- Phil Freeman
The eighth episode of the Burning Ambulance podcast is a special one. New York’s Winter Jazzfest brings artists from around the globe to the city every year, and packs out nightclubs with audiences excited to hear the best new music around. This year, the UK made a very strong showing, with multiple performers appearing individually and together. And since I had been impressed by the work of multiple British jazz artists last year, I decided to gather some of the best players around in one room at one time, for a conversation about the state of British jazz, their own work, and much more. This episode, I talked to clarinetist/saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings , who leads three groups— Sons of Kemet, The Comet is Coming, and Shabaka and the Ancestors—and who is on the cover of the current issue of The Wire; trumpeter Yazz Ahmed, whose second album La Saboteuse placed on multiple critics’ year-end lists, including mine; and saxophonist Nubya Garcia, who released her debut EP as a leader, the six-track Nubya’s 5ive, in 2017. Hutchings and Garcia are also heavily featured on the forthcoming UK jazz compilation We Out Here; he was the musical director of the project, and she plays on five of its nine tracks. This episode was a challenge to set up, juggling everyone’s schedules, but we met on a Thursday afternoon in a rehearsal room at the New School and talked for well over an hour about their individual careers, the state of British jazz generally, Brexit, and much more. Special thanks go out to Matt Merewitz for setting it up.