Ezra Collective, Where I’m Meant To Be, Double Orange Vinyl, LP, Partisan Records, 2022
Where I’m Meant To Be is a thumping celebration of life, and an affirming elevation in Ezra Collective’s winding hybrid sound and refined collective character. The songs marry cool confidence with bright energy. Full of call-and-response conversations between their ensemble parts, Where I’m Meant To Be is a natural product of years improvising together on-stage. The album — which also features guest artists Sampa The Great, Kojey Radical, Emile Sande and Nao — will light up sweaty dance floors and soundtrack summer dinners in equal measure.
The group – consisting of Femi Koleoso (who also drums for Gorillaz) as drummer and bandleader, Joe Armon-Jones on keys, James Mollison on saxophone, Ife Ogunjobi on trumpet, and Koleoso’s younger brother TJ on bass guitar — originally came together in 2012 as teenagers at the youth band of Tomorrow’s Warriors, a music education initiative at the South Bank Centre in London. They have since shot forward to become architects of a new phase in their city’s musical journey, a hybrid time in which Black genres — jazz, grime, afrobeat and more — can dovetail and harmonize fluidly, at new, forever rising levels.