About Moses Boyd
One of the genuine stars of London's 21st century jazz scene, drummer Moses Boyd quickly established himself in the mid-2010s as a bandleader, composer, and collaborator whose affinity for other genres like grime and electronica helped distinguish his original approach. As half of the sax-and-drums duo Binker & Moses and leader of his Exodus band, Boyd's performances and acclaimed releases, like 2015's Dem Ones (Binker & Moses) and 2016's Time and Space EP (Moses Boyd Exodus), helped set the table for his ambitious 2018 full-length Displaced Diaspora and 2020's globally acclaimed, prize-winning Dark Matter.
Born in South London, Boyd began playing drums at the age of 13, taking as much inspiration from jazz greats like Miles Davis as from the grime albums of Dizzee Rascal. After initial instruction from jazz drummer Bobby Dodsworth, Boyd became a part of the jazz education program Tomorrow's Warriors while studying at Trinity Laban College, cutting his teeth at local jam sessions. He formed the duo Binker & Moses with tenor saxophonist Binker Golding, and their 2015 debut, Dem Ones, earned an award for Best Jazz Act at the urban MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Awards. That same year, Boyd issued his first release as bandleader of the Exodus, the Footsteps of Our Fathers EP, a tribute to his jazz influences. Over the next two years, he continued to perform with the Exodus and Binker & Moses, and as a solo act under the name Solo Exodus, combining elements of jazz, grime, and electronica.
Following a pair of 2016 Exodus releases, the "Rye Lane Shuffle" single and the four-song Time and Space EP, Boyd was awarded the John Peel Play More Jazz Award at the Gilles Peterson Worldwide Awards. Another Binker & Moses release, the ambitious and avant-garde double album Journey to the Mountain of Forever, and another Exodus EP, Absolute Zero, arrived in 2017. Meanwhile, Boyd continued to expand his role as a collaborator, working with a variety of acts, from electronic artists like Four Tet and Floating Points to jazz and soul artists like Lonnie Liston Smith and singer Zara McFarlane. Early 2018 saw the release of We Out Here, a compilation from Brownswood Recordings featuring Boyd and other leading lights of London's burgeoning young jazz scene, including Nubya Garcia and Shabaka Hutchings. That year also brought the Binker & Moses live outing Alive in the East? and the expansive Exodus full-length Displaced Diaspora, which featured a host of guests including Kevin Haynes Grupo Elegua and Terri Walker.
After an already hefty career, Boyd released his debut solo album, Dark Matter, in 2020. It showcased the many aspects of his music, including jazz, electronica, and grime influences, and included appearances from Poppy Ajudha, Obongjayar, and longtime collaborator Joe Armon-Jones. That July, Dark Matter was shortlisted for the 2020 Hyundai Mercury Prize. The list was chosen by an independent panel of judges and revealed on host Lauren Laverne's BBC Radio 6 Music program. ~ Timothy Monger