But all this mainstream attention on jazz would have been meaningless had the rising generation of UK musicians not also built their own thriving community of support and collaboration. In East London, DIY nights, like Church of Sound in Clapton and Dalston’s Total Refreshment Centre became hubs for collaboration and performance, as have South London clubnights like Steez and Steam Down. It’s no longer unexpected to hear major DJs like Floating Points and Four Tet dropping songs like “Rye Lane Shuffle” by Moses Boyd and others in their sets.
The question is: what makes this new British jazz sound so unique? “I guess it’s the DNA of it; London’s unique,” says Boyd. “There’s a stronger West Indian Diaspora in the music and the rhythms. London has that experience where you can go to Brixton and feel like you’re in little Jamaica, or North London and feel like you’re in Turkey. I feel the music is a reflection of that wider integration.”
“It was almost like a statement: let’s rejoin jazz and hip-hop again.”
UK rappers like Little Simz and Kojey Radical have begun to incorporate jazzy inflections into their sound, and Boyd thinks it’s a matter of time before we have a true UK rap crossover moment. “I feel it’s gonna come from the next crop: your Octavian’s, your Slowthai’s, your Dave’s. The younger rappers who are a bit more switched on to what’s happening.”
For now, Boyd is focused on finishing off a brand new album and his new residency on BBC Radio 1Xtra. Instead of having another show of simply music and talking, he has created a fluid mixture of interviews and improvised jams. “Every show I’ve tried to make it unique. My thing is, if you put out a vibration, you get stuff back. And now I’m seeing more DJs changing their show formats because it made an impact. They are doing more live stuff, which is great,” he says, with a smile. “I went in guns blazing!”