Interview/Music: Jay Phelps

Jay Phelps - I’ve Got A Crush On You.

Canadian-born, London-based trumpeter and composer Jay Phelps has dropped his wildly energetic and bruk version of Gershwin’s ‘I’ve Got A Crush On You’.

The single finds Phelps teaming up with producer Cengiz, and vocalist Mhari Aurora. The track is the first release from his upcoming EP series ‘Broken Standards’ out on his label SoulEndvr Records.

Drawing inspiration from broken beat producers such as IG Culture and Mark De Clive-Lowe, as well as the current London jazz scene, the EP breaths new life into an already cherished song.

Talking about the EP, Phelps explains, “As I’ve been a silent fan of the Broken Beat scene here in the UK for some time, my aim was to rearrange a hand full of Jazz standards that I love with inspiration from the rhythms and grooves of Broken Beat”.

We talk to Phelps to find out a little bit more about the track, his forthcoming EP, virtually recording and more.

Tell us a bit about Jay Phelps?

Jay Phelps is a 38-year-old trumpet player/composer/entrepreneur who is coming into the second phase of his career. A founding member of London based contemporary jazz band’ Empirical’, often referred to as the band responsible for kickstarting the latest UK Jazz wave, Phelps has led quite an eclectic career to date. Although the Coronavirus has brought the music industry to a pause, Phelps has found himself almost as busy as normal times. For 40 weeks, Phelps has consistently hosted a 2 hr + Livestream show, where he combines his DJing and trumpet playing to create a unique and ever-exciting show. This same approach is what he goes for when hosting his new show ‘Ear to the Ground’ on Worldwide FM. Throughout Lockdown I’ve been building and launched a company with its main function being instant payments for freelancers. Roc4 was formed as a result of the perpetual timeline in which freelancers must wait to be paid, some waiting weeks and weeks to be paid for very normal work. The infrastructure around live music especially has been such that the musician is thought of last. My company is here to give people an option to be paid immediately for their hard work.

What was it about ‘I’ve Got A Crush On You’ that made you release it as the lead track from the upcoming BrokenStandards EP?

I wanted to come into 2021 on a positive note and my arrangement of this very well- known Gershwin
standard is fun, catchy and full of positive vibes. It’s the main reason for this song being the first single, as well as its Broken Beat rhythm produced by Cengiz (Selectors Assemble, CoOp).

Which track that we haven’t yet heard from the Broken Standards EP are you most excited for people to hear and why? 

My second single ‘Fall’ is going to knock your socks off. Featuring rapper Simon Jnr and other internationally acclaimed musicians, my new arrangement of Wayne Shorter’s ‘Fall’ is a complete diversion from the original. Definitely made for the late-night clubs when they open back up for live music.

Broken Standards is the first in a series of EP’s. How do you see the project developing? Any particular directions you would like to follow?

I would like to produce most of the next EP myself as my studio production skills are improving
since the pandemic and I would like to hone in on that aspect of composition. I’ve always been a big fan of music
from around the world, so you might start to hear my music take on a life of itself. New and old rhythms will fuse to create new blends of musical delights. We’ll see where the spirit takes me for the final EP, as of now I have no idea.

You recorded the EP in lockdown. Did you find it difficult, virtually recording? How did it all come together?

The first EP was recorded 100% virtually, which means I wasn’t in the studio with any of the musicians. It’s not the most ideal way to record but I found that when I would just let go of any pre-existing idealisms one takes for granted when in the studio face to face with a band, then I was on the road to success because that was true collaboration. Sometimes you just have to trust.

For those that maybe don’t know, you have an excellent monthly show on Worldwide FM. Can you tell people a bit about the show?

My show ‘Ear to the Ground’ does exactly what it says on the tin as I’m constantly keeping my ear to the ground and listening to music both from new and established artists. I’m blessed to be able to hear so much great music by my friends and colleagues and with this new platform, I’m now in a position where artists are sending me their latest releases. I love being able to promote other artists because I know first-hand how many steps it takes to get your music heard by someone other than your mother.

What are your five favourite tracks at the moment?

Don’t Problem- CD’s Lament
Jackson Mathod- Dumb people
Juanita Euka- Alma Seca
Gabriele Pribetti- Starts With You
Quite Sane- Short Stories

Name a few tracks you can’t wait to play when the clubs re-open?
My new tunes from this EP and my new productions, Daniel Caeser – Best Part (Baile Funk Remix).

London is always buzzing with new artist and creativity, so who are some of your favourite emerging acts from around the capital? 

PJackson Mathod, James Beckwith, XVNGO, Charlie Stacey, Lewis Daniel, Thin Blue Collective, Marcus Joseph, Black Neeyz.

Any final word for the Twistedsoul readers?

Hey folks, thank you for taking the time to listen to my music and please lookout for all the new music I’ll be releasing throughout the year. Broken Standards VOL 1,2,3. You can also catch my show on Worldwide FM 4-6 pm, the first Saturday of the month.

CF Smith

Permeating your ears with good music.

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