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

2019-11-07
Glenn Smith RIP – Glenn Smith, founder, mandolinist, and primary composer of the DeLand, Florida based prog / fusion band Magnatar, passed away on October 18th 2019 at the age of 68, after a brief illness.  » Read more

2019-11-04
Dino Brassea RIP – Word reaches us of the passing of Dino Brassea, who sang and played flute in Cast for many years. By our count, Brassea appeared on 11 Cast albums between 1994 and 2002. He also released music as a solo artist. » Read more

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Strawbs - Déjà Fou – Ghosts was the first Strawbs record I ever heard, and I seem to remember liking it immensely from the first play; the band quickly became one of my favorites, a position they’ve held for thirty...  (2005) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues