Mercury prize 2023: London group Ezra Collective secure first ever jazz win

Band say unexpected win is ‘testimony to good, special people putting time and effort’ into helping young people to play music

The 2023 Mercury prize has been awarded to Ezra Collective, the London band whose propulsive blend of jazz, funk and Afrobeat has electrified audiences and cemented the capital’s jazz scene as one of the world’s most exciting.

“We met in a youth club,” said drummer and bandleader Femi Koleoso on accepting the award for the year’s best British or Irish album for Where I’m Meant to Be, the band’s second release. “This moment we’re celebrating right here is testimony to good, special people putting time and effort into [helping] young people to play music … let’s continue to support that,” he added, citing grassroots collectives in London such as Tomorrow’s Warriors and Kinetika Bloco.

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