Joe Armon-Jones and his ensemble played their trance-like fusion of dub and jazz on an incredibly wet and windy Sunday night in Brighton’s seafront venue, Patterns. The keyboardist and producer released his first solo album in 2018, which showcased him as a songwriter and arranger with his unique dub jazz. He was one of the founding members of Ezra Collective and he has also been a long-time collaborator with saxophonist Nubya Garcia.
After only just managing to make it to the seafront venue without getting blown into the sea from Storm Ciara, I was richly rewarded. Joe and his ensemble’s performance was the perfect storm escape with their hypnotic rhythms and incredible individual performances. His band was well-rehearsed, and the rhythm section was tight, providing perfect backing for solos with great interplay between them and Joe’s keyboard solos. Vocalist Asheber gave a heartfelt performance and dedicated their final song to the 72 that lost their lives and 74 injured in the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.
I have seen Joe live a few times performing with Ezra Collective and Nubya Garcia but seeing him solo showed how versatile, and natural a player he is. Joe shows us his talent with his unique blend of influences from dub to afrobeat to soul. Both his solo albums are recommended for the ultimate chill out and introspective records. His work with Nubya Garcia and in Ezra Collective is, of course, highly recommended too with both being regulars on the jazz festival circuit, so keep an eye out over summer.