Quincy Jones presents the future of music with Jacob Collier and Justin Kauflin at Ronnie Scott's

Quincy

Quincy Jones is in the house. That fact alone should tell you something about the quality of music that was about to happen, and the house itself was Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club – named after a musician who Jones himself had welcomed into his band in Paris some 60 years ago. Seated causally among the front stalls of the club his enthusiasm for music is clearly as sharp as ever as he introduced the first of tonight’s prodigies as a “talent like no other I’ve seen before”. And while Jones is music royalty at the age of 82 he’s now mentoring the next generation of über-talent – he has some 15 young stars on his roster – none more so that 20-year old Jacob Collier, the multi-tracking video hacking wonder boy from Muswell Hill.

jacob1

Collier’s YouTube videos are brilliant yet bewildering as multiple incarnations of himself simultaneously create 14-part vocal harmonies and play a daunting number of instruments – clearly this was always going to be a challenge to reproduce live on stage. Yet thanks to his connection with Jones, Collier’s all-encompassing vision has been brought to life by a kindred-spirit in the world of advanced music tech, in the form of Ben Bloomberg of MIT in Massachusetts. He’s created a highly sensitive vocal harmonisation unit and found a way to seamlessly blend real-time performance with sophisticated backing tracks – while enabling Collier to loop various percussion, bass and keyboard parts on-the-fly without any awkward computer glitches. Adding in the video elements to all this was the ace in Collier’s pack, with a live image of himself projected onto a screen at the back of the stage. This was taken to another dimension when he began playing vocalised chords, each key produced its own Jacob face – momentarily creating a virtual choir that perfectly matched his oohs and ahs. If that was clever then more was to come as he began bouncing Tigger-like from one instrument to the next, on opener ‘Don’t You Worry Bout A Thing’, the smart video technology capturing each successive sample, then, like the music, looped the video in place. The result being a small group of Jacobs playing like a virtual band on the screen behind – and all credit to Will Young and Louis Mustill from Artists and Engineers, who created the technology to do this.

jacob3

Yet this wasn’t just about the technology, this was about enhancing a singular talent of our time. For while we live in an age where, in music at least, digital tools are often used to patch up or fix less than perfect ‘performances’, in the hands of a talent such as Collier’s it’s there to take his musical vision to mind-blowing new heights. Collier’s approach thus far has been to take songs from the 20th century and give them a full 21st century makeover – here deconstructing and reconstructing the likes of ‘Don’t You Worry…’, ‘Close To You’, ‘PYT’, ‘Smile’ and ‘Fascinating Rhythm’ with effortless abandon. His J Dilla-fication of the Carpenters’ ‘Close To You’ saw him grab a bass guitar and proceed to lay down the skankiest of funk bass lines with a perfectly lopsided feel that any hardened hip hopper would approve of. Quincy Jones’ own ‘PYT’ from Michael Jackon’s Thriller album (one of the album’s song writers Rod Temperton was also in the house tonight), was duly given the Collier treatment in a drum and percussion heavy mash-up, while a melancholic ‘Smile’ was the perfect low-key antidote for all of the former’s excess. Gershwin’s ‘Fascinating Rhythm’ may be 90 years old but again Collier took the tune way out into his own fascinating musical realm – moving from beatboxing, to angular overlaid vocal harmonies, a melodica solo, clubby beats and then a piano solo – all in the space of a couple of minutes. This is serious music that puts a massive grin on your face – and Collier should rightly have the world at his feet in years to come.

justin2

Jones’ other prodigy, 29-year old pianist Justin Kauflin, was understandably a touch reticent after such a wildly virtuosic display, “no human should have to follow that,” he said grinning modestly. Kauflin however is a young master himself, a sublimely sensitive virtuoso – blind since age 11 due exudative retinopathy – yet in no way constrained by his disability. Joined by his trio of bassist Christopher Smith and drummer Billy Williams, Kauflin played music from his Quincy Jones-produced debut Dedication, which was rich in dynamic detail and showed off his cogent mix influences that ranged from buoyant swing to elongated Jarrett-esque lines, the odd hip hop nod to Robert Glasper, Bill Evans was in there too.

justin1

While the originals showed he’s also a writer of substance – his ‘Dedication Suite’ in particular packed in odd-meters and crunchy counterpoint lines – it was his imaginative rearrangement of The Beatles’ ‘A Day In The Life’ that brought the best out of the trio. Heading into some broken-beat territory with Williams placing Collier’s tambourine over his hi-hat, and bassist Smith laying into some staccato behind-the-beat grooves, suddenly Kauflin was sailing into a wholly contemporary zone. This may have been a back to basics piano trio set – devoid of the technical pizazz of Collier – yet Kauflin is clearly in possession of a vast reserve of free flowing musicianship that is also testimony to Jones’ ear for the next big thing.

– Mike Flynn

– Photos by Carl Hyde

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Breaking News

John McLaughlin & The 4th Dimension …

  Kicking off this evening’s set with a high-octane crash through...

