"Their mission, to make jazz relevant to their generation, succeeds tonight."
Sampology is already busy mixing up a beat driven noise when we arrive at the Corner. It's a crazy and eclectic mix of latin vibes, tribal influences, soul, jazz, lounge and tech-house crafted together into beats aimed at the dancefloor. It brings to mind the vintage mid-'90s sounds that emanated from Ninja Tune Records, where a myriad of samples were manipulated into a kaleidoscopic patterns of sound. Sampology extends the paradigm, incorporating synchronised video to the mix. Sampology has been doing the rounds for a few years now but it's reassuring to know that he is young enough to have his mum create his artwork and have his dad play on his records too.
Native American chanting fills the interlude as the crowd expectantly waits for BadBadNotGood. Their fourth record, entitled IV, has taken them from playing low key gigs on previous visits to completely selling out the Corner in a couple of nights. Saxophonist Leland Whitty plays the riff from The Champs' Tequila as the group take to the stage. It's amusing and the crowd know exactly when to shout 'Tequila!". Drummer Alexander Sowinski talks us through a wild instrumental set of improv jazz that seamlessly blends jazz styles with hip hop. The four-piece operate as a tight unit with a kind of punk attitude that underscores their sound. Sowinski provides more than just a beat - there is so much detail in what he is able to do with two drumsticks that his drums seem to acquire a life of their own.
It's here where Chester Hansen's nimble fingers start to deal agile bass rhythms that move at seemingly impossible speeds. The crowd roars with delight as Hansen moves from one astonishing riff to the next. These lads might look like shy, retiring geeks, but the skill, precision and intensity with which they play unleashes their inner rockstar. Whitty adds the sax vibes and quite cutely goes bright red in the face on some of the longer and more strenuous passages. As they play tunes off their latest album their connection with jazz and hip hop starts to almost feel a little spiritual. It's easy to understand how these guys ended up recording an album with Ghostface Killah, acting as Frank Ocean's backing band at Coachella and notched up songwriting credits with Drake. It is the cool trickle of keys from Matthew Tavares that slows the pace. He is a giant of a man who hunches over the keyboard a little like Schroeder, but like everyone else in the band he plays with focus and intensity and wraps us up in his keys. BBNG have the crowd enthusiastically pogoing by the end of the show. Their mission, to make jazz relevant to their generation, succeeds tonight.