Exposé Online banner

The NJE — Afloat
(Sartorial Records FIT066CD, 2017, CD)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2017-07-31

Afloat Cover art

Like many band names, The Near Jazz Experience (NJE) came about by chance. The band was trying to explain their sound of horn-led rock/pop instrumentals and the closest description was having a “near jazz experience.” Even though multi-instrumentalist Terry Edwards, bassist Mark Bedford, and drummer Simon Charterton formed NJE in the Spring of 2010, I believe that Afloat is their first album. Over the last seven years they’ve honed their love of improvised and slightly experimental music with accessible funky beats and grooves in the heart of London’s East End, headlining the monthly Sartorial Records music nights. NJE does not rehearse, instead they intuitively improvise with an ear to the beat and tonality of Edwards’ lead lines. Afloat contains eleven instrumentals arising from both live and studio recording sessions. Their signature sound includes Edwards’ alto and tenor sax simultaneous playing, Charterton’s polyrhythmic funk patterns, and Bedford’s fluid bass lines. They also integrate electronics, trumpet, processed voices, and keyboards into their compositions. This is fun music, with enthusiastic audience participation on the live tracks. The final four tracks bring additional surprises and joy to the listener. First there is Hendrix’ “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” that is an ingenious reinterpretation rather than a mere cover. Edwards’ lyrical sax assumes Jimi’s lead guitar riffs and vocal lines. The result is so familiar that I found myself singing along, yet reinvented, taking me into a parallel world. “Acoustic Pts. I & II” is NJE riffing on Can’s “Mother Sky.” When I saw the song title “Knife-Edge” I was expecting a cover of this ELP tune, but unless I am missing something in this live performance of crazed sax, bass, and drums, it is not a cover. And NJE closes Afloat with an inspired riff on the Christmas Carol “We Three Kings.” So treat yourself to a near jazz experience, you won’t be disappointed.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): The NJE

Latest news

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the ago of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Glass Hammer - The Inconsolable Secret – One could arguably claim that this release finds American prog band Glass Hammer at the top of their game, which probably explains the scope of this effort. First of all, it s a two-disk set in a...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues