EFG London Jazz Festival 2022


In Association with SoS Ltd

Event Has Passed

Last Show: Friday 18 th November 2022

PizzaExpress Live (Holborn)

Coming from different social backgrounds albeit from the same town, Ajit Gill and Theo Howarth might have never crossed paths had it not been for a chance meeting when both were working as techs on tour. Finding a shared love of groove, nu-jazz, and broken beat quickly found them writing and recording together. The resulting burst of shared musical ideas traversing spiritual nu-jazz, Dilla-inspired hip-hop and neo-soul, gave birth to Vertaal, the duo developing a passion for the freedom and raw expression of the music.

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“You need to go hunt this down. They’re making incredible music!”

Tony Minvielle (Jazz FM)

As a youngster living in the capital, Ajit was exposed to the contrasting musical worlds of East-Coast hip hop, d‘n’b and rave culture mixed with traditional music from his family’s Indian heritage. A fascination for complex rhythms and patterns developed, defining the unique style and beats he weaves into Vertaal’s sound. 

Touring with an iconic disco band, Theo was mentored in live sound from a young age, meeting artists and producers which led to work in various studios whilst pursuing his own sound. Early Portico Quartet and Bonobo inspired an electronic project Triplet Code in which he developed a passion for writing and producing, developing a unique sonic footprint. He is currently working on a new solo record with J. Raise, Jr.

Their day-jobs (both are producers, Theo is also a sound engineer and Ajit, a session drummer), have meant they are able to combine their skills to fashion an ever-shifting musical journey. For live gigs they are augmented by a fluctuating line-up of guest instrumentalists who change the flavour of every show, stretching and expanding the arrangements. This informs their studio journey as their catalogue is constantly re-evaluated, re-recorded and re-released as part of their unique journey as an ever-evolving band.

Vertaal have been a notable presence in capital over the last couple of years. Tipped as “ones to watch for 2019” by Jazz Re:freshed and for 2021 by BBC Introducing, Vertaal played an exclusive pick of sold out shows at prestigious venues such as Ronnie Scott’s, Pizza Express Soho and the Jazz Café.  

They have also supported the likes of Mark Guiliana (David Bowie), & Pete Ray Biggin (Level 42) and finished off 2019 guesting for Richard Spaven at The Cambridge Jazz Festival.


Vertaal first mixtape, Paradigm Shifting had a soft digital released on the 23rd  April 2020, on Vertaal’s Empty Quarter Tribe imprint, then a hard release on double vinyl a year later with new mixes and tracks. The initial numbered pressing on coloured vinyl sold out on release.

Self-produced, recorded and mixed in their own homes, the record showcases the various tones and facets of Vertaal.

Nominated by Jazz Revelations for EP of 2020, the album was supported by a single, Alcazar b/w Husky.