Following in the footsteps of UK jazz heavyweights, Nubya Garcia, Ashley Henry & Kaidi Tatham, London-based, Berklee-trained drummer/composer and Jazz FM's Breakthrough Act of 2021, Jas Kayser unveils her much anticipated debut album in 2022 for Jazz Re: freshed's iconic 5ive series.
With meditative jazz arrangements, finessed afrobeat fusions and energizing studio production, Jas 5ive offers a sincere and candid reflection on themes of identity, self-discovery and family as well as navigating deep questions, from Jas's upbringing to her travels abroad. The trajectory of 26-year old, Dorset-raised Kayser since gaining her undergrad and Masters from Berklee has been quietly exponential performing in bands led by a who's who of UK talent from Alfa Mist, Poppy Ajudha, Nubya Garcia and Shabaka Hutchings, to Brit Award and Grammy-nominated singer Jorja Smith. She's also presented her band at Boiler Room Festival for gal-dem and will showcase at Jazz Re: freshed's SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas in 2022. Even rock legend Lenny Kravitz invited Jas to perform a drum duet and cameo in his 2018 'Low' video (currently sitting at 96 million YouTube streams). But it's Jas's latest solo work packed full of influences ranging from Michael Olatuja, Richard Bona, Terri Lyne Carrington to Chris Dave and Pedrito Martinez that provides the most detailed account of her complete abilities as drummer, bandleader and composer. Expanding on the strong West African foundation of her Fela-inspired, 2020 three track EP, Unforced Rhythm Of Grace, Jas 5ive deduces the similarities between afrobeat and jazz with a technical precision and social/cultural framing. The 5ive's mellow, pop-infused production and catchy arrangements echo the many hours Jas has spent with the UK's latest chart-bound talent. Encouraged by mentors (Terri Lyne Carrington, Danilo Perez, Ralph Peterson, Neal Smith) to address social concerns and exploring her dual heritage during time spent in the US, Panama and the UK, Jas enlists her twin brother, spoken word artist Aalvk and jazz vocalist Ava Joseph on her 5ive, posing questions surrounding migration, tolerance and identity. 'I can feel myself not liking what I seem to be/I don't know what you see', sings Ava on opening track and first single, Darkness In The Light. Nods to Afroswing and Salsa are in equal measure before adrenaline-fuelled Jas hits 100 on the heavy percussive outro. Dreams' ethereal afrobeat meets rousing Brazilian charanga-style polyrhythms before the Sahelian/Malian pop-sounding guitar licks on Jamie's Blues had Aalvk's vivid account on microaggressions and their unravelling impact, bounce off blazing off blazing horn lines on Half-Race Face. Stupid On The Beat closes, the percussion propulsive, the riff reminiscent of a weighty 70s dancefloor funk stomp. Jas 5ive manages to synthesize an international palette of sounds but distill it through a thrilling UK jazz filter. 'Tony Allen is my OG. Afrobeat actually made me fall back in love with jazz. They are both really connected. In Panama I got really into salsa, rumba, Cuban and Panamanian music. Connecting all these rhythms feels very natural'. Whether it's drum theory or the social function of art you sense that Jas is resolute and clear in her musical vision. She's focused on shifting perceptions around women in the jazz world, citing underrepresentation amongst other factors as to why there are so few female drummers working in music today.