ALBUM REVIEW: NUBYA GARCIA – SOURCE (CONCORD JAZZ)
Photo by Adama Jalloh
Nubya Garcia has become a leading figure in London’s thriving contemporary jazz scene. In the last five years, the 28-year-old saxophonist has contributed to many outstanding releases, most notably featuring on the highly acclaimed Brownswood We Out Here compilation in 2018, alongside Mercury Prize nominated drummer Moses Boyd and Ezra Collective. In that same year, the London-bred musician picked up multiple awards including the Jazz FM Breakthrough Act.
Following on from her 2018 self-released EP When We Are the multi-award winning musician is back with her highly anticipated debut album SOURCE released on Concord Jazz. The album is produced by Garcia in collaboration with well-renowned producer Kwes and includes Joe Armon-Jones on keys, Daniel Casimir on bass, and Sam Jones on drums. The record is about recognising individual and collective power and sees Garcia reconnecting with herself, her roots, and her community.
Garcia builds on her deep-rooted jazz foundations by merging broken beat, soul, dubstep, and calypso rhythms. The album takes inspiration from jazz greats such as Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, as well as being heavily influenced by electronic experimentalist Flying Lotus. This is a deeply personal collection of songs that draws inspiration from around the globe.
The album opens up with ‘Pace’, a track that fluctuates between feelings of tranquility and intense peaks of rhythmic saxophone. A musical representation of the fast-paced and chaotic world we live in today. Next up, ‘The Message Continues’, a melodic and peaceful track touching on the importance of becoming rooted in the stories and experiences of our elders. Garcia really demonstrates the significance of becoming grounded and passing on valuable life lessons, procedures we should all be putting into practice.
The title track, ‘Source’ arrives taking you on a twelve-minute musical voyage, driven by dubby overtones and combines elements of reggae, jazz, and music from Garcia’s childhood. Accompanying her on the journey is KOKOROKO’s Sheila Maurice-Grey and Richie Seivwright. The pair provide trumpet and trombone mastery, while Garcia shares sax duties with band-mate Cassie Kinoshi, from the all-female septet Nerija. The song really highlights Garcia’s desire to bring together different cultures, communities, and sounds from around the world.
The debut album is a deeply personal account of Nubya Garcia’s journey to aligning herself with family roots and the community around her. One of the album’s themes is focused on reassessing her own values, something a lot of us can relate to in these uncertain times. SOURCE really highlights Garcia’s talent, not only for her skills as a saxophonist but as a composer too.