Jazz is flourishing across the world right now. In London the likes of Nubya Garcia, Blue Lab Beats and Oscar Jerome and adding British flair to everything from jazz rap to old school afrobeat, on America’s west coast the likes of Kamasi Washington are creating soaring epics and in New York, group’s like Onyx Collective are pushing the boundaries of the genre even further.
Usually focusing on salsa and funk, Onyx also create their own, utterly lifestyle of jazz, one that draws on their home in New York and conjures images of diverse urban, sometimes mythical landscapes. Imagine ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ but remixed through the last fifty years of New York music and culture and you’re somewhere close. Their latest release is ‘Rush Hour’ a track taken from their most recent EP Lower East Suite Part Two. As the title suggests, ‘Rush Hour’ is a frantic, fast-paced reimaging of NYC at it’s busiest, packed with lightning-quick drums and braying horns.
It’s a track best understood alongside its music video, which we’re premiering today on Notion. Directed by Georgia Asemic Club, it’s just as hectic as the track itself, opening with zooming street-level shots of traffic and descending into abstract pulses of bright shapes and mutating forms. As the animation warps in time to the track, elements of traffic reappear, the front lights of a truck briefly filling the screen, threatening to run down the viewer. It’s an intense watch, but like ‘Rush Hour’ itself there’s playfulness in there as well, one that guides the viewer/ listener in the past the atonal saxophone and experimental animation and into the heart of New York at rush hour.
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