Pin It
Photography Ib Kamara

cktrl’s ultimate beginner’s guide to jazz music

The London musician and producer’s ultimate jazz picks featuring Sam Cooke, Nina Simone, and Eric Dolphy

The 2021 Dazed 100 – part of Open To Change, a larger platform from Dazed and Converse aiming to carve out visibility for underrepresented voices – is all about spotlighting the cultural changemakers breaking new ground across the globe. It’s about platforming ideas that will enact radical change, and looking at what’s next for the creative industries too.

As part of the programme this year, five of the Dazed 100 cohort will explore their field, their practice, and their hopes for the future in their own article for Dazed. From open source digital archive and curatorial platform Habibi Collective to the groundbreaking South African magazine and agency Bubblegum Club. This iteration sees London-based musician cktrl put together his beginner’s guide to jazz music, with a special focus on the tracks that have been particularly influential on his own work too.

cktrl is currently primed to release his EP Zero this summer, a follow-up to 2020’s celebrated Robyn EP –  the record explored contemporary classical music from the Black perspective in a stunning, slick fashion. In the time since, he’s been tapped by artists and designers from Virgil Abloh to Bianca Saunders, and had an appearance in Beyonce’s Black is King. Last month, cktrl joined forces with harpist Ahya Simone for his first single of 2020, the alluring “mazes”. The tune, accompanied by a gorgeous music video directed by Yasser Abubeker, is a testament to the quality of contemporary classical sensibilities, putting cktrl’s signature saxophone centre stage and intertwining it with full-bodied electronic beats.

The Lewisham-born and based musician explains how he would use the Converse x Dazed 100 grant to help young BIPOC from London access music education. “As a child growing up in inner-city London, I was given the opportunity to learn to play musical instruments – I learned clarinet and saxophone – through free music lessons funded by my local council,” he says. “Being given this chance undoubtedly helped shape the artist I am today.”

You can explore the full 2021 Dazed 100, in partnership with Converse, and cast your vote now – and stay tuned for the winners announcement. Below, dive deep into cktrl’s ultimate jazz primer.