Soul-jazz shuffle in ‘Snakebite Playfight’ by The Jazz Defenders

Mar 25th, 2024

Category: news

Soul-jazz shuffle in ‘Snakebite Playfight’ by The Jazz Defenders

UK jazz quintet The Jazz Defenders release another single from their upcoming third album Memory In Motion, out on Haggis Records on 22nd April.

“Snakebite Playfight” is a potpourri of some of the band’s favourite musical inspirations and influences – New Orleans shuffle, NOLA funk, hard bop, soul jazz – carefully prepared and slowly cooked for just under five minutes, resulting in one tasty musical melting pot of a single. Starting with a New Orleans shuffle, it transitions with ease mid-song into some psychedelic funk grooviness, heavily embellished with both organ and electric piano, before returning to the shuffle beat for a piano solo from band leader George Cooper. Before the tune returns to the main theme and outro, drummer Ian Matthews gets to stretch out on a short but tasty solo.

“Snakebite Playfight” is another example of the band’s refusal to stand still musically and rest on their laurels. Every single is different, moving effortlessly from soul jazz to soundtrack-influenced music via hard bop and hip-hop jazz. The Jazz Defenders love it all and are not scared to show it on this new single, another excellent taster for the forthcoming third album. This music married the jazz improvisation of earlier eras, such as bebop and hard bop, to the straight eighths groove of rhythm & blues and soul music. Championed by musicians such as saxophonist Cannonball Adderley and pianist Ramsey Lewis, and especially artists recording for the legendary Blue Note Records label (people like pianist Horace Silver, trumpeter Lee Morgan, saxophonist Lou Donaldson and guitarist Grant Green), soul jazz became hugely popular outside of the niche jazz scene, even scoring top twenty pop single hits with tracks like “The Sidewinder” and “Watermelon Man”.

“Snakebite Playfightout via Digital download on March 22nd via Haggis Records