South London singer-songwriter and guitarist, Oscar Jerome, is a pillar of the city's nu-jazz scene.
Championed for his work as a solo artist as well as his contributions to Afrobeat collective Kokoroko, Oscar's technical abilities as a musician have not gone unnoticed.
Discussing his debut, he says: ‘Breathe Deep is a pretty broad presentation of who I am musically and my journey to get to this point. On a personal level, it’s a reflection of the effort put in during that path of self-bettering, both emotionally and in life more broadly. It’s about preparing oneself for failure and growing from that. Taking a moment to step back and see where things are going and where one has been.’
Alongside the album release, Jerome has also announced a lengthy UK/European tour for later this year, including his biggest headliner to date at Electric Brixton, London on 25 November, after sold-out shows across the capital at the likes of Heaven, Village Underground and EartH.
We asked Oscar Jerome to make us a playlist for the weekend. Tune in.
Jimi Hendrix - Little Wing
Jimi has been so influential to me as a guitarist and songwriter, especially this song. The imagery in his lyrics are amazing too.
Bob Dylan - Don’t Think Twice it’s Alright
I’m a sentimental soul really and this tune always gets me, takes me to a place that I think most people have been.
MF Doom - Doomsday
This is another nostalgic one for me. Takes me to my early days in London trying to find my feet. I like how Dooms tunes can feel really deep, but he always has an element of humour in there too. I think I learnt a lot about being yourself in your music from him.
George Benson - Billie’s Bounce
This is the height of bebop guitar playing for me. Benson was the first jazz guitarist I ever go into when I was about 14. He never stops amazing me.
Gil Scott Heron - Winter in America
We used to listen to a live version of this on YouTube all the time when I was in a student house in New Cross. The Gil Scott Heron is one of the greatest story tellers and I have always resonated with how he uses music to talk about injustice in the world.
Wes Montgomery - So Do It!
This was one of the first jazz guitar solos I learnt to play all the way through and has definitely influenced my playing. Wes is the greatest… untested.
John Martyn - Spencer The Rover
I am a country boy at heart and John Martyn has always been a way for me to connect with that part of myself. This is an old British folk song and he manages to make it sound very old and very soulful at the same time. This. Playing this tune has always been a kind of therapy for me.
Ebo Taylor - Love and Death
Playing in Kokoroko was a massive part of my musical and personal development. This tune really takes me back to the early days with those guys.
Joni Mitchell - Coyote
Joni is another incredible story teller that I have learnt so much from. She effortlessly beams you into scenarios and it feels like you are really there. I feel like the album Hejira needs to be listened to in full so I just picked the first tune on it.
Miles Davis - Some Day My Prince Will Come
This is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever created and the album this is from was the first jazz album I ever listened to. Everyone’s playing on it is amazing, particularly the juxtaposition of Hank Mobley and John Coltrane’s saxophone solos make it a journey.