World-renowned drummer/composer, & producer/beatmaker, Myele Manzanza, has proved that he's an artist who continues to dissolve the borders between modern jazz and electronic beat production. Having released three solo albums, and racking up tours and collaborations with Jordan Rakei, Theo Parrish, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Recloose and Amp Fiddler amongst others. Myele is already developing a strong live presence in his new London base; his quartet has shared stages with the likes of Hiatus Kaiyote, The Bad Plus, Alfa Mist, and drawing packed houses to top venues such as The Jazz Café and Ronnie Scott’s.
Tapping into the vibrant scene of his adopted home, Myele now readies his next project on London-based label DeepMatter. 'Crisis & Opportunity' Vol.1 - London features a top tier cast of young London based talent including Ashley Henry (piano), James Copus (trumpet), George Crowley (tenor saxophone), Benjamin Muralt (bass) and additional contributions from the legendary Mark de Clive-Lowe (synths), with Myele Manzanza (drums) captaining the ship.
Born out of Myele’s necessity to direct his creative energy in a productive direction and maintain his growth as an artist during the 2020 Covid 19 lockdown, 'Crisis & Opportunity’ is a reflection of the time we currently live in as a global society. The EP draws the global health crisis, the parallel economic crisis as a consequence of the necessary lockdowns, and the broader racial crisis brought to the forefront as a result of the death of George Floyd. Whilst it has been a difficult time for Myele Manzanza as an artist, it’s offered him opportunities to pause, reflect, and set new creative directions. Weaving his unique blend of forward-thinking genre bending jazz, broken beat, electronica and world music, Manzanza drives ‘Crisis & Opportunity’ through a set of original compositions inspired by the city of London which he now calls home.
‘Crisis & Opportunity’ Vol. 1 documents Myele Manzanza’s artistic journey throughout the global crisis, illustrating a strong creative growth reliant on the artist’s roots and those of Jazz as a global language. Features of supreme collaborators consolidate the image of unity which London Jazz represents.
On tracks like ‘Brixton Blues’, Myele paints London’s rich and diverse cultural landscape. Myele explains: “Upon first arriving in London, I found a home in Brixton, one of the city’s most vibrant and multicultural areas. Through Brixton I got to know London in all its contradictions; vibrant markets on one side, espresso slinging co-working café’s on the other. Musically, ‘Brixton Blues’ was one of those rare compositions that started from the drums. This piece reminded me of the ‘less is more’ lesson; I decided to wear my Jimmy Cobb ‘Kind Of Blue’ hat & focus on holding the space for the soloists to speak. I’m glad I did, Ashley and James ended up delivering masterfully clear, understated solos that are a great study for any musician looking for a master study in making statements behind your instrument.”
On ‘Portobello Superhero’, Myele praises the stalwarts of London-Centric Jazz infused institutions such as CoOp, Jazz Re:Freshed and Plastic People, paying homage to its origins and infections effect on its listeners: “As a young music student back in New Zealand I discovered the scene of Broken Beat. My life was never the same since. With this track I wanted to shout out to the team at Jazz Re:Freshed who I saw help bring a London jazz sound to the world. I wanted to have something on this record that went some way to capturing that energy of a sweaty dance floor with musicians just raging out on some broken beat jazz funk vibes. PLAY IT LOUD.