Reasserting itself as an important and influencing ingredient in the genres we know and love today , Jazz music over the past few years has made a considerable come back. You don’t have to venture far to find evidence of this. In 2018, at the tender age of 20, Bellaire released his debut album titled Paris City Jazz, a jazz infused classic ‘four to the floor’ house album which rocketed him to the forefront of the underground electronic music scene. Other examples find form in the likes of Thundercat, the eccentric Californian Jazz basist who last year shared a stage with the likes of Flying lotus, Giles Peterson and lo-fi fan favourite Ross from Friends at the London 02 academy. But Probably the most blatant and arguably most important example is that of Kendrick Lamar, who for his third studio album ‘to pimp a butterfly’ utilised a plethora of contemporary jazz artists. Pianist Robert Glasper and saxophonist Kamasi Washington collaborated with the LA native, bringing together a heavily jazz inspired album which received critical acclaim across the board.
We met up with Sketches on Duality, a 5-piece band from Vienna who embody this new wave spin on the genre in the best possible way. A group that combine a mix of hip-hop, spoken word, jazz and everything in-between to create their very distinctive style. Described simply by their lead singer Jahson, ‘the scientist’ as “a fusion of people into different styles but all anchored by the love of jazz music”.
Founded in late 2015, the collective have developed their skillset together after completing 2 tours and countless hours of experimenting. All members of the band really bring their own style to their performance; from the space like synths on the keys to the metallic guitar riffs. A final product is what we witnessed at this years Sound City, they are not a conventional Jazz band in the slightest
The eccentric style Sketches embody finds its roots in their home town, Vienna: “In Vienna there’s a real hub of music, a very groove based music scene, all in the moment you know, someone could walk in with one groove then someone else could expand on that & it just keeps building & building from there. Real layers to the sessions which is what music’s all about.” The quintet seems to be a glimpse of the talent that is present in Vienna’s vibrant music scene. An open community where people jam together to test out collaborating sounds that they haven’t yet tried, new interactions leading to new sounds and relationships. This nurtures the ability to form a sound that goes against the borders placed on genres in most societies. A long lasting bond can be formed as occurred with Sketches, performing whilst also in admiration of each other’s musical talent.
In regard to the creating process we quickly learnt that it is very much a team effort, despite this all members exercise their freedom to play what is individually desired. A factor which clearly underpins their creative style, “No-one in the band has to play anything they don’t want to play, everyone in the band creates their own part then through the jamming sessions them parts can be moulded naturally just through playing with each other. We could go into a jamming session with one idea for a song then come out with something completely different which is the great thing about that, and because everyone is coming in with their own part and ideas I feel like we give & take inspiration from all of us.’ Although Jazz unites them, it is their ability to adapt to each other’s sound that differs them from others, adding an essential dimension that other groups often fail to gage.
The future is bright for this exciting collection of artists. Next up for Sketches is the release of their music video for their second single oxygen on the 17th of May. The music video was shot in “Vienna & outer space…” so be sure to expect a lot of moonwalking and other worldly scenes from the fellas. The big launch party for their album, Spectrum, will take place in the legendary jazz club, Porgy & Bess in Vienna on the 2nd of June. The 11-track album itself will be released on 24th May. We were luckily enough to hear the album ahead of this and trust us, you are in for a treat…
SKETCHES ON DUALITY Jahson the Scientist | vocalsHeli Mühlbacher | guitarFelipe Scolfaro Crema | keysPhilipp Kienberger | bassMichael Prowaznik | drums
Tour dates;Porgy & Bess | ‘Spectrum’ Album Release, Vienna, June 2nd Rosa Laub Festival, Germany, July 12th, Afrika Tage Festival, Vienna, August 11th