The electrifying energy of Ezra Collective countered the biting cold, as the London five piece warmed the hearts of Belgrave Music Hall. With the release of their debut album You Can’t Steal My Joy in April of this year, the jazz ensemble arrived back in Leeds following a sell-out show at The Wardrobe in 2018, yet with a wealth of new material and a slot on Glastonbury’s Park Stage to boot.
Igniting their performance with ‘The Philosopher’, Ezra Collective saw the venue burst into life. The driving drums of Femi Koleoso, intertwined with the ever-smooth tenor sax of James Mollison, complimented new tracks including ‘You Can’t Steal My Joy’ and ‘What Am I to Do?’ (no feature from Mr. Carner on this occasion unfortunately however). Yet is difficult to not acknowledge Armon-Jones on keys, TJ Koleoso on bass and Jones on trumpet, with Femi further paying tribute to the involvement of all in the creation of the Collective’s perfected sound.
Despite reeling off various influences upon the band, it is the uniqueness of Ezra Collective that perhaps makes them so enticing to watch. A performance rich in musicianship, saw each member have their moment in the spotlight, enthralling the audience with majestic solos. Instilling constant notions of positivity throughout the performance, it was certainly a key task of Koleoso on drums to rid any atmosphere of adversity within the four walls of Belgrave.
‘Juan Pablo’ symbolled the end of an exhilarating, jazz-infused night. Encouraging the crowd to drop down to the floor, the eclectic audience had no hesitations in response to Koleoso’s wishes. Leaping for joy, the vibrant crowd demonstrated an enjoyment no more matched than the five men on stage, who are likely to install such emotion into crowds for years to come.