Something Else! sneak peek: Brand New Heavies, “Sunlight” feat. N’Dea Davenport (2013)

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Seven years after their last release, acid-jazz pioneers The Brand New Heavies signal a return to original form with “Sunlight.” The advance single from their Shanachie Entertainment debut Forward (out May 21) is a tune that pulses with a thumb-popping bass line over a disco beat, a catchy, uplifting harmony, swirling Chic-styled strings and N’Dea Davenport’s soaring vocals. The video promotes the party vibe of the song with footage of young revelers at what I’m guessing is set somewhere in the Caribbean and plenty of bikini-clad eye candy (for those who perplexingly can’t get by on the music alone, I would assume).

One of the progenitors in UK of a Seventies-styled mixture of soul, funk and jazz along with Incognito and Jamiroquai, the Brand New Heavies helped to bring a swift, sharp kick in the pants to the increasingly over-processed, over-sampled and over-produced RnB form starting with their self-titled 1990 debut. They’re an actual band that wrote their own music, played their own instruments and charted their own path forward by, ironically, looking back. The acid jazz movement never went mainstream, at least not in the U.S., but it’s never left us, either.

BNH and their peers have occasionally updated their sound, which seems to go against the whole idea of acid jazz, but never completely abandoned their old school roots, and “Sunlight” is affirmation that this band, with founding members Jan Kincaid (drums, keyboards), Simon Bartholomew (guitar) and Andrew Levy (bass) still on board, hadn’t forgotten about what made them great in the first place. It might seem funny to state this, but here’s hoping that this is indication that the whole of Forward goes backwards like this track.

Purchase the “Sunlight” single mp3 there.

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S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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