REVIEW: Elmore Judd, Jazz Cafe Camden Town

PUBLISHED: 11:44 29 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:52 07 September 2010

Four star rating Garbed in black fedora hats and ties, not white coats and safety specs, and toting saxophones and drum brushes, not Bunsen burners and test tubes, Elmore Judd were nevertheless all about the big experime

Elmore Judd

Jazz Cafe

Camden Town

Four star rating

Garbed in black fedora hats and ties, not white coats and safety specs, and toting saxophones and drum brushes, not Bunsen burners and test tubes, Elmore Judd were nevertheless all about the big experiment last week at the

Jazz Cafe.

Brothers Jessie and Louis, who in another incarnation rocks dances with hip-hop smashes as turntablist Louis Slipperz, make up part of the ethereal group where detours from convention in saxophone, keyboard and vocals are all part of the milkshake.

Signed to Damon Albarn's label Honest Jon's, this Tufnell Park electro funk team have been making serious waves in recent months.

The witching hour seemed to descend on NW1 as Judd created a searing, intense paean to dysfunctional love in the cover of a track by 1970s krautrock group Can - surely one of the highest notes of the show.

Sax-player Shabaka experimented his way to new heights of screeching, honking, parping weirdness as lead vocalist Jessie's voice expressed a detached, cool sensuality, verging at times on Air's ethereal soundtrack to the Virgin Suicides film.

The audience caught the party mood early on, twirling each other round in the pit, tempting vocalist Enrique Joyette to the point of no return as he jumped off the stage to lock fingers with the ladies.

So musically perceptive that they can grab your pain by the throat and squeeze until your breath gives out, the group can be prone to moments of over-experimentation, where it doesn't quite sit swimmingly together, and attention can wane.

Rappers Yungun and Jehst hit the stage at the end to grab it right back, smashing the soft experimentation up with some street swagger, but the defining moment will be Judd's cover of Nirvana's Come As You Are, delivered in Jessie's haunting, snakeskin-sexy voice, drifting over Camden Town like a beautiful nightmare.

Miguel Cullen


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