Released

Yellow is trumpet player, bandleader and beatmaker Emma-Jean Thackray’s third album, a psychedelic jazz/electronica concoction that features widescreen Rotary Connection-style production, hints of the slick jazz-funk of Roy Ayers and the spiritual jazz of Pharaoh Saunders, along with plenty of contemporary dance floor dynamics. 

Vocal track Say Something is like a microcosm of the album, packing a huge quantity of musical events into its short length: the gentle keys, pad and soul vocal intro, a straight-up house section, a jazz-funk/broken beat vamp and final soaring, expansive climax. This ambition and scope are present throughout Yellow, which despite its mystic, spiritual flavour generally avoids lengthy solo-ridden jams, making it a high-impact album, packed full of vocal hooks. There’s an innate, head-nodding sense of groove across all the tracks and the blend of dance floor beats and psychedelic cosmic jazz is expertly accomplished.

Harold Heath

One of the things that helped confirm that the British jazz explosion of the 2010s was both real and had staying power was just how individual its movers and shakers were. As people and musicians, Nubya Garcia is nothing like Moses Boyd, who’s nothing like Joe Armon-Jones, who’s nothing like Theon Cross, and none of them is like Emma-Jean Thackray. In fact nobody is like Emma-Jean Thackeray. She combines Yorkshire down-to-earthness and love of populist dance music with intense mystical inclinations and refusal to compromise her vision. And her music is thus both instant, with afrobeat, house and disco running through it like its skeleton, and full-fucking-on with the structures and playing never letting up even as that groove keeps on going. Her uncomplicated but determined singing voice keeps song and self expression at the heart of it all, and in total it makes for a big, weird party for the soul. Get the deluxe edition of this album to see how naturally it was built for dance remixes: how integral club culture is to the vision.

Joe Muggs