• Eric Roberson: Hear This!

    By Chris Wells on April 7, 2020
    Eric Roberson has record and released a new album when almost nobody else has. And he’s done it in record time, discovers Chris Wells.   Monday, March 30, 2020. Indie soulman Eric Roberson calls Peter Robinson at Dome Records and informs his usual UK outlet that he has a new album ready to go. ‘How soon can we get it […]
  • Monophonics: Lockdown Soul

    By Chris Wells on March 26, 2020
    By Chris Wells Kelly Finnigan, frontman of Californian vintage psychedelic-soul band Monophonics, is holed up at home, like most of the rest of us. He hasn’t seen his bandmates since lockdown and even visits to his nearby studio have to be taken solo. Which is a bit of a bugger, really, because the group’s very fine new album, It’s Only […]
  • Morgan James: Magnetic South

    By Chris Wells on February 5, 2020
    Morgan James has made a great soul album in Memphis. It’s all Chris Wells needed to know. Pic by Jenny Anderson. Now here’s a long and thorny question for you. In the age, post Bailey-Rae, Mvula, Henshaw, Jorja Smith and – perhaps more significantly – Kiwanuka and Yola [especially if the latter wins any of those Grammys she’s just been […]
  • Tunde Jegede & NOK Orchestra

    By Chris Wells on January 20, 2020
    Tunde Jegede & NOK Orchestra Emmanuel Church, London. The second instalment of the Salon Concert series is timely. Into The Night, a major exhibition at the Barbican centre is coming to an end and the far less well known Emmanuel Church in Holloway, north London is giving a prime example of what was celebrated in that show, namely global club […]
  • Give Me The Night

    By Chris Wells on January 9, 2020
    Into The Night [London, Barbican] By Kevin Le Gendre In recent years reports of the death of club culture may have been greatly exaggerated, but it can be argued that mega emporiums and superstar DJs no longer attract as many stomping feet as they did a decade ago. Into The Night is a timely reminder of the deep roots of […]
  • Moon Child

    By Chris Wells on November 14, 2019
    Keisha Thompson: Man On The Moon, [London, Bernie Grant Arts Centre] Part of the well-programmed Tottenham Literature Festival, this excellent one woman show is a brave exploration of family dynamics, mental health and racial politics in contemporary Britain, where these conversations need to take place a lot more often. Keisha Thompson proves more than up to the task in a fearlessly […]
  • Book Review: Absolutely Massive

    By Chris Wells on June 3, 2019
    Massive Attack Out Of The Comfort Zone The Story of A Sound, A City And A Group Of Revolutionary Artists [Tangent] By Melissa Chemam What is not in the title is ‘Bristol’, but chances are that most people will be able to work that out under their own steam. After all, Massive Attack have come to symbolize the creative verve of […]
  • Freedom Sounds

    By Chris Wells on March 26, 2019
    Freedom Song Hackney Empire, London. Louis Armstrong’s beaming smile in the corridor of ‘London’s most beautiful theatre’ serves as a reminder of its pedigree. The innovative trumpeter was here in 1934, but the trail blazed by African-American performers in Britain years before the marketing of the music known as jazz also included the gospel ensemble, Fisk Jubilee Singers. This excellent […]
  • Shakespeare’s Sistas

    By Chris Wells on March 14, 2019
    Richard 11 [Shakespeare’s Globe, London. Photo: Ingrid Pollard] Shakespeare with an all-women-of-colour cast has become the main, perhaps inevitable, media story of this production, yet there is much more to note. Above all the joint direction of Lynette Linton and Adjoa Andoh is a triumph in itself, not least because of the coherence they achieve as a team when taking […]
  • Drums & Colours

    By Chris Wells on August 1, 2018
        Drums And Colours Knowledge Centre, British Library, London. Just a stone’s throw from this packed lecture theatre is an exhibition on The Windrush, which is well worth a visit. If the 70th anniversary of ‘mass migration’ from the West Indies is a cultural and political high watermark in modern Britain – if indeed as few as 500 hardy […]