Alfa Mist is at the forefront of a jazz resurgence in London. Photograph: Wyatt Dixon

There is something quite special about going to a gig and not having to watch a performer through a field of raised smartphones, all capturing the moment through the glare of a screen.

This happened at Alfa Mist’s concert at EartH last week and I thought, ‘Am I getting old?’

Nowadays, jazz in London is often associated with an older, mostly white, probably middle-class audience, and cast as elitist and conservative.

But a burgeoning scene is reinventing the sound across the capital, and Alfa Mist, a producer, composer and pianist from Newham, is a shining light of this movement.

He recently sold out two dates at EartH and drew a large, enthusiastic crowd of millennials – as well as an older demographic too.

Unlike younger millennials, those closer to teenagehood, the audience was too cool to take a snap for the ‘Gram.

People enjoying a gig without a phone in sight – who’d have thought?
Photograph: Wyatt Dixon

Alfa Mist sat at a grand piano, surrounded by two other keyboards, giving the impression that he might start playing a different instrument with each hand.

He recently released a solo piano project, called On My Ones, but this time he was accompanied by a guitar, a bass, a saxophone, a trumpet, and drums.

The music was unorthodox, at once playful and melancholic.

There were irregular pauses, moody horns and soft chords – melodies interlaced seamlessly.

Stellar solos often powered through, including a dreamy guitar arpeggio and bassist Kaya Thomas-Dyke’s vocals in ‘Breathe’.

Alfa, who began producing grime and hip-hop, always includes one rap in his releases.

In ‘Glad I Lived’, a pensive track from 2019’s Structuralism, he says: “I need to slow my mind, or sleep with open eyes.”

The gig ended with a standing ovation, after singer Jordan Rakei joined Alfa on stage to perform ‘Door’.

The coronavirus outbreak sadly means the Hackney Citizen is unable to print a monthly newspaper for the first time in its 12-year history.

At a time when independent and trusted news is more important than ever, this was an incredibly difficult decision to have to make.

Without print advertising, our major source of income, a one-off donation from anyone who can afford it will help our small team keep the website and social media feeds running through this unprecedented crisis.

When Hackney and the wider world has fought off this virus and we return to some semblance of normality, the print edition will be back.

Find out how you can donate

Thanks in advance for your support, and stay safe.