While the recent jazz boom in London shows no signs of slowing down, we shouldn’t forget the talent that comes from elsewhere in the UK. Recently on Qwest, we’ve featured both Nubiyan Twist and the Abstract Orchestra, who both got their start two hundred miles north in Leeds. This time, we’re heading fifty miles south of the capital to the coastal town of Brighton, where Ebi Soda have debuted their lively, free-flowing compositions.
Variously described as a septet and a quintet, Ebi Soda consists of trombone, keys, bass, guitar and drums, with saxophone and flute coming in at choice moments. Their sound is sufficiently full-bodied, at times giving off a big band swell in amongst tight groove networks supplied by different sections of the group. The opener “Dahling” is a perfect case in point whereby off-beat keys, excitable bass and shuffling drums form a platform for the rest of the group to riff over. There’s no doubt that Ebi Soda knows how to get a room moving.
However, the group also knows when to turn down the heat as well. Each track on the EP contains moments of acceleration and moments to savour, where the instrumentation slows down to fizzle and soften in the open spaces. Here, you get the sense that Ebi Soda’s sound is about following a feeling rather than forcing one. What’s more, they record almost everything they play, and they have a completely open policy when it comes to members’ compositional ideas.
But one of the most intriguing aspects of the Brighton outfit is the vibe they give off. Their EP cover is a work of art that they describe as the perfect embodiment of their music, as well as a future trademark for the group. While the two unrefined and conjoined figures – caught somewhere between serenity and discomfort – will evoke different responses from people, they are sure to pique your interest. That same sense is echoed in the music.
Ebi Soda – Ebis Soda (Sola Terra)