XJAZZ! FESTIVAL 2023
Prioritising feeling over perfectionism. This is the credo that drives the restless creativity of multi-instrumentalist, rapper and producer Alfa Mist. First teaching himself to produce beats as a schoolkid in East Ham, London, Alfa then went on to discover jazz through the sampling of hip-hop of producers like Hi-tek, Madlib and J Dilla. Delving deeper, he taught himself the piano by ear as a means to dissect these formative records’ harmonic intricacies, gradually forming his own production style of head-nodding rhythms combined with the immediacy of jazz improvisation, all tied together with a pervasive sense of melody. “There’s no access to jazz where I’m from,” Alfa says. “There’s no way I would have come to it without finding those hip-hop records and wanting to understand them.” It might be a state of mind that could change, but until it does it only serves to motivate Alfa’s constantly searching musical mind, one that will no doubt continue to surprise and astonish.