Yadasofi is an up and coming collective from Brighton’s jazz scene.
Led by drummer and composer Nadav Schneerson, the talented ensemble blends a myriad of Afrobeat and Middle Eastern ‘Desert Jazz’ into its classic hard bop influences.
On their debut release, the band showcase two beautifully constructed songs. The opening track ‘Simcha’ meaning joy in Hebrew, ebbs and flows between Afrobeat, Latin and jazz vibes, and from the very first note to the last they keep us on the edge of our seats. Sending the listener deep into the desert ‘Negev’ is a frenetic near nine-minute cut named after the Desert region in Israel. The ensemble comes out swinging from the off but as the track pushes further and further, gradually the layers of instrumentation are stripped back to let each member shine (the drum solo is insane!) giving the track a certain elegance and lightness.
With an ever-changing line up both live and on record this two-track recording consisted of George Richardson (bass), Max Ayinde Avery (Rhodes) , Jack Kendon (trumpet), Will Humphries (alto sax), and Ollie Angelkov Cummings (tenor sax).
We caught up with Schneerson to talk about his musical influences, the Brighton jazz scene, his current favourite tracks and more. Read our interview and make sure to stream the bands’ debut release above.
Who is Yadasofi, and what’s the story behind your name?
We are a 5-7 piece (for now) band lead by me, Nadav Schneerson and play a range of influences from Jazz to Afrobeat and Middle Eastern music. I never know what to say when people ask about the name, so here’s the explanation! Yada means knowledge in Hebrew and Sofi means final/ultimate/definitive or terminal. So it ultimately means final knowledge, I don’t really feel like this has anything to do with the music or mean much to me, it just sounds good! We often refer to the community of musicians involved in this project as the Yada family.
How did you guys form the band? What brought you together?
Funny enough it was actually my final project for my college diploma. I had always wanted to do it and I was left with a couple of months and no idea what to do so just went all in. I wrote the two tunes and recorded after about 2 months of getting together. I took this opportunity to really make things happen and focus on making it a serious thing, not just a college project. I had basically just brought in all the jazz musicians I knew in the area and we got working. Since then the line ups been everchanging and continues to progress. George Richardson, the Double Bass player is a vital part of the band which I had found out about by recommendation, has been very prominent in the progression of the music and is a core part of the Yada family, his love and passion for the music really keeps it going and his taste matches it just right. We’ve learnt a lot from each other.
Can you tell us a few things about your debut two-track release?
These tracks are the first I’d ever composed, I probably wrote Simcha when I was 16/17 and Negev was when I was about 17/18. Simcha pronounced Sim-kh-a (‘kh’ being like clearing your throat) means Joy in Hebrew and just reflected how I felt at the time, the feeling of making my first song made me incredibly happy, and I was excited to bring everything to life. At this time I was listening to a lot of Afrobeat like Fela Kuti and Ebo Taylor, so a lot of the influence came from that.
Negev was written on my laptop while I was at the Negev, which is a desert region in the south of Israel. I was really influenced by Middle Eastern sounds for this one and goes through a Modal journey through the dunes. Since then I’ve been learning a lot more about my heritage of Israeli culture and its music, including lots of influences from contemporary Israeli jazz musicians as well as traditional music.
Your music is hard to put in a box. How would you describe it?
I like the term ‘Desert Jazz’, what that means to me is that it’s influenced by anything from Free Jazz and Bebop, to Israeli Jazz from the likes of Omer Avital, one of my biggest influences, Avishai Cohen and so on. Included in this is a lot of music from North Africa through to Israel. Certain tracks can have different influences with anything from West African Kora music to Latin music and all sorts.
The Brighton jazz scene is buzzing at the moment with bands like Ebi Soda, and Yakul who else should we be listening to?
Yes, big up the Ebi crew and Yakul shout out to them! They’re good friends of ours and it’s nice to see this on the rise. Howes3 are one to watch out for with an album on the way and some heavy gigs. Think that’s all of us from Brighton.
What are your five favourite tracks at the moment?
I always find these type of questions difficult to answer but here’s some tracks I’m digging in the context of the Yada vibe. Hard to sum it up in five!
Omer Avital – One Man’s Light Is Another Man’s Night
Ebo Taylor – Love and Death
Ahmed Abdul-Malik – El-Lail (The Night)
Don Cherry – Togetherness
Joe Armon-Jones – Starting Today
Any last words?
Thank you very much for reading, it would mean a lot if you’d check out our music and follow us on Spotify, Instagram and Facebook, come through to a show and support the scene!!
We have some exciting stuff in the works so keep an eye out!