mixing the track, he "fell into focusing on the continuous flow [of] Raven's violin melodies and electronic pedal orchestrations. His mini compositions moved so brilliantly under the radar and this one blew my mind. I chose the title inspired by the track 'John McLaughlin' on Bitches Brew. Simply a hats off to a maestro at work."[8]

Reception

London Brew ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic84/100[9]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[10]
Mojo[11]
Sputnikmusic3.5/5[1]
Uncut[12]

According to the review aggregator Metacritic, London Brew received "universal acclaim" based on a weighted average score of 84 out of 100 from 6 critic scores.[9]

Year-end lists

London Brew on year-end lists
Publication#Ref.
BrooklynVegan
(Jazz Albums)
[13]
Uncut51[14]

Track listing

London Brew track listing
No.TitleLength
1."London Brew"23:34
2."London Brew Pt.2 – Trainlines"15:47
3."Miles Chases New Voodoo in the Church"7:27
4."Nu Sha Ni Sha Nu Oss Ra"8:54
5."It's One of These"6:54
6."Bassics"2:50
7."Mor Ning Prayers"9:52
8."Raven Flies Low"12:57
Total length:88:15

Personnel

Sourced from JamBase.[15]

Charts

Chart performance for London Brew
Chart (2023)Peak
position
Scottish Albums (OCC)[16]42
UK Jazz & Blues Albums (OCC)[17]2

References

  1. ^ a b "Review: London Brew - London Brew". Sputnikmusic. 30 March 2023. Retrieved 31 March 2023.
  2. ^ "Miles Davis-inspired London Brew album to feature Shabaka Hutchings, Nubya Garcia, Tom Skinner". Treble. 19 January 2023. Retrieved 20 January 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d e Cowan, Andy (March 2023). "London Brew: Miles Davis' Fusion Landmark Re-Imagined (But Where Do Westlife Fit In?)". Mojo (published January 2023). p. 19. Retrieved 26 January 2023.
  4. ^ a b Kenneally, Cerys (19 January 2023). "Nubya Garcia, Shabaka Hutchings, Dave Okumu, Tom Skinner and more announce new album inspired by Miles Davis' Bitches Brew". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved 20 January 2023.
  5. ^ a b Ruiz, Matthew Ismael (19 January 2023). "Nubya Garcia, Shabaka Hutchings, Tom Skinner, and More Announce Miles Davis Tribute Album London Brew". Pitchfork. Retrieved 20 January 2023.
  6. ^ "Nubya Garcia, Shabaka Hutchings, Dave Okumu and more release Miles Davis-inspired London Brew LP". Jazzwise. 19 January 2023. Retrieved 20 January 2023.
  7. ^ Murray, Robin (9 March 2023). "Jazz All-Stars London Brew Share "Raven Flies Low"". Clash. Retrieved 9 March 2023.
  8. ^ Pappis, Konstantinos (9 March 2023). "London Brew Share New Single "Raven Flies Low"". Our Culture. Retrieved 9 March 2023.
  9. ^ a b "London Brew by London Brew Reviews and Tracks". Metacritic. Retrieved 31 March 2023.
  10. ^ Jurek, Thom. "London Brew - London Brew". AllMusic. Retrieved 31 March 2023.
  11. ^ "London Brew - London Brew". Mojo. May 2023. p. 84.
  12. ^ Lewis, John (31 March 2023). "London Brew – London Brew". Uncut. Retrieved 31 March 2023.
  13. ^ Sacher, Andrew (15 December 2023). "10 Great Jazz Albums from 2023". BrooklynVegan. Retrieved 18 December 2023.
  14. ^ "Uncut's 75 Best Albums of 2023". Uncut. 7 November 2023.
  15. ^ Kahn, Andy (19 January 2023). "Nubya Garcia, Shabaka Hutchings, Tom Skinner & More Prep Miles Davis Tribute London Brew". JamBase. Retrieved 20 January 2023.
  16. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 22 April 2023.
  17. ^ "Official Jazz & Blues Albums Chart Top 30". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 28, 2024.