JAZZ US3 Jazz Cafe, London

"You're late! Get on with it!" To rile the Jazz Cafe cappuccino kids takes some doing, but US3 took to the stage confident that they would be forgiven for this delay and the four-year wait for Broadway and 52nd, the follow-up to Hand on the Torch.

In the early Nineties, good ol' homeboy Colonel Saunders decided that US3's outrageously groovy "Cantaloop/Flip Fantasia" would shift his funky chicken and tapped into the hip-hop sound of '93 and came up with jazz- rap. In its rich heritage of soul and jazz, rap saw the end to its mid- life crisis with the advent of sampling technology - a renaissance charted in the superb Rebirth of Cool series. While the competition wrangled in court over a snaffled horn-lick here or a drum-loop there, US3's Geoff Wilkinson and Mel Simpson were handed the Blue Note back-catalogue as their palette and went on to produce the legendary jazz label's biggest-selling album.

This year US3 re-emerged with the same sense of continuity and a deep reverence for their historic jazz foundations. But, in 1997, how does US3's essentially unchanged formula - the jazz greats reviewed through a purist hip-hop lens - stand up when the torch has been passed variously on to Arrested Development, G-funk, the pitch battles of gangster rap, jungle and The Fugees?

Such is Geoff Wilkinson's apparent burden of responsibility that US3's kid-gloves approach to their samples on Broadway and 52nd occasionally constipates an otherwise elegant album. Last Wednesday, however, with a rock-solid band getting its teeth into the tastiest morsels of Herbie Hancock, Donald Byrd, Wayne Shorter and other greats, compellingly funky workouts such as "Doin' a Crime" and "Caught up in a Struggle" lifted the band from the realms of coffee-table hip-hop.

Lesser rap outfits often exploit jazz as a spurious shorthand for authenticity, but the declamatory KCB and whippet-like newcomer, Spec, worked the audience energetically and provided a focus for the entire evening. KCB even attempted to rehabilitate the rap elegy with a dignified lament for his grandfather, though the ghost of Clive Dunn haunted "Grand Groove" throughout. Freed from the disjointed process of recording, Ed Jones's meandering sax, Dominic Glover's skittery trumpet and Jim Watson's often sublime keyboards meshed with fine percussion and drumming and nowhere did they seem more at ease with the Blue Note reputation than with Herbie Hancock's killer loops on "Cantaloop/Flip Fantasia".

Nevertheless, what deviations there were from a night of righteous groove served only to reveal US3's rather quaint sense of decorum. It's not that the nod to jazz poetry in "Sheep" or the Middle Eastern sax motifs on "Snake" weren't expertly deployed, but that you didn't look to US3 for musical daring. The upmarket crowd had come for superior jazz-rap and they drove away happy in their Citroen DSs.

As a class British act, and a valuable one at that, US3 are more usefully considered as part of a Camden funk axis with Soul II Soul and not really as a pioneering musical unit: the truly progressive spirit of jazz seems to lie with those intrepid explorers of weird, Mo' Wax. Until the day US3 have exhausted their rich Blue Note seam, it's "boogiewoogie, jamslam" for a long time to come.

Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Arts and Entertainment
TV
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Former Communards frontman Jimmy Somerville
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl
filmFirst look at Oscar winner as transgender artist
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month
TV reviewHouse of Cards returns to Netflix
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford will play Rick Deckard once again for the Blade Runner sequel
film review
Arts and Entertainment
The modern Thunderbirds: L-R, Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John in front of their home, the exotic Tracy Island
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
    Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

    Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

    Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
    Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

    Cult competition The Moth goes global

    The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
    Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

    Pakistani women come out fighting

    Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
    Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

    Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

    The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
    LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

    Education: LGBT History Month

    Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
    11 best gel eyeliners

    Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

    Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

    After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot