Kinetika Bloco: Legacy

South London collective draws on Caribbean, Brazilian, African and New Orleans influence in a set including Ellington's Caravan


Kinetika Bloco, founded by Mat Fox, is a buoyant mix of young brass, woodwind and steel-pan players, a drummer and dynamic dancers. The group sounds like a British carnival for today, drawing on a Caribbean, Brazilian, African and New Orleanian influence. Legacy celebrates Kinetika Bloco’s 21st anniversary.

The album begins with a rendition of Duke Ellington, Juan Tizol and Irving Mills’ Caravan. Kinetika Bloco’s heavy use of percussion adds something very special to this jazz classic and they convey their carnival sound throughout this loud and vibrant track. The wonderfully joyful mood is sustained through the next two tracks, Remedy and Commanders Call, with some very impressive solo trumpet interludes in the latter.

The fourth track, Honesty, introduces a new, darker and moodier side to the group’s sound, showcasing their musical versatility. It begins with some pensive and sombre chords in the brass section which are then joined by slow drum work and a fast, chaotic piano accompaniment.

The fifth track, The Ted Williams Villanelle, is another drastic contrast to the beginning of the album, a whole track of spoken word from Andy Grappy. He tells us not to “let anybody mess with [our] swing”. This transitions into the next track, Papa Fox; it’s centred on New Orleans funk with an organ introduction from Reuben James which changes into a brass chorus with some virtuosic guitar licks from Artie Zaitz.

The seventh track, Door Of Breath, features the only singing on the album by Shayanna Dyer Harris. Her smooth, passionate vocals are accompanied by subtle sounds from the organ and guitar, producing a reflective and heavenly quality.

Kinetika Bloco was founded on the idea that music is a language informed by the spirit of community, in this case of South London. It claims to have given many young artists an opportunity to collaborate in exciting, life-affirming music-making and that seems evident in Legacy.

Caravan; Remedy; Commanders Call; Honesty; The Ted Williams Villanelle; Papa Fox; Door If Breath; Guided By The Light With Announcements; Echoes Of Palmares (48.02)

Personnel includes Andy Grappy (v); Artie Zaitz (g); Reuben James (p, o); Shayanna Dyer Harris (v). 22 & 23 July 2021, Fish Factory Studios, London.
Banger Factory Records, BF002