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TC & The Groove Family at the Brudenell 1st June 2022

TC & The Groove Family’s show at the Brudenell brought three of Leeds’ finest jazz inspired acts to the fore. It was a rare show in which it is hard to find a stand-out act, although the nature of TC’s performance as a homecoming release show certainly brought an edge to their set.

The August Charles fronted act, Chissu, a project to engage in healing from a difficult past was deeply beautiful. His Sampha-esque vocals and bright demeanour, alongside talented band members engaged a sense of calm amongst the audience. As a solo artist, he is certainly one to be excited by and has recently released the single Lately which is very much on our playlist.

Bursting onto the stage next with such presence was Yusuf Yellow with his band, the Energy Collective. Chanting ‘energy’ at the crowd and receiving just what he wanted back, Yusuf’s delivery of his lyrically supreme rap verses was on point. The Leeds inspired Hyde Park Freestyle was so fun to watch live backed by 8 musicians, with a chirpy brass section and two wonderful singers in Yasmina Nahas and Mica Sefia. August Charles took to the stage again to assist on a track with a rare subject matter for Yusuf: questioning being in love. With a humorous introduction that received laughs from the audience, it exemplifies Yusuf's talent at not giving into cliché when writing his lyrics. The most striking moment of the whole gig was a deeply personal unreleased track, concerning mixed-race identity, where his words and visceral performance was profoundly chilling. It was very much an emotional set, showing the power of Yusuf's verse backed up by a live band.

TC & The Groove Family brought such incredible joy to the audience. An over ten-member troupe, led by outstanding drummer Tim Cook, incorporating afrobeat, jazz and jungle. The group descended on the Brude to celebrate their debut, due for release on 10th June. They do exactly what their name implies, get you grooving. The venue was packed out with just about everyone moving. Vocalist, Pariss Elektra was particularly mesmerising in her command of the crowd, both vocally and through dance. The exceptional single Bossfight includes an up-tempo minimal start and breaks down about three quarters of the way through where the bass becomes heavier, which was an all-encompassing live experience.

(Photo of TC & The Groove Family: Basement Leeds)

With the gig marking the first day of Leeds Jazz Festival, a series of jazz gigs across the city and the celebration of 40 years of Dj Lubi Jovanovic's music career, he was invited on stage and praised by the band. The band's trombonist, Max Purcell-Burrows, adeptly described him as a 'lifeline for grassroots jazz in Leeds for decades'. As the promoter for the infamous Hifi Sunday Joint, Jazzland at the Brudenell and many others events across the city, it felt fitting that a chant of 'Lubi' was instigated by the crowd which included many young jazz musicians who have greatly benefited from Lubi's work.

The beauty of this show was the efforts of the TC and the band to highlight the merits of empowerment, family and community and they certainly succeeded in creating that energy in the room. It is the only gig I've ever been to, and likely will remain to be, where a DJ has played a scratch solo amongst the backdrop of live bass and drums! Ending the set with a cover of Clint Eastwood by Gorillaz, they left us dancing the whole way home.

Words by Becca Healy

Pre-order Tc & The Groove Family's debut album First Home on Bandcamp.

The Leeds Jazz Festival ends on 12th June.

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