Tag Archives: Nu-jazz

Nostalgia 77 and the Monster – The Taxidermist (2012)

Nostalgia 77 and the Monster - The Taxidermist (2012)

Nostalgia 77 is the moniker of British producer, Benedic Lamdin, and on first glance one would be forgiven for thinking that this might be some retro punk album the ransom note lettering and the presence in the name of that iconic year.

However, while Nostalgia 77 is not a band to follow the rules, this isn’t some 3-chord shouty hop around. What we have here is an absolutely amazing modern Jazz album.

While the rhythms may be modern and straying into nu-jazz territory, the rest sounds so classic. Latin rhythms drive title track, The Taxidermist, while a Miles-esque trumpet takes you from Jazz bliss into psychedelic reverie; the same is true on The Ignored. The Last Few Days has a choppy piano lead the way, with off kilter precision, and Algeron and Zippy Slipper take a more dark-jazz approach, sounding more like the Kilimanjaro Dark Jazz Ensemble or Bohren and Der Club of Gore.  Sun Ra cover, Angels and Devils at Play is another outstanding number, starting out slow with a mournful trumpet, building in intensity to a riotious musical battle that just blows you away.

In short, this is a fantastic Jazz album. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Favourite tracks: The Taxidermist, Angels and Devils at Play, Zippy Slipper

Spotify link: Nostalgia 77 and the Monster – The Taxidermist
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Mark de Clive-Lowe & the Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra – Take the Space Trane (2013)

Mark de Clive-Lowe & the Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra - Take the Space Trane (2013)

Mark de Clive-Lowe is a producer/composer from New Zealand. Before today, I hadn’t heard of him, so I did little background listening and honestly, before this album, it isn’t really my thing: pop/R’n’B, high production values, but little of interest. However, here he teams up with the Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra for a dip into some nu-jazz.

From the start, it is evident that there is some sort of anachronistic juxtaposition; the title alludes to both Duke Ellington’s Take the “A” Train and John “Trane” Coltrane, so when we start listening and hear funky breakbeats mixed with Bop horns, it is something we know that shouldn’t necessarily work. But work it does and this is treat!

The beats and bass are straight out of club-land and the horns are straight out of Birdland!

From upbeat opener Relax… Unwind, to the swing/breakbeat-combination Blues for Six, which seems to take Tuxedo Junction as it’s blueprint, through rhythm and blues freakout, Caravan, through the more electronic influenced Money – Don’t Let it Catch Ya, to the amazing closer, title track, Take the Space Trane, in which the electronics take more of a lead, this album is a tour de force.

So often with electronic fusion Jazz, the actual Jazz itself takes a back seat to the electronics and is dull, repetitive and tepid; too much nu- and not enough -jazz, if you know what i mean. On Take the Space Trane, this is not the case, the balance is perfect, the players are inspired. The electronics actually feel a proper part of the ensemble, they augment the Jazz rather than detract from it: a few breakbeats here and there, a sprinkling of synth and even a couple of subtle cheeky bassdrops/turntable slowdowns.

This is how nu-jazz should be. A fantastic album!

Favourite tracks: Relax… Unwind, Money – Don’t Let it Catch Ya, Take the Space Trane.

Spotify link: Mark de Clive-Lowe & the Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra – Take the Space Trane
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Goldfish – Goldfish (2012)

Goldfish - Goldfish (2012)

 

Goldfish hail from Cape Town, South Africa, but sound more like a Europop band; maybe not as bubblegum as a lot of Europop, there is certainly a lot more interest on this album.

This is something of a “best of” after Goldfish’s move to EMI records, so collects songs from previous albums as well as two new tracks.

In general, they take a lot of sounds from Jazz, sampled piano vamps on most tracks, Woman’s a Devil starts with a Charlston-eque looped horn riff and a highlight to me, as does the sax on Brush Your Hair. However, the predominant genre is dance, which leads to uninteresting rhythms (it barely changes the whole album), and cliched licks.

Overall, this album doesn’t appeal to me; there’s nothing particularly wrong with it, it just isn’t my cup of tea.

Favourite tracks: Woman’s a Devil, Brush Your Hair, In Too Deep.

Spotify link: GoldFish – Goldfish
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