Nnenna Freelon - Blueprint Of A Lady: Sketches Of Billie HolidayConcord
Nnenna Freelon has long been one of my favourite jazz vocalists and since her award winning self titled debut in 1992 has rarely disappointed. On this her 10th album she delves into the Billie Holiday songbook, whether it be songs written by Lady Day or ones that will eternally be associated with her. 'God Bless The Child', Strange Fruit' and 'Willow Weep For Me' are all handled beautifully but I'm currently hooked on 'I Didn't Know What Time It Was'. The band really let loose on this funky swinger whilst Nnenna performs vocal acrobatics, soaring high and sweeping low, putting her own distinctive stamp on this evergreen.
Andy Allen, 02/06
Nobody presents Blank Blue - Western Water Music Vol IIUbiquity Records
Elvin Estela, aka Nobody returns with his follow up to Western Water Vol I “Pacific Drift”. Nobody is building on his love of psychedelic soft rock layered with heavy bass lines and lively drum beats. The major difference is the addition of Niki Randa on vocals and she definitely adds another dimension not heard on the previous release. “All The Shallow Deep” is a unique fusion of electric guitar and experimental beats complemented by Niki’s lush vocals. “Ignite” is another highlight where the beats are a little more progressive but the tone is dreamy and harmonic. Nobody has created a soft rock gem with a west coast vibe that evokes images of lazy summer days soaking up rays. Fans of “Pacific Drift” will surely enjoy this.
Reg Dancy, 06/08
Nomade Orquestra -Far Out
The Sao Paolo based band known as the Nomade Orquestra is a hybrid of influences fromjazz and funk to Afrobeat blended into their Brazilian roots. The strong level of musicianship from the ten member group that is evident right from the start. "Samurai" opens up with swaying horn arrangements and a thumping rhythm section. There's some spirited soloing from Marco Stoppa on Trumpet and Marcos Mauricio on keys. "Morning Birds" is filled with hypnotic flute rhythms and features Beto Montag on Marimba. "Venus" is spacey psychedelic jazz featuring haunting guitar rhythms courtesy of Luiz Galvao. Formed in 2012 this band displays a maturity well beyond their existence. This band is cooking on all levels and this superb release is evidence of that.
Reg Dancy, 05/16
Nomo - Ghost RockUbiquity Records
I hope you were one of the fortunate ones that didn’t sleep on "New Tones", the 2006 release by Nomo that dropped on Ubiquity records. The Michigan based band’s combination of free jazz and Afro beat rhythms was too good to resist. From the opening track, you were drawn in to the pulsating rhythms, the blaring horns and the energy these guys bring to the table. On their new release "Ghost Rock", the energy is bursting more than ever. The tighter, more electronic grooves are evident on the opening track "Brainwave", a spacey, looping, hypnotic intro. The percussive rhythm of "All the Stairs" is heightened by the brilliant work of Hamid Drake and Adam Rudolph, both renowned for their drumming and percussion work. "My Dear" provides more of the same, only the beats are raised to another level and the horn section is off the charts. Although there is only nine songs here, Nomo certainly proves that less is more. If you liked the previous disc, you will love "Ghost Rock". These guys have developed into a band to be reckoned with. If you ever get the chance to see these guys live, don’t hesitate. In the meantime, do yourself a favor and pick up this exceptional disc. I dare you not to move.
Reg Dancy, 08/08
Nomo - New TonesUbiquity Records
Nomo's 2nd album continues the heavy percussion and horn laced Afro-jazz vibe established on their 1st self-titled outing from 2004. 'New Tones' is a consistently good set throughout but pay special attention to 'Hand And Mouth' and the title track (spelled 'Nu Tones' for some reason) which has a bass line reminiscent of that on Lonnie Liston Smith's 'Expansions'. This one is destined to mash up the dance floors in the coming months. Also look out for the recent 12" on Kindred Spirits which features 4 tracks from the 1st album.
