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Digging Deep: Tenderlonious

Digging Deep: Tenderlonious
Jack Smith

As you’ll have seen from our recent review of Henry Wu’s Negotiate EP, the tight-knit Peckham-based collective drawn together under the banner of 22a Records have really been catching our fancy of late. Musically speaking their sultry organicity is becoming increasingly impossible to ignore – a focus on live instrumentation around a more familiar percussive framework with a Sound Signature-esque appeal – yet it’s their close affiliation with South London that, funnily enough, a South Londoner can really get in to. These cats, a mere 171 bus ride away, are turning heads left, right and centre with their wholesome output of modern day soul in various intriguing new permutations.

In a broader context the mild furore of gentrification emanating from Peckham in particular of recent times should never detract from the town and surrounding area’s wealth of creative activity: Rye Wax has established itself quickly as far and away South London’s most accomplished and varied record store; Balamii Radio has been pushing the area’s finest talent via the most innocuous studio space within a tiny arcade just off Rye Lane, etcetera etcetera. 22a’s familial, DIY approach to producing and releasing coupled with the inherent inability to categorise the label’s sound has worked significantly in their favour of recent times, with premier Soho institution Sounds of the Universe adopting their vinyl output on an exclusive basis. As Tenderlonious points out in an interview with Dummy back in October: ‘People compare us to Theo Parrish [snap!] They’re safe but we don’t listen to that. We’re just doing world music… It’s an appreciation for sound.’ A humble, outward-looking yet introspective world view indeed that adds to Tenderlonious’ charm.

It’s then of no surprise whatsoever that the collective is spreading its sound expansively over the course of Summer ’15 with appearances at top-bill festivals including Dimensions and Gottwood. Tenderlonious joins a host of musical talent – from Ben UFO, Motor City Drum Ensemble and Zip, to 22a’s very own Al Dobson Jr to name just a few – to grace the stages at Gottwood’s mystical little party hidden in the woods. Taking the time out to share some of the most cherished records in his collection, from John Coltrane (x2!) to Isaac Hayes via Poland, Tenderlonious gives us a markedly jazzy insight into the pastiche of his productions.


John Coltrane – A Love Supreme

Some of the most important figures in music!  John Coltrane, Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner and Jimmy Garrison.  Pure energy and sonic depth all coming from acoustic instruments – I can never get enough of this record!

Yusef Lateef – Yusef Lateef In Nigeria

Ridiculous grooves all over this record, with Lateef adding his unique sound!

Tomasz Stanko Septet – Litania: Music Of Krzysztof Komeda

Jazz from Poland is too underrated!  Stanko is one of my favourite trumpet players and the music of Komeda holds so much raw emotion.

Isaac Hayes – Shaft

One of my favourite film soundtracks – so much variety on this album and so well executed.

Cannonball Adderley Sextet – Jazz Workshop Revisited

Mad inspiration from this record – Adderley had that killer line-up! Joe Zawinul, Yusef Lateef, Sam Jones, Louis Hayes and Nat Adderley.  Enough said!

Manfred Schoof Quintet – Scales

These guys are slept on – some of the toughest Free Jazz Fusion to come out of the 70’s.   Straight out of Germany on a Bitches Brew tip!

John Coltrane – Africa Brass

Another Coltrane classic! Backed by an amazing brass sectioned and assisted by the phenomenal Eric Dolphy.  Too deep!

Hannibal & The Sunrise Orchestra – Children Of The Fire

Such a beautiful record – full of hope and optimism!  This LP will take you on a sonic journey.


Tenderlonious is playing at Gottwood Festival 11-14th June 2015. For full info and tickets check out Gottwood’s official website.