The genre-bending sound of British new jazz outfit Ezra Collective first found a home in the dynamic London jazz scene, but it was the release of their debut album, 2019's You Can't Steal My Joy, that helped them break the jazz mold.
Formed in London by Femi Koleoso (drums), his brother, TJ Koleoso (bass), Joe Armon-Jones (keys), Dylan Jones (trumpet), and James Mollison (saxophone), the group first made a name for themselves on the underground London jazz scene. Using elements of Afrobeat, hip-hop, grime, R&B, and jazz, the five-piece delivered their debut EP, Chapter 7, in 2016. A follow-up, Juan Pablo: The Philosopher appeared a year later and was picked up by Gilles Peterson and awarded "Best Album" at his own Worldwide Awards. With the London jazz scene going through a renaissance, the Ezra Collective, along with the likes of Kamaal Williams, Sons of Kemet, and the Comet Is Coming, quickly became a hot ticket in the capitol, playing sold-out shows across the city and also the country. 2018 saw them pick up gongs for "Best UK Jazz Act" and "Live Experience of the Year" at the Jazz FM awards, while that year also found them recording their full-length debut. Released in 2019, You Can't Steal My Joy saw the group breathing new life into the jazz scene, with an eclectic mix that drew on all their influences and saw them collaborating with Loyle Carner, Jorja Smith, and Kokoroko. ~ Rich Wilson