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’.

earthackney.co.uk


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