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

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age 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


Previously in Exposé...

Five Fifteen - Alcohol – Has it really been eight years since Six Dimensions of the Electric Camembert? That was the last full album by this Finnish hard rock band this writer heard, more or less corresponding to their switch...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues