German hip-hop producer Suff Daddy and his live band The Lunch Birds will open for the much anticipated return of new British jazz sensation Alfa Mist next Monday, April 29th at Gretchen.
The Berlin-based beat-maker and Gretchen resident DJ Suff Daddy has been in the rap game for twenty years. His steady slew of fine instrumental productions have garnered him international recognition; he played a DJ set for Boiler Room in 2016 and released his latest compilation on Fat Beat’s Baker’s Dozen series last year.
After the splendid success of jazz pianist and composer Alfa Mist’s first album, Antiphon, indieBerlin is very excited to see songs from his new album, Structuralism, performed live — luckily it drops this this Friday.
Check out our review of Alfa Mist’s set last November at Festsaal Krezuberg and see why you don’t want to miss out on this spectacular show.
Starting off with “Kyoki” –an easy-going number featuring the trumpet and keyboard in perfect unison–the five piece band eased the crowd into a truly impressive performance. Mist sat in front of his red-cased Fender Rhodes, the iconic electric piano whose unique sound profoundly figures in Mist’s music. As he hovered over the keys with a slight hunch –his black baseball cap nearly covering his eyes– one could easily grasp his humble personality. “ALFA!” yelled someone in the back. “That’s my name,” replied Mist, without missing a beat.
Before breaking into the second song, Mist introduced his band: Johnny Woodham on trumpet, Peter Adam Hill on drums, Kaya Thomas-Dyke on bass and Jamie Leeming on guitar. Mist grew up listening to hip-hop before finding jazz in the record shops surrounding his hometown of East London. Taking inspiration from the works of Miles Davis and the film scores of Hans Zimmer, Mist moved from making grime on his computer to composing jazz after discovering the full expressiveness of the keyboard. The influence of Davis was gleamed in songs like “Errors“, which included a super smooth trumpet part coolly played by Woodham standing front and center.
“Most of what were gonna play tonight is off my album, Antiphon” said Mist, to much applause. The 2017 full length LP was well received and gained a lot of attention from fans in and out of jazz. “[This third song] however is a cover of a Madlib song,” continued Mist, happily surprising all the trueheads in the audience, “it’s called ‘The Light‘.”
Part of why Mist’s music sounds so unique is due to the way he puts hip-hop into jazz. Whereas hip-hop has triditionally chopped and cut jazz samples for rap beats, Mist re-writes and extends common hip-hop drum patterns and baselines for his jazz compositions. The heavy and effective use of driving, dynamic drum beats and slick, low-end bass lines sets a serious, head-bouncing groove through which keys, guitars and horns can perfectly accentuate.
After “Keep On”, played with an extended arrangement from “Say it” (by producer-god J Dilla), Kaya Thomas-Dyke, rested one hand on her bass and another half way in the air to let her diaphragm move as she surprised the room with her amazing vocal talents in “Breathe.” Mist’s music is melancholic and thoroughly mesmerizing. Halfway through the set, much of the audience could be seen with their eye’s closed, slowly nodding to infectious rhythms. The setting was very laid back, but plenty of people found places to dance around and wave their hands, grinning eye-to-eye.
For some in the audience, the sense of time seemed to warp and evaporate through the cycles of trumpet, guitar and keyboard solos. While the majority of tones were quite sad, the songs worked on your ears in such a way that they seemed to magically engineer meaningful sentiments of ecstasy, excitement and wonder. After exiting and re-entering for a much desired encore, they band played “Brian” and songs from Mist’s new 10in, “7th of October (Epilogue)“, which he released on his label Sekito Records last month.
After the set, Mist could be found at a back table chatting amiably with a line of excited fans and record collectors thrilled to cop a repress of the Antiphon LP. With all his heart and hustle, there’s no doubt this twenty-six year old musician is paving the way toward a long and successful career.