Review: The Riot Jazz Brass Band

Filmed and recorded live at Band on the Wall, Manchester (Jan '17). Arranged by Sam Warner

As a recently adopted Londoner, I am quite surprised to observe how much the city varies from one neighbourhood to the other. When I arrived in Brixton it was like being in another country –a long-haired old man smoking weed in front of his two metres square Jamaican delicatessen shop; people dancing in the middle of the street and improvising what looked like a party under the train rails; pubs where a point of beer is £2.50 (£ 2.50!) I made my way to The Blues Kitchen, where I knew there was supposed to be an interesting gig. I did not know I would find myself in the most energetic jazz-afro beat gig I have seen in a while.

The Riot Jazz Brass Band is a nine members-band from Manchester that has gained some respect in the past few years roaming the country from street performances to festivals. Their fire-jazz mixed with afro beats and stumping rhythms is a real criss-cross of genres and it is quite difficult to pin down. Three trumpets, three trombones, drums, sousaphone and an MC is quite a mix and it gives The Riot Jazz a strong and clear sound. Something like Fela Kuti mixed with A Tribe Called Quest and reinterpreted through a kind of ‘right here, right now’ joy –it doesn’t seem that anything exists in The Riot Jazz’s music outside ‘dance dance dance, right now’.

The upper floor of The Blues Kitchen was transformed into a hot, sweaty, jumping Cuban venue for a while that night. I would definitely go back to see The Riot Jazz Brass Band if I knew they were in town, and so should you.

Marina Dora Martino