Digital Digger’s Choice: Nerija, an all-female jazz septet breaking down stereotypes in the male dominated jazz industry.
London is known for having an incredible jazz scene which attracts jazz enthusiasts from all over the world. The city has over the years had a habit of producing young and exciting talent which eventually breaks into the jazz limelight. In more recent times, particularly from 2014 to 2016, we have witnessed a rise in acts like Yussef Kamaal, Ashley Henry, EZRA Collective, Blue Lab Beats, Shabaka Hutchings, just to name a few. The London youth are carving their own way and expressing how they understand jazz and what it means to them and that obviously comes with a little bit of resistance from the jazz elders. This new generation of jazz artists is powered by a spirit of defiance which one can interpret as a youthful liberation and expression. One band that is not only defying general norms in jazz but also inadvertently breaking down stereotypes about women in jazz is Nerija. In many cases, women that are in jazz are quickly tagged as singers because that has been a common role that many women in jazz have played throughout the history of the genre. Women like Alice Coltrane, Terri Lyne Carrington, Carla Bley, just to name a few who are pioneers in their own right have laid the foundation for all-female bands like Nerija.
The band consists of Sheila Maurice-Grey(Trumpet/Flugelhorn), Cassie Kinoshi(Alto Saxophone), Nubya Garcia(Tenor Saxophone), Shirley Tetteh(Guitar), Inga Eichler(Bass) and Lizzy Exell(Drums). Each band member is an incredible artist and this is seen in the way they compose and blend their respective musical skill sets.
Nerija released a self-titled 5-track EP on the 30th of September which acts as an interesting introduction into their sound. The project consists of lovely soundscapes which allow for a transcendence of different types moods and emotions-one can be start with head-nodding and dancing carelessly to being caught deep in thought in solitude or even vibing with friends or family. Yes, it’s that type of project, it can be enjoyed anywhere and everywhere.
You can stream and buy the digital album or purchase a physical copy(CD) below.
You do not need to break the bank with this musical treat.