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With his new release ‘The Now’, Jay Phelps continues his mission as a connector of dots.

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

Born Canadian, London-based trumpeter, DJ, and composer Jay Phelps releases his 7th solo project, "The Now", via Platoon in partnership with Black Lives in Music. Phelps brought a cross-generational collective of musicians together, weaving between and beyond genres. With some hints of funk, broken beat, and hip-hop, creating a worldwide journey through the past, present, and future.

With a career spanning over 20 years, including performances, as a sideman, with artists like Amy Winehouse, George Benson, and Wizkid, Jay Phelps established his household name in the UK jazz world. Phelps' work in the late 2000s as a founding member of the award-winning contemporary jazz group Empirical garnered international acclaim—an early precursor for growth in the UK jazz that has since followed. Exploring multiple styles as a bandleader which gained him status as an innovator on the UK jazz scene, Phelps drew praise from The Guardian, Jazzwise and London Jazz News, hosting regular shows on Jazz FM and Gilles Peterson's Worldwide FM.

The recently released LP "The Now" takes you on a ride from the underground club-centric UK jazz scene, to the house-filled streets of Detroit and LA's progressive sonics. Phelps and musicians currently at the forefront such as David Mrakpor (Blue Lab Beats), Tom Ford (Chris Dave, Reuben James) and Nicola Guida (Secret Night Gang) emerge various styles through conversational improvisation, thoughtfully crafted melodies and vocals combined with horn-led arrangements.

Kicking off his LP on a high energy level with the opening track "Finding Centaurii" at 136 BPM, Phelps drops hints of sci-fi in its explanation: "The constellation quest is to find beings from the Alpha Centauri, able to produce a signal to come to Earth". Dancing allowed!

You will find yourself on the same energy level at the end of the album, as what Phelps' initially got you started with. Between the start and the end, it's an exploration, and a variety of styles invoking shades of Kaytranada, Flying Lotus, or Anderson Paak. The somewhat danceable moody song, "Sanctuary" with a B-key and a minor mode, has a completely different overall feeling, starting with vocal melodies. Kate Deal, saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist, emerges with Phelps to help you ground and come down while feeling light and floating at the same time.

Consider every song on this album unique in its own way, surprising like a galaxy ride while driving double-timed flows.

Expect the unexpected when you put on "The Now"!

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