“I love The Expansions their futuristic leanings inject new life into the form. Fresh material!” Ian Merchant (Black Acre)
“Exudes all the qualities I cherish most in music, warmth, integrity and a dedication to the groove… it’s a hard road to travel when you step in the footprints of giants, The Expansions are treading that path with ease and assurance.” Patrick Forge
“Coming off something like the UK’s more jazz-funk fueled answer to BBNG, all four quarters of this monstrous unit are on point on this hugely anticipated release. There’s got to be a very special long-player in the works, and I for one can’t wait to immerse myself in that!” Dom Servini (Wah Wah 45s)
“The Expansions, very funky! Headhunters/Weather Report inspired, and definitely worth checking out. My new favourite band.” Steve White (Style Council, Paul Weller)
Laid-Back Jazz Funk
The Expansions are probably one of the most important bands in London, that you don’t know about… Not least, for propping up small labels with their collective vinyl-buying habits.
When they self released their first single in 2013, the laid-back jazz funk of Lavender, it quickly gained strong support from soul and rare-groove aficionados including Kenny Dope, Dom Servini, Patrick Forge and Andy Smith. A run of shows followed and before long, when someone was asking if there was a soul-jazz band around to play with, “The Expansions” was the answer.
Although this popularity meant a bit of a hiatus in releasing music, the band have been constantly busy, playing around Europe with legendary British-Ghanaian soul singer, Andrew Ashong and the exceptional, upcoming talent Connie Constance.
Jazz And Soul Lovers
There has also been a breakout project from drummer Jonny Drop – the album Sub Plot gained massive support and love from BBC Radio 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne. While keys-man Dave Koor has been busy playing shows with Gilles Peterson favourite Hector Plimmer, improvising with Yussef Dayes (Yussef Kamaal) and Nubya Garcia, releasing music as Deoke and collaborating with label-mate Scrimshire on their Modified Man exploration.
But always, The Expansions has remained a central focus and the true home of these four jazz and soul lovers, with occasional trips out to the country to form ideas and practice new music for the eventual album.
As Jonny Drop says:
“Conceived in a barn somewhere deep in suffolk, and as the title suggests, Breakthrough was a revelation in the bands writing process. A hybrid of Jazz Funk with a positively hip hop backbone, Breakthrough represents a moment for us where we felt we had much clearer direction with our writing.”
A Special Live “Edit”
The forthcoming album, recorded at Big Noise in Southend, is constructed of single takes, with minimal overdubs, as the band attempt to capture the feeling and energy they create live. The original eight-minute album version of Breakthrough is no exception. But sensing how infectious the melody and vibe was, and knowing an edit wouldn’t do justice to the music, they returned to the live room discussed their “edit” and after a few run throughs, grabbed this unique 7” Version.
You can hear the influences of Idris Muhammad, Grover Washington, Herbie Hancock, and even parallels with South London peers Yussef Kamaal and Ruby Rushton. But The Expansions have tirelessly worked to create a sound of their own and are very proud, along with label Albert’s Favourites, to finally share it.
“This two-sided 7” conjures up a little nice slice of Jazz Funk heaven. More greatness added to the South London jazz funk gene pool.” The Showfa
“So happy the Expansions are back with new material, and this track doesn’t disappoint! A laid-back, funky, effortless groove with Dave Koor’s signature keyboard stylings tying it all together. Can’t wait to hear more.” Anne Franknstein, Jazz FM
“Loving the laid back vibes… will defo play this out, perfect for early doors bar sessions. Looking forward to hearing the full album!”Dave Fortune (My First Moth)
“SERIOUS grooooove… 9/10.” Mike Stukes Mystic Vybes WHCR 90.3 FM
“Late ’70s Herbie comparisons at least!” Nick Gray, The Gray Area