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Acid Jazz - Released September 6, 2019 | Acid Jazz

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At the end of the 80s, England discovered acid jazz, a genre that combines elements of funk, soul, disco and jazz fusion. It was hugely popular, especially thanks to artists such as Incognito, the Young Disciples, Galliano, Us3, Corduroy, Snowboy, the Sandals and even Jamiroquai. In 1987, the DJs Gilles Peterson and Eddie Piller even dedicated a label to the genre, Acid Jazz Records. Within this groovy movement, which finally started to decline at the end of the 90s, The Brand New Heavies were one of the torchbearers, largely thanks to the energy injected by the various singers including N’Dea Davenport, Siedah Garrett and Carleen Anderson. The gang led by Simon Bartholomew and Andrew Levy has never stopped making music, and over the years and albums they’ve always had a hardcore fan base. This 2019 vintage, simply named TBNH, marks a turning point as it has been released on Acid Jazz Records. The album boast a 5-star line-up of singers including Beverley Knight, Angie Stone, Siedah Garrett, Angela Ricci, Jack Knight, Honey Larochelle, Laville and even N'Dea Davenport with a cover of Kendrick Lamar’s These Walls, produced here by none other than Mark Ronson. The record is a wonderfully funky toe-tapper that combines Stevie Wonder-style soul, Roy Ayers-esque funk, disco à la Chic and Herbie Hancock-like jazz rock. In short, all well-known ingredients that Simon Bartholomew and Andrew Levy cook up with exceptional know-how. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Acid Jazz - Released January 1, 1992 | Concord Records, Inc.

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Acid Jazz - Released August 11, 2014 | Acid Jazz

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Acid Jazz - Released September 16, 2013 | Acid Jazz

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Acid Jazz - Released October 2, 2009 | TBNH

"Greatest Hits Live Featuring N'Dea Davenport," reads a banner on the album cover of the Brand New Heavies' two-CD set Live in London, which answers questions about the repertoire and the identity of the frontwoman, thus reassuring fans. In this concert at the O2 Arena, described by Davenport as "kind of like our ‘welcome home' show in some respects," the Brand New Heavies are on their home turf, and after some funky instrumentals they do indeed go through many of their U.K. hits to the delight of the crowd. Davenport is even willing to take on numbers like "Sometimes" and "You Are the Universe," co-written and originally sung by one of her temporary successors, Siedah Garrett. Not all the hits are included, however, with the band's sole Top Ten, "You've Got a Friend," notably absent. Still, there is plenty of the Brand New Heavies' patented neo-soul playing to be heard, with Simon Bartholomew's guitar, the horns, and even Jan Kincaid's drums getting solo space. But Davenport proves the focus of attention, exhorting the crowd, complaining about the lighting, and singing forcefully. The album makes a good souvenir of a veteran band playing most of its best-known material to its most faithful fans. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Acid Jazz - Released January 1, 1994 | The Bicycle Music Company

This album finds the BNH heading back to the groove-driven, horn-splashed, hand-clapping funk of their debut album, with N'Dea Davenport stepping back into her role as diva/lead vocalist. Following the string of distinguished rappers who made BNH's sophomore album a brave if not wholly successful attempt to infuse rap with the energy of live instruments, Davenport delivers the consistency that was missing from that effort. Repeated listens show this album to be catchier than it initially seems (as long as one avoids "Fake," tone of the most irritating songs in a long time), and when the BNH really lock into a groove, as they do on "Keep Together," the title track, and the instrumental "Snake Hips," they surely do put the funk back in it. ~ Peter Stepek
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Acid Jazz - Released September 16, 2013 | Acid Jazz

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Acid Jazz - Released January 1, 1991 | The Bicycle Music Company

Many of the artists who were part of Britain's soul scene of the late '80s/early '90s, including Soul II Soul, Lisa Stansfield, and Caron Wheeler, took a high-tech, neo-soul approach, combining '70s-influenced R&B and disco with elements of hip-hop. The equally impressive Brand New Heavies, however, used technology sparingly, stressed the use of real instruments, and were unapologetically retro and '70s-sounding through and through. Drawing on such influences as the Average White Band and Tower of Power, the Heavies triumph by sticking with the classic R&B approach they clearly love the most. The band has a jewel of a singer in N'Dea Davenport, who is characteristically expressive on "Dream Come True" and "Stay This Way." Real horns -- not synthesizers made to sound like horns -- enrich those gems as well as the sweaty vocal funk of "People Get Ready" and "Put the Funk Back in It" and the jazz-influenced instrumental "BNH." While this fine album enjoyed cult hit status, it was sadly ignored by American urban contemporary radio. ~ Alex Henderson
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Acid Jazz - Released July 22, 2014 | Shanachie

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Acid Jazz - Released March 15, 2010 | Parlophone UK

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Acid Jazz - Released May 21, 2013 | Shanachie

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Acid Jazz - Released January 1, 1997 | The Bicycle Music Company

By the time the Brand New Heavies released Shelter in 1997, urban R&B was shifting toward the more organic grooves that they helped pioneer in the early '90s. Although the Heavies were into acid jazz as well, they smoothed over many of the experimental elements of their music in the mid-'90s, leaving behind a seductive, earthy, and jazzy variation of urban soul. That provided the foundation for Shelter, their first album featuring Siedah Garrett as lead singer. Garrett's smooth voice helps push the band toward more conventional territory, yet their songwriting is stronger than most of the contemporaries, and their sound is funkier and more convincing. While there are no standout singles on Shelter, it's a uniformly engaging listen, illustrating that the Brand New Heavies are one of the great underrated urban R&B bands of the '90s. ~ Leo Stanley
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Acid Jazz - Released January 1, 2007 | The Bicycle Music Company

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Acid Jazz - Released January 1, 2008 | The Bicycle Music Company

Funk - Released | Shanachie

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Funk - Released | Shanachie

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Acid Jazz - Released January 1, 1995 | The Bicycle Music Company

Since the Brand New Heavies were always more club-centric than their contemporaries, it shouldn't come as a surprise that their remix effort, Excursions: Remixes & Rare Groove, is entertaining. Nevertheless, it is a bit of a surprise that it's as cohesive as it is, considering that it contains a selection of remixes, rare tracks, and new songs. It still pales somewhat to the clearly focused studio efforts, but there are enough gems to make it necessary for hardcore Heavies fans. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Acid Jazz - Released August 7, 2007 | Dopewax Records

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Acid Jazz - Released January 1, 2006 | The Bicycle Music Company

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Acid Jazz - Released January 1, 2009 | The Bicycle Music Company