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

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Various Artists - A Propos d'Ange – In the history of French rock, two names stand out among all others in terms of leadership, originality of style, and influence over all that would follow. Magma's contribution is well known, having...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues