Nubya Garcia is an absolute force of nature. As well as seemingly being involved in everything associated with the explosion of new British jazz (she appears on at least two other albums in this annual compilation), this London-based, multiple award winning saxophonist, composer and DJ found time to release her first full album, Source, in 2020. And what an album it is.
It’s an album that is firmly rooted in jazz, but isn’t afraid to cross into reggae, latin and afro. Indeed, you get a sense that there are no boundaries in Garcia’s world. The end result is a quite stunning body of work.
The frantic, furious Pace opens the album in spectacular fashion. Garcia’s solo soars celestially before giving way to the rippling, dextrous chords of Joe Armon-Jones’s keyboard. Pace is followed by the soulful jazz of The Message Continues, centring around a memorable melody.
Before Us: In Demerara and Caura nods lovingly to her family history. It’s beautifully uplifting and melodic. Staying on that geographical theme, La Cumbia Me Está Llamando has a wonderful latin vibe that you cannot resist dancing to.
Stand With Each Other features a choir of voices accompanied by Garcia’s dreamy tenor. It conjures up images of long, hot summer days.
However, the pièce de résistance is undoubtedly the colossal title track. This is the one the really captures the essence of Garcia. It begins with dub feel, centring around the biting, sharp percussion of Sam Jones and Armon-Jones’s skanking chords. A choir of voices breathily float over the top. It builds and builds, driven by Garcia’s piercing tenor lines. Before long it is absolutely incendiary, hotter than a Staffordshire kiln. It is a quite magnificent twelve minutes of music.
All-in-all, it’s a very special album, cementing Nubya Garcia’s position is a driving force at the heart of the resurgence of British jazz.
Key track: Source