Andy Allen, 05/06
Nomumbah - Love MovesYoruba Records
Nomumbah are Sao Paulo based trio Ale Reis, Rafael Moraes and Andre Torquato who drop their debut long player for Osunlade's Yoruba records. 'Love Moves' is a beautifully produced album of deep house grooves incorporating heavy doses of Brazilian soul and jazz. Their version of Lo Borges' 'Tudo Que Voca Podia Ser', which initially appeared on Osunlade's 'Ibara: River Crossing' compilation is exceptional, as are 'Outono' with it's squelchy bass and electro keys noodlings and the jazz-funk/broken-boogie flavour of 'I Can Fly'. 'Love Moves' is really strong throughout though and deserves your full attention.
Andy Allen, 05/07
Nostalgia 77 - Everything Under The SunTru Thoughts Recordings
We're only one month into 2007 and Nostalgia 77 aka Benedic Lamdin is out of the blocks with another excellent album under his belt. While some of us are still enjoying his albums from 2006, Benedic is going full steam ahead with his next idea and constantly pushing himself with new challenges. So much so "Everything Under The Sun" features wonderful vocals from Lizzy Parks and Beth Rowley, who both bring a charm and sophistication to what can be only described simply as Jazz. I can't highlight any of of the nine tracks because they are all beautiful and you must listen to every track in its own right. This is the perfect way to start 2007!
Simon Harrison, 02/07
Nostalgia 77 - FifteenTru Thoughts
Nostalgia 77 founder Ben Lamdin celebrates fifteen years of glorious music with "Fifteen". Lamdin along with the Tru Thoughts family collaborated in selecting some of their timeless ethereal compositions from their deep vault for this release. One can only imagine the challenge they had in picking just nineteen tunes. In the end it looks as though they did a fabulous job. Evidence of that comes from the opening track "Quiet Dawn", a haunting tune featuring Beth Rowley on vocals. Alice Russell, whose powerful soulful vocals has received worldwide acclaim shines on "Seven Nation Army". Other highlights include "Stars", a gem that was recorded with the Nostalgia 77 Octet and the folk inspired "Beautiful Lie". The Ambassadeurs trippy remix of "Sleepwalker" is a downtempo delight and captures the groups varied musical range. If you're a bit late to Ben Lamdim's body of work then this would be a great place to start. If you've been riding with him all along then this is a great reminder of the quality of music he has given us over the years.
Reg Dancy, 04/18
Nostalgia 77 - One Offs, Remixes and B-SidesTru Thoughts Recordings
This two disc set by Nostalgia 77ʼs Ben Lamdin is a great showcase of his talents as a producer, bandleader and DJ. Remixes & B-sides has a little bit of everything. Letʼs start with the soul funk compositions. Ben remakes Alice Russellʼs "Knee Deep" and creates an instrumental that is haunting and funky. Bonoboʼs "In Between The Lines" is a great selection with a combination of a funky horn section and the enchanting vocals of Bajka. Other stellar remixes include Elizabeth Shepardʼs "Reversed." The New Mastersounds, the Leeds UK based group, create the ultimate soul jazz record with help from Corrine Bailey Rae with "Your Love Is Mine". Disc two is an impressive collection of Avant Garde jazz. A great example of that is "Nativeland," a Horace Tapscott tune recorded live is a wonderful exploration of spiritual jazz. The twenty two minute. "Impossible Equation," a previously limited edition record that was only available on vinyl is a must have record for any avant garde jazz fan, is free jazz in it's purest form. Nostalgia 77 is simply a great collection of music by Ben Lamdin. Just having one of these discs would be worth the price of purchase, but having these two discs together is a bonanza of great music that shouldnʼt be ignored. You could play this record for weeks and not grow tired due to the musical array of selections here. A very satisfying listen.
Reg Dancy, 05/08
Nostalgia 77 Octet - BorderlandsTru Thoughts Recordings
There seems to be a competition going on between Quantic and Nostalgia 77 to see who can release the most music in a short space of time, and it's pretty much neck and neck at the moment. A few weeks ago the breathtaking album "The Impossible Equation" was released - and on vinyl only which was nice - and now we have "Borderlands". The Nostalgia 77 Octet is the live incarnation of Benedic Lamdin's solo project. In February the band locked themselves away in a cottage in Wales to rehearse and record this album and by the sounds of it, that must have been quite a week. Inspired by the sounds of soul, funk, gospel and classic jazz of the 60's and 70's, it all comes together beautifully for a modern world. Jazz at its best for the twenty-first century.
Simon Harrison, 10/06