Waaju is a London-based groove-centered world jazz ensemble that encapsulates influences from West African music, but with a particular focus on the music of Mali. The band plays the original music of drummer/percussionist Ben Brown which combines the exceptional spirit of the likes of Ali Farka Toure, Oumou Sangare, Tinariwen & Baba Sissoko with the spontaneity of jazz harmony & improvisation. The quintet brings the uniquely nuanced grooves of styles like Wassoulou & the ‘Desert Blues’ into a jazz context – resulting in an undeniably energetic performance.

Ben Brown – drums
Sam Rapley – tenor sax
Tal Janes – guitar
Ernesto Marichales – percussion
Misha Mullov-Abbado – bass

Playing new pieces inspired by a wide array of sounds and experiences in music and nature, this group prioritises personal and communicative improvisation while maintaining a strong compositional element influenced by musicians such as Steve Coleman, David Virelles, Charles Ives and Erik Satie.

Mike Soper – trumpet
Elliot Galvin – keyboards
George Bird – drums