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Unapologetic Expression: The Inside Story of the UK Jazz Explosion

André Marmot

The lively and ambitious story of the explosion of UK jazz in the context of race and cultural identity, and its place in the story of twentieth-century jazz.

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A lively, subversive history of the new UK jazz wave, encapsulating its revolutionary spirit and tracing its foundations to birth of the genre itself.

For many in the nineties, jazz was viewed as an obsolete, uncool music, a genre loved by out of touch white men with deeply questionable taste. And yet, by 2019, a new generation of UK jazz musicians were selling out major venues and appearing on festivals line ups around the world. How has UK jazz regenerated its image so totally in twenty-five years? And how did it ever become uncool in the first place?

Reaching back to the roots of jazz as the ‘unapologetic expression’ of oppressed peoples, shaped by the forces of slavery, imperialism and globalisation, André Marmot places this new wave within the wider context of a divided, postcolonial Britain navigating its identity in a new world order. These artists have crafted a sound which reflects the nation as it is today – a sound connected to the very origins of jazz itself.

Drawing upon eighty-four interviews with key architects of this jazz renaissance and those who came before them – from Shabaka Hutchings, Nubya Garcia and Moses Boyd to Gilles Peterson, Courtney Pine and Cleveland Watkiss – Unapologetic Expression captures the radical spirit of a vital British musical movement.


André Marmot has been active professionally in music since 2007 as agent, musician, promoter and label owner, specialising in the common ground between African, jazz and global electronic music. André believes passionately in the power of music to connect people across cultural and social boundaries. Unapologetic Expression is his debut book.

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