The Brand New Heavies
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Yes, yes and YES! The Brand New Heavies are back with their sensational new album TBNH. An album that not only harks back to the days of early ‘90s Heavies Acid Jazz and Brit Funk (think long suede jackets, secondhand thrift stores and a flare in your jeans as well as your attitude), but it also sees the long awaited return of former lead vocalist, the legendary N’Dea Davenport.
The album kicks off with the upbeat “Beautiful” with vocals provided by British Soul Queen Beverly Knight and quickly heads into yet more legendary territory with another former lead vocalist for the band, GRAMMY Award winner Siedah Garrett on “Just Believe In You.” “Getaway” is the first time on the album that we are re-introduced to Davenport and in true Heavies style, it doesn’t fail to deliver on the Acid Jazz sound that first garnered the group fame back in 1990. It’s also a welcome surprise to hear Angie Stone making a standout appearance in laying down her velvet smooth vocals on the soulful “Together.”
Group co-founders Simon Bartholomew and Andrew Levy deserve a metaphorical pat on the back for not only incorporating the talents of the aforementioned legends, but also for introducing the likes of Jack Night, Honey Larochelle and the band’s current lead vocalist Angela Ricci, all of whom contribute to making TBNH one of this year’s standout albums.
If you ever had a doubt as to what made the Heavies famous back in the ‘90s and what has allowed them to have a career that will hit the 30-year mark next year, the funky groove of “The Funk Is Back” will most definitely educate you on the band’s roots and may even force your hips to start moving. That is essentially who the Heavies are: Masters In Modern Day Funk. Bartholomew’s vocals also work brilliantly on this track, one of the albums finest tracks.
The Brand New Heavies have not failed to deliver with TBNH, and yes, Acid Jazz is just as relevant as ever. This album sees the band return to their former record label, the appropriately monikered Acid Jazz label, and it’s also the first recording without former original band member, drummer Jan Kincaid, replaced by Luke Harris. These changes, along with the introduction of an array of guest vocalists, have created an album that not only pays homage to the band’s roots, but allows for the reemergence of Acid Jazz to step out of the shadows of the homogenization that the genre has all too often been grouped into (Neo-Soul, Jazz Funk) in recent times.
Not that the Heavies ever left, but they are most definitely back with a corker of an album that will not only have the most ardent of fans reveling in this offering, but it also allows for a new generation of listeners to enjoy the sweet sounds of one of the originators of Acid Jazz that continue to shape the genre today.
Notable Tracks: "Dontcha Wanna" | “Getaway” | "It’s My Destiny" | “The Funk Is Back” | “Together”