WHENEVER I mention I like jazz, the usual response is a reference Louis Balfour, the Fast Show character played by John Thomson. Presenter of the show’s fictional Jazz Club, Balfour wore a classic combination of bowl haircut and red polo neck. His signature move was to turn to the camera, and utter his catchphrase. ‘Nice’.

Niceness, perhaps, has long been one of the core problems with popular perceptions of jazz. It’s often seen as a music form that is offensively inoffensive and leading the listener down the slippery slope towards easy listening and muzak. Think jazz, think wine bar music: Kenny G with trademark perm and soporific saxophone solos.

But for those of us who do like our jazz, it’s an artform that couldn’t be further away from this common. There’s Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker, a musician battling with heroin addiction before Sid Vicious was even born. There’s John Coltrane, perhaps the only person ever to have been both canonised and awarded a Pulitzer Prize. And there’s Miles Davis, whose 1970 album Bitches Brew remains an dark, dense rites of passage for any real music fan.

Over the last year or so, something different has been bubbling up in British jazz. Focused around, but not exclusively in London, a new generation of jazz artists have begun to reach up and rise towards public recognition. There have plenty of rebirths of jazz in the past – Acid Jazz and Jazztronica have had their moments in recent decades. But this latest jazz revival is marked by both the youth of its core participants, and also in its amalgamation of different influences. In the same way that one of the key features of fiction in recent years has been how barriers between different genres has broken down, so these new jazz artists borrow a rich range of influences from Afrobeat to drum and bass, grime to reggae.

It’s a fascinating fusion of styles that has been quietly seeping into festival line-ups this summer: powerful performances by the likes of Kokoroko, the Ezra Collective, Moses Boyd, Nussef Kamaal, The Comet is Coming and Sons of Kemet. There’s an edge, an energy and a coming together of cultures to much of this music – not necessarily the way you might expect the next generation to express themselves, perhaps, but one that in its own way packs a distinctive political punch.

As I’ve found myself falling back in love with jazz, so I keep discovering other friends embarking on a similar journey of rediscovery. The new jazz revolution hasn’t quite reached Salisbury yet, but maybe those who book these sorts of things should take note. Enticing some of these musicians down here would be, to borrow a phrase, nice.