Singer Bajka opens this R&B- and Soul-induced new album by German Hidden Jazz Quartett with an Erykah Badu-styled, alluring “Luvlite” which also features a cool baritone sax, played by Stephan Abel. The production throughout the album is crisp and clear and, yes, raw. And British soul icon Omar graces the pretty jazzy and hip “High Heels”, accompanied by some sexy saxophone work and some cute Hammond organ by Lutz “Hammond” Krajenski.
Swing and boogaloo 60s style is on the menu for “His Footlocker”, fronted by the funky bari work and some mean guitar. The Hammond solo takes you back to Jimmy McGriff from his late 60s Blue Note years. The bluesy vocals of Greg Blackman take you on a three-and-a-half minute soul ride on “Tap On The Backdoor”, complete with more of those B3 twirls.
Bajka is back for the cool midtempo stomper “Soulosophy” which comes across more like a jam-styled piece. Afro and poetry guru Anthony Joseph guests on “Kimberley Hotel”, a handclapping groover which is getting a bit samey and never really starts to happen. We go back to 2010 with “Wälzer”, which was the group’s first 10 inch vinyl release and sees the light of day again on the full-length. The accordion opening later makes way for a track which to me is too uneven and worn-out.
The Miles Davis classic “Nardis”, written by the trumpet meister in 1958, is played here as a reggae which doesn’t really do it for me. And “Lush Life” too, the Billy Strayhorn standard, sung here by Tim Hollingsworth, doesn’t catch fire. There is a sparkle missing and the tune is treated as a lackluster piece. There is also an intrumental version of the pretty slick and cool “Luvlite” plus a rather short remix of the same track by Jon Kennedy where the original soulfulness is lacking though and the track becomes a sort of quirky-sounding experiment. And Lack Of Afro are having fun with their remix of the Omar-fronted “High Heels”.Follow: