Jazz Café, Sat­urday 16th June 2018

 Hip-hop is a glob­al cul­ture that has reached all corners of the world and nobody embod­ied that more than Japan­ese pro­du­cer, DJ and record label own­er Jun Seba (more famil­iarly known in reverse as Nujabes).  Tra­gic­ally killed in 2010 in a traffic col­li­sion in his home city Tokyo his sad passing has seen his innov­at­ive and influ­en­tial work cel­eb­rated all over the world.  Dur­ing his life­time he released two albums, Meta­phor­ic­al Music and Mod­al Soul, both of which were her­al­ded as flaw­less examples of instru­ment­al and jazzy hip-hop.  He also released vari­ous oth­er pro­jects such as soundtracks, lim­ited vinyl releases and ran the Hydeout Pro­duc­tions record label who are able to boast Japan­ese, Brit­ish and US artists among their glit­ter­ing alumni.

Occupy­ing that claus­tro­phobic space between elec­tron­ic trip-hop such as DJ Shad­ow or The Ava­lanches and the beat-tape instru­ment­al hip-hop gen­er­a­tion made pop­u­lar by the likes of J Dilla and Madlib, his death has seem­ingly elev­ated the appre­ci­ation for his bril­liance even fur­ther.  Atmo­spher­ic, jazzy and deeply soul­ful his rich vari­ety of samples were selec­ted and orches­trated to per­fec­tion and he is rightly acknow­ledged as one of the best post-90s pro­du­cers in the sub­ter­ranean hip-hop scene. This influ­ence has led to him becom­ing one of the big pion­eers of the Band­camp / Sound­cloud lo-fi genre, which was once a small niche but is now a recog­nis­able micro-genre.


It was London’s turn to pay homage to his music on a warm Sat­urday even­ing inside the ever-reli­able Jazz CaféA diverse crowd packed out the place to watch Stompy’s Play­ground, an elev­en-piece ensemble, who spe­cial­ise in recre­at­ing elec­tron­ic-based music with their vast array of multi-tal­en­ted musi­cians.  Aided by Kidkanevil on the decks they impress­ively worked their way through the vari­ous chapters in Nujabes’s cata­logue, emphas­ising the jazzy breaks and samples which he was so drawn to.

The audi­ence were treated to won­der­ful re-ima­gin­a­tions of his slow-mov­ing, melod­ic sounds which left them trans­fixed by the beauty of their re-cre­ation.  The group were equally adept at feed­ing off the high-energy of the crowd, with mem­bers of the group tak­ing turns to execute and extend the cli­mat­ic intens­ity of some of Nujabes’s finest moments.

To do his music justice is always a very tall order but Stompy’s Play­ground were able to cap­ture and hold the soul of his bril­liance and deliv­er a show that per­fectly cel­eb­rated his life and music.  It is also anoth­er tri­umph for the Jazz Café who rightly retain their place at the top of the pile when it comes to sat­is­fy­ing music lov­ers with their invent­ive line-up of shows.  A great night and a won­der­ful trib­ute to a man who con­tin­ues to live on through his music.



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Alex Gordon

Alex Gordon

Between 9–5 I’m a pas­sion­ate teach­er for teen­agers with spe­cial needs and dis­en­gaged young people. From 5–9 I’m a left-wing hip-hop head who fell in love with the music in the mid-90’s. Also have an equal love for jazz, soul and funk, am an avid record col­lect­or, lov­er of live shows and occa­sion­al DJ.

About Alex Gordon

Alex Gordon
Between 9-5 I'm a passionate teacher for teenagers with special needs and disengaged young people. From 5-9 I'm a left-wing hip-hop head who fell in love with the music in the mid-90’s. Also have an equal love for jazz, soul and funk, am an avid record collector, lover of live shows and occasional DJ.