Read More.....

Terri Lyne Carrington, Joe Lovano and Lu…

This year’s EFG London Jazz Festival, its 27th edition, runs...

Read More.....

Stanley Clarke Captivates With Crowd-Sur…

As Return to Forever bass legend Stanley Clarke (pictured above) opened...

Read More.....

Bro, Seim and Gustafsson amid the Scandi…

  As a snapshot of the great charm of Vossa Jazz's...

Read More.....

Laura Mvula, Melt Yourself Down and Alin…

  Love Supreme continue to expand the brand by bringing an...

Read More.....

Empirical get set for Distraction Tactic…

Multi-award winning London four-piece Empirical release the second part of...

Read More.....

Thrice is the charm for APA Cole Porter …

Say what you like about America (and I frequently do)...

Read More.....

Blue Note President Don Was To Receive P…

Don Was, the President of the iconic Blue Note Records...

Read More.....

Brad Mehldau finds Gabriel on Biblical n…

Revered US pianist Brad Mehldau is set to release his...

Read More.....

Tommy Smith and the SNJO dazzle with a m…

The world premiere of Norse Myths took place at Aberdeen...

Read More.....

David Sinclair 1935 – 2019

David Sinclair, one of the most insightful and affectionately-regarded photographers...

Read More.....

Kinch and Siegel lead the collective sto…

Ousted from its Colston Hall home by the builders, the...

Read More.....

Mark Nightingale's Big Band Go Large At …

  Trombonist Mark Nightingale is the most accommodating of virtuosi. He’ll...

Read More.....

Open letter leads protest at cuts to Rad…

Over 500 leading musicians from across the jazz, folk and...

Read More.....

Guinness Cork Jazz Festival director’s ‘…

The Irish jazz world has been shaken by the sudden...

Read More.....

George Coleman, Jimmy Owens and Frank Lo…

The Annual SAM Benefit concert will be held on 13 April...

Read More.....

Cécile McLorin Salvant, Makaya McCraven …

The first names have been unveiled for this year’s EFG...

Read More.....

Turville's Quintet Dare To Dream At Brig…

This is the last show in the tour and there’s...

Read More.....

Durrant At The Double With Duo Of Improv…

Phil Durrant and Martin Vishnick (pictured) launch, Rifinitori di Momenti, their forthcoming...

Read More.....

GoGo Penguin, SEED Ensemble and Marquis …

The wider jazz programme for this year’s Love Supreme Jazz...

Read More.....

Branford Marsalis Quartet Muster Technic…

  Bookended by a short opening solo piano set from Nikki...

Read More.....

Snarky Puppy announce Royal Albert Hall …

Grammy-winning powerhouse group Snarky Puppy are gearing up for a...

Read More.....

Waithe On Song At Huntley Conference

  Along with Allison & Busby and New Beacon, Bogle L’Ouverture...

Read More.....

Turquazz: Anatolian Jazz & Roots Fes…

The inaugural Turquazz: Anatolian Jazz & Roots Festival – a...

Read More.....

Saxophonist Seamus Blake launches new al…

Acclaimed saxophonist Seamus Blake releases his new album, Guardians of...

Read More.....

Taborn's Finessed Tapestry Of Textures F…

  The large number of musicians at this sold-out show says...

Read More.....

Abdullah Ibrahim, Gregory Porter, Yazz A…

The full line-up has been announced for Cheltenham Jazz Festival...

Read More.....

Irreversible Entanglements + Matana Robe…

  Matana Roberts (above) is so relaxed tonight her short opening set...

Read More.....

Jazz FM Awards nominations celebrate gia…

The names for the 2019 Jazz FM Awards were revealed...

Read More.....

Patchwork Jazz Orchestra premiere ‘Badge…

The London-based 17-piece Patchwork Jazz Orchestra are set to release...

Read More.....

NJYO, JCM, friends and family pay tribut…

As Jon Hiseman would say: “If you are going to...

Read More.....

Sons of Kemet, Moses Boyd, Nubya Garcia …

The programme has been announced the inaugural We Out Here...

Read More.....

NCO hit bullseye with CTI at Ronnie Scot…

Tomorrow’s Warriors’ role as a springboard for emerging talent in...

Read More.....

Countdown To Ecstasy: Royal Academy Big …

  There are some people, who I've never understood, who smirk...

Read More.....

Melt Yourself Down, Laura Mvula and Kama…

The second edition of Love Supreme at the Roundhouse takes...

Read More.....

Michel Legrand 24/02/1932 – 26/01/2019

The prolific French film composer and pianist Michel Legrand was...

Read More.....

Making The Cut Mpu 300x500px

Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

John McLaughlin & The 4th Dimension Get Kinetic At Barbican Hall (Photo by Tatiana Gorilovsky)… https://t.co/mxDTxUGs2O
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
Get down to Hundred Years Gallery on Saturday 15 June for the 10th edition of Mercury Over Maps, ft Steph Horak, Pa… https://t.co/Wm0skrVpmj
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA