London based label 22a have been ruffling a few feathers over the last year with their no-nonsense brand of dance music acting as a creative hub for a collective of like-minded musicians; Tenderlonious, Al Dobson Jr, Jeen Bassa, Mo Kolours, Reginald Omas Mamode IV and Henry Wu. Now into the label’s sixth release, comes their first ever album by Ruby Rushton.
Tearing up the rule book, reaching beyond traditional jazz and coffee table conformity, this innovative quartet fuse hip-hop, afro-beat and electronic music to create “tomorrow’s music, tomorrow’s sound.”
Ruby Rushton’s debut album “Two For Joy” was recorded in 2011 – deeply personal instrumental compositions fuelled by a love of Coltrane, Yusef Lateef and Fela Kuti to more contemporary artists like Slum Village and Sa-Ra. The four-piece are led by Ed Cawthorne (aka Tenderlonious) who plays saxophone, flute and percussion alongside drummer Yussef Dayes, trumpeter Nick Walters and keyboard player Aidan Shepherd.
“In 2007 my life took a major turn and I was faced with some difficult circumstances. It was at this time that I decided to pursue the saxophone and develop my understanding of music,” Tenderlonious explains.
“Up until that point I had been producing music using samples from records that I had collected over the years. There was an album by Yusef Lateef called ‘The Golden Flute’ that I had stumbled upon by chance,” Tenderlonious adds. “I didn’t realise the power of his music at first – I spent more time sampling records than actually listening to them; however, it’s relevance soon became apparent to me. His tone was so unique and I found that I identified with it more than any other music I’d heard before. He also had a strong spiritual element to his sound, which I didn’t understand straight away, but I definitely felt a connection.
“It was a difficult time in my life and I felt quite separated from the world at large. It was in Yusef Lateef’s music that I found solitude, which consequently led to me investing all my efforts into becoming a saxophonist and developing musician. I owe him a great debt. I humbly dedicate my musical efforts to his legacy.”
The long-player is filled with moments of ramped-up spell-binding energy, meditative slow-build solos, and melancholic grooves. Recorded live in one day with no overdubs, “Two For Joy” is the result of four friends coming together and pouring their hearts out in the most expressive way they know how.
As with all 22a releases, this one is a strictly vinyl only release. Give the album a spin it’s beautiful stuff!