Maisha, a six-piece group led by bandleader Jake Long, bring a fresh outlook to the weighty spiritual jazz tradition. Their 2016 debut EP, Welcome To A New Welcome, was released through Jazz Re:freshed (whose weekly shows and record label are an institution for forward-thinking jazz), and they were part of We Out Here, Brownswood’s early 2018 record which documented London’s jazz-influenced underground movement. The album’s title, There Is A Place, alludes to a small, secluded park which Jake Long would often retreat to, whose peaceful surrounds were the setting for regular moments of reflection. It’s also a reference to London and that underground movement. Its band members are talented musicians who’ve come through the same London circles as Long.
The album was recorded across three days in mid-2018, with songs that have grown out of their live sets over the past year or two. It’s an organic kind of refinement, and one that’s audible in the music: songs unfold slowly, each of their parts given time to breathe. Maisha carve out out their own style, mixing influences – which range from jazz to Afrobeat – through every part of their musical process. It’s a combination which has made for their own singular sound. The musicians’ improvisational instincts make There Is A Place feel like an adventurous journey through secret lands.
There Is A Place is an exceptional listen. Due to come out this week through Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings, Jake Long’s drumming finds its perfect match in saxophonist and flautist Nubya Garcia, whose early jam sessions with Long helped shaped the vibe of the band. Long and Garcia’s chemistry is augmented by Amané Suganami on keys, Twm Dylan on double bass, Shirley Tetteh on guitar, and additional percussion courtesy of Tim Doyle and Yahael Camara-Onono.