– GUERRILLA WARFARE –
So, you want to hear what the coolest women in the UK jazz scene sound like? Here, help yourself to a sassy sample of NÉRIJA – a proper who’s-who of the movement’s finest fairer-sex talent.
Nubya Garcia (tenor saxophone), KOKOROKO and SEED Ensemble’s Sheila Maurice-Grey (trumpet) and Cassie Kinoshi (alto saxophone), Rosie Turton (trombone), Shirley Tetteh (guitar, also known as Nardeydey and part of SEED Ensemble) and Lizy Exell (drums) teamed up with bloke-with-long-hair (and therefore honorary woman) Rio Kai (bass and part of SEED Ensemble).
And, following on from their 2016 (and recently re-released) debut self-titled EP, the septet return with new single Riverfest and, with it, the promise of a first proper album, Blume.
The name Nérija comes from Greek and means ‘of the water / aquatic’. And so it is that the band of the same name flows effortlessly back into our lives after having left it for a number of years while its constituent parts went off to conquer the nu-jazz world. (Note, since publishing this review, it has come to my attention that the band’s name is actually the French spelling of the Hebrew word ‘Neriyah’, meaning ‘lamp or light of God’… which is a far better meaning than the one I Googled above but less easy to make a ‘flowing back into our lives’ joke about.)
Riverfest very much picks up where the band’s previous work left off.
Exell’s off-kilter Latin rhythms once again provide the powerhouse behind the track with probably the band’s best hook to date providing the track’s chorus.
But, in a slight twist on that which we’ve previously heard from the girls (apart from arguably on Valleys), it’s not their fearsome horns section that take the lead here; rather, solos from guitarist Tetteh as well as bassist Kai steal the spotlight.
It makes for a return that is as punchy as it is timely.
The album, Blume, is scheduled for release on 2 August.
MORE FROM THIS WEEK’S MIX
P.S. You can find all of the tracks reviewed above in the 45 Revolutions per Minute playlist below or click to access the 45 RPM Playlist on Spotify itself.
If you like what you hear (or even if you don’t), please engage in dialogue with me @45rpm_Reviews on Twitter. And, if you’d like to receive updates weekly, please subscribe to the email list to get these recommendations sent to your inbox weekly.
– SV –