A raft of leading music industry executives have backed British jazz to make a big impact at SXSW, pledging their support for the Jazz re:freshed UK showcase of the nation’s most exciting new talent.
UK label, club night and annual festival Jazz re:freshed and British Underground recently launched a two-year international music project called Outernational, which shines a spotlight on British jazz talent via a series of showcases at international music events Afropunk and SXSW.
The SXSW showcase, which takes place on March 15, has picked up support from US radio network NPR, which highlighted artists Moses Boyd Exodus and Yussef Kamaal in its artists to watch Austin 100 playlist feature. Jazz re:freshed will also be hosting a networking boat party on March 16, featuring performances from Moses Boyd Exodus and Shabaka Hutchings.
Artist performing as part of the showcase are Sarathy Korwar, GoGo Penguin, Native Dancer, United Vibrations, Moses Boyd Exodus and Yussef Kamaal feat. Shabaka Hutchings.
Among those backing this year’s showcase to significantly raise the profile of UK jazz at SXSW is Arts Council England’s director of music, Helen Sprott, who said: “Arts Council England has a long history of supporting exceptional talent to thrive internationally, championing the wealth of diverse artists that our country continues to produce. We are delighted that two Arts Council funded organisations, British Underground and Jazz re:freshed, are partnering in this unique showcase at SXSW, presenting some of the most forward-looking musicians England has to offer. I look forward to seeing these exciting artists in action in Austin and watching their international careers develop over the coming years.”
Meanwhile, BPI Director of Communications, Gennaro Castaldo added: “One of the strengths of British music is its sheer depth and diversity across so many genres and artistic styles. It’s important that we continue to give a platform to different types of music and make these accessible to as wide an audience as possible, whether to inspire the next generation of talent or to encourage fans to discover new music. Like UK grime and country, which have also been making an impact, emerging British jazz is exciting a great deal of interest, and events like the Jazz re:freshed showcase at SXSW can only bring a tipping point closer to hand.”
PRS For Music Foundation chief executive Vanessa Reed also said: “We are delighted to be funding GoGo Penguin and Sarathy Korwar through PRS Foundation’s International Showcase Fund - which is helping a record 37 UK artists at this year’s SXSW festival. As UK jazz finally gets its turn in the spotlight, I hope that the British music industry will seize this opportunity to increase their recognition and support of UK jazz internationally and at home.”
Don Was, president of Blue Note Records, said of the UK jazz scene: “Like Ornette Coleman or The Grateful Dead, UK artists like GoGo Penguin have developed their own brand of improvisation that never fails to mesmerise the audience.”