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Over the past few years Emma-Jean Thackray has come up as part of the new London jazz scene that also includes groups like Ezra Collective. Two years on from her debut EP Ley Lines, Thackray now kicks off her new label Movementt with a four-track set of her own material. Across the Raindance EP we find Thackray often producing and playing all of the instruments herself as well as directing a larger ensemble at points in order to produce work of amplified magnitude far surpassing genre tags.
Raindance’s A-side is taken up by the near-eight-minute jam ‘Raindance / Wisdom’. This epic number serves to act almost as microcosm of Thackray’s sound as a whole. Beginning with a cerebral haze of keys, the track soon blooms into a low-slung hip-hop-influenced joint not dissimilar to Karriem Riggins. Around halfway in ‘Raindance / Wisdom’ changes gear, ramping up into a free freakout that channels the upstart energy of Thackray’s scene affiliates Moses Boyd and Joe Armon-Jones.
The ultra-swung hip-hop slap found in the first half of ‘Raindance / Wisdom’ resurfaces on ‘Open’, a cut in which Thackray also employs soulful harmonies and punch-drunk horn lines. This track leads in to ‘Open (Again)’, another number which swells from a lopsided beat to a noisy free crescendo. Closing cut ‘Movementt’ is aptly titled - this is the funkiest moment on Raindance, a little Latin swing in the groove bolstering the motion of a slinky trumpet solo.
Ambitious, expressive and vibrant, the Raindance EP reinforces Emma-Jean Thackray’s position as a new jazz creator of some repute.