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Ernest Ranglin & Friends + Nerija

July 2, 2016

Ernest Ranglin, Cheikh Lo, Tony Allen, Soweto Kinch and London’s Nerija – what’s not to love? Last night I went to the Barbican for Ernest’s ‘goodbye tour’.

Nerija opened the show and completely dominated the stage. It was only that night that I realised how different the band really are. With a tenor sax, alto sax, trumpet and trombone all leading the melody and a fantastic rhythm section, they stand out against the typical band led by one brass or wind instrument. The structure of their pieces was really well thought out, with powerful crescendos and delicate pauses. Their compositions were refreshing and their energy infectious. This is just the beginning for Nerija. Watch out for their EP coming out soon!

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Ernest was born in 1932 in Manchester, Jamaica. He’s played with the likes of Bob Marley the Skatalites and Jimmy Cliff and his style is a gorgeous blend of calypso, reggae and jazz. There was no doubt that he was the leader, but he was constantly encouraging and communicating with the band.

Their set went on for close to two hours and Ernest’s energy was abounding. He played the guitar in a variety of different ways and was in complete control of his instrument. You can listen to more of his story in his interview with Soweto for BBC Radio 3’s Jazz Now.

It was a mad treat to also hear Tony Allen and Cheikh Lo in the flesh. Tony Allen, one of the founders of Afrobeat, is an absolute legend, and he was so unassuming but proper solid on stage.

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You can download Ernest’s music here

And find out about Nerija’s debut EP here

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