EZH saying goodbye for now \\ 2014-2018
Founder Tina Edwards signs off four years of EZH
In 2014, Nubya Garcia was still at university, Ezra Collective were yet to play their first live show and Sons of Kemet were one album in. Since EZH begun as a weekly radio show on a small East London station (then known as Jazz Standard), I’ve seen the UK Jazz scene change dramatically; even the very word “Jazz” — which felt dirty to so many twenty-somethings only a few years ago — has been given a rejuvenating facelift.
When we launched the website in March 2016, we had no idea what was to come. We have always believed in the music we are pushing and have never waited for other magazines or radio shows to decide what’s cool. We’ve championed the likes of Poppy Ajudha since her first track landed on Soundcloud in 2015, highlighted the criminally under-celebrated Bottle Tree as 2017’s best release and foresaw Joe Armon-Jones‘ sparkling solo career with our predictions at the start of 2017. We’ve hosted some of the UK’s most formidable UK talent at SXSW and The Great Escape and interviewed some of the biggest musicians on the planet.
We announce the end of EZH but foresee a completely fresh landscape in music, spearheaded by the digital age and a movement in London that will go down in history.
In London, Jazz-trained artists have nodded to the traditions of their art form whilst bravely taking it forward to somewhere almost unrecognisable. They are creating music informed by an unending digital vortex of influences from trap to Carribean folk.
This is the first time that Jazz has been reinvented since the internet became a thing. For the first time we can document the gigs, releases and unforgettable jams around us via social media and blogs that can potentially be sourced for generations.
As our goodbye (for now?) message we encourage you to continue to document the music that makes you breathe deeply and thank God/angels/Sun Ra that you’re alive. Too long has this music — black music — been archived by one demographic. So please, if you are a writer, broadcaster or DJ of any colour, gender or belief system, make sure that your voice is being heard because it’s articles, radio shows, posters and the like that will archive your version of history. Every perspective is as valid as the next; let us look back at this remarkable time in music with a version of history that we can all remember.
When I started Jazz Standard/EZH, it was an outlet for me to share the new music I was discovering. Having just graduated from Music Journalism at UCA, I had eclectic tastes but considered myself a indie-kid. And then I discovered Sons of Kemet. And Polar Bear. And Tomazs Stanko thanks to Homeland Season one’s opening credits — I can happily thank Homeland for expanding my listening habits to Jazz. In turn, Jazz has expanded my tastes in music to sounds unlimited to genre titles — I never expected that my weekly radio show would evolve to a website with over twenty contributors from around the world.
CHICAGOxLONDON has also been an incredible experience, one that will continue to resonate across the Atlantic throughout 2018. Whilst EZH is coming to an end, the relationships that formed during that time will continue to strengthen. We promise, there is more to come on this front.
I could write thousands of words about how to follow this music around the world. But to focus on London, there are so many ways to immerse yourself in this incredible movement, whether you’re a seasoned fan or completely new to this music. Follow the activities of Total Refreshment Centre, Jazz re:freshed, Worldwide FM, Tomorrow’s Warriors and Musica Macondo for starters.
Post EZH, I will continue to be sharing the music I love and championing shape-shifting Jazz in other ways. I can’t reveal too much about those plans for now, but I can share news about a new radio show; you can listen to Worldwide Daily, 10-11AM BST on Gilles Peterson‘s Worldwide FM, where I’ll be sharing hosting duties with Thris Tian on the station’s first daily programme starting 4 June.
To every musician, music fan, reader and listener that has had anything to do with EZH along the way, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for sharing this journey with us. It’s the end of EZH — but the beginning of the most exciting time in music this century.
Side note: Shan and Oran will kill me for uploading this picture but given that they are the two thirds of EZH that you don’t see, here they are.
Will Shanahan \\ Tina Edwards \\ Oran Manenti