Establishing herself amongst a wave of UK talent that seek to stretch the boundaries of contemporary jazz, London-based guitarist Emily Jane Roberts has been poised for success for some time now. Her multiple achievements to date have already set the path for a highly decorated career that includes graduating from the esteemed Guildhall School of Music and ranking as a semi-finalist for the BBC Young Jazz Musician award in 2020.
Having further established her credentials as part of the ensembles Wednesday’s Child and The Dinner Party, ‘The Persistence of Memory’ is Roberts stepping out onto centre stage as a solo artist and band leader in her own right. Alongside some incredible and dynamic musicians, the EP is propelled by performances from Georgie Proctor (flute), Harry Toulson (saxophone), Sultan Stevenson (keys), Rory Hudson (bass), Dave Adsett (drums) and Tim Davies (synths). Roberts leads the charge over the course of the EP’s five tracks, guitar in hand while also excelling within the role of the project’s composer and producer.
Spearheaded by the blissful title track, ‘The Persistence of Memory’ features versatile vocalist Alice McCarthy who connects brilliantly – and effortlessly – with the intricacies of the composition and matches its subtle shifts in tone and pace establishing the collaboration as a real gem for the project. ‘I’ll Tell You How the Sun Rose’ calls to mind something akin to a 4 Hero ‘Creating Patterns’-era composition with its crisp drums and understated use of synths; Alternatively, ‘Mean Time’ finds its happy place in the midst of an explosive performance which sees Toulson’s sax soar during the song’s high-energy crescendo. The gentle blues of ‘Welcome to a Prayer’ also warrants mention as does the closing funk work-out of ‘Relaxing at the Underbelly’ which sees the whole band revel in playing together as well as shining individually too.
‘The Persistence of Memory’ could never be deemed as being short on ideas. Each of the EP’s five songs relishes the joy of its own adventure and its own story. For a project that was born of the UK’s innovative perspective on contemporary jazz, Emily Jane Roberts absolutely delivers with a piece of work that is an exciting celebration of the joyous aspects of jazz-fusion and one that introduces her as a burgeoning voice within the genre.
2 thoughts on “Album: ‘The Persistence of Memory’ by Emily Jane Roberts”
Just “discovered” Emily’s EP today while scanning Apple Music for something new. Great music.
It’s fantastic isn’t it!