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Jazz - Released February 16, 2018 | Tru Thoughts

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R&B - Released January 28, 2007 | Tru Thoughts

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Pop - Released February 10, 2014 | Tru Thoughts

Ben Lamdin introduced vocalist Josa Peit to Nostalgia 77's audiences on 2011's excellent pop-jazz offering Sleepwalking Society. Her throaty yet breezy alto was the perfect companion for his horn and keyboard-rich ensemble. A Journey Too Far, their second album-length offering, is arresting. It's also -- as has come to be expected from the producer, composer, and conceptualist -- a musically different animal than any of his previous albums. Here, psychedelic pop and soul, cinematic jazz and blues, and more contribute to this septet's already expansive palette. Opener "What Do You Know" is rambling, funky horns and Rhodes-driven jazz-pop, with cinematic undertones and explosive, swirling, rhythmic strings (think Richard Evans). Peit's smoky voice fills the track's spaces, but never oversells the lyric. "Your Love Weighs a Tonne" is grimy, bluesy, psych-flavored soul that could have come from an early-'70s British film score. Her singing is as beat-conscious as it is expressive: she hits the band's deep punchy grooves, settles in, and works it hard before vocalizing in an intoxicated fashion on the refrain. "Ramshackle Rose" is raw souled-out funk, with Lamdin's guitar vying for domination with Tim Giles' tight breaks. Fulvio Sigurta's trumpets, though low-key, add a color that makes the entire proceeding soar. It's the only track where the band supercedes Peit's delivery. Though Jeb Loy Nichols appears twice here, including on the reggae-tinged "Don't Run," his presence is an outlier; it feels out of place in this collection. Pre-release single "An Angel with No Halo" is an elegant, off-kilter ballad that walks a line between psychedelic folk and Jimmy Webb-esque pop. "One" openly suggests the folk-soul of Minnie Riperton as married to a string chart by Charles Stepney -- but the melody and harmonies bear Lamdin's signature while Peit's performance pays a subtle tribute to Dusty Springfield as well. The acoustic duet between his slide guitar and her rootsy, tender vocal on closer "Like Dark to Light" sends the set off on a tender, sexy whisper. A Journey Too Far is decidedly retro, but Lamdin's career has been one of looking back, combining elements he finds there, and creating something unmistakably Nostalgia 77's. That is certainly the case here, where colors, timbres, textures, genres, and spaces are utilized to (mostly) magnificent effect. ~ Thom Jurek
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Jazz - Released March 28, 2011 | Impossible Ark - Unfold

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Jazz - Released July 25, 2011 | Tru Thoughts

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Dance - Released December 1, 2004 | Tru Thoughts

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Electronic/Dance - Released March 21, 2011 | Tru Thoughts

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Jazz Fusion & Jazz Rock - Released May 19, 2014 | Tru Thoughts

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Jazz - Released November 19, 2012 | Tru Thoughts

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Jazz - Released August 29, 2011 | Tru Thoughts

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Soul - Released August 29, 2011 | Tru Thoughts

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Electronic/Dance - Released February 10, 2014 | Tru Thoughts

Ben Lamdin introduced vocalist Josa Peit to Nostalgia 77's audiences on 2011's excellent pop-jazz offering Sleepwalking Society. Her throaty yet breezy alto was the perfect companion for his horn and keyboard-rich ensemble. A Journey Too Far, their second album-length offering, is arresting. It's also -- as has come to be expected from the producer, composer, and conceptualist -- a musically different animal than any of his previous albums. Here, psychedelic pop and soul, cinematic jazz and blues, and more contribute to this septet's already expansive palette. Opener "What Do You Know" is rambling, funky horns and Rhodes-driven jazz-pop, with cinematic undertones and explosive, swirling, rhythmic strings (think Richard Evans). Peit's smoky voice fills the track's spaces, but never oversells the lyric. "Your Love Weighs a Tonne" is grimy, bluesy, psych-flavored soul that could have come from an early-'70s British film score. Her singing is as beat-conscious as it is expressive: she hits the band's deep punchy grooves, settles in, and works it hard before vocalizing in an intoxicated fashion on the refrain. "Ramshackle Rose" is raw souled-out funk, with Lamdin's guitar vying for domination with Tim Giles' tight breaks. Fulvio Sigurta's trumpets, though low-key, add a color that makes the entire proceeding soar. It's the only track where the band supercedes Peit's delivery. Though Jeb Loy Nichols appears twice here, including on the reggae-tinged "Don't Run," his presence is an outlier; it feels out of place in this collection. Pre-release single "An Angel with No Halo" is an elegant, off-kilter ballad that walks a line between psychedelic folk and Jimmy Webb-esque pop. "One" openly suggests the folk-soul of Minnie Riperton as married to a string chart by Charles Stepney -- but the melody and harmonies bear Lamdin's signature while Peit's performance pays a subtle tribute to Dusty Springfield as well. The acoustic duet between his slide guitar and her rootsy, tender vocal on closer "Like Dark to Light" sends the set off on a tender, sexy whisper. A Journey Too Far is decidedly retro, but Lamdin's career has been one of looking back, combining elements he finds there, and creating something unmistakably Nostalgia 77's. That is certainly the case here, where colors, timbres, textures, genres, and spaces are utilized to (mostly) magnificent effect. ~ Thom Jurek
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Jazz - Released November 21, 2011 | Tru Thoughts

Jazz - Released May 28, 2007 | Tru Thoughts

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Jazz - Released April 6, 2009 | Tru Thoughts

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Electronic/Dance - Released July 25, 2011 | Tru Thoughts

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Jazz - Released March 19, 2007 | Tru Thoughts

When Ben Lamdin first started Nostalgia 77, he played the role of the mastermind producer, cutting and pasting snippets of soul songs together to make his own brand of hip-hop beats. Later he switched to a part-time player, adding his skills on guitar, piano, and drums as well as his compositional talents in jazz-laced numbers. For his fourth LP, Everything Under the Sun, Lamdin takes an instrumental backseat, contributing solely his songwriting, arranging, and production skills and letting others take over. What results is something that -- while it still retains some of that Nostalgia 77 groove found on The Garden -- fits much more comfortably in that kind of smooth jazz, lounge realm, where looking good and having the right drink in hand are key. The musicians involved with the album are talented enough, tapping out intricate rhythms and solos and staying tight and clean, but the whole thing is so slick, so cool, that it's hard to feel much affection towards it. It's safe, even during the improvisational sections, and singers Lizzy Parks and Beth Rowley, while they both have nice voices, seem a little too distant, a little too detached, to really draw the audience in, to make them believe in what they're saying. There are complicated lines, there are intelligent, mature arrangements, but Everything Under the Sun still comes across as a little naïve, and a little fake, like it's done by people who are simply trying to make a record like how they think one is supposed to sound, like how they've been told how one should sound, without knowing how one does sound. This shows, unfortunately, in the end result, and makes the album easy enough to skip over. ~ Marisa Brown

Jazz - Released May 19, 2014 | Tru Thoughts

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Electronic/Dance - Released December 9, 2013 | Tru Thoughts

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Jazz - Released December 8, 2014 | Tru Thoughts

Conceptualist, producer, engineer, and composer Ben Lamdin (aka Nostalgia '77) has had a hell of a year in 2014. Not only did he issue the fine A Journey Too Far, which showcased the bluesy, psychedelic pop side of of his persona (thanks in no small part to the gorgeous vocals of Josa Peit), but he collaborated with engineer Prince Fatty (Mike Pelanconi) on a dubwise remix of his back catalog. Lamdin also produced Jamie Cullum's deservedly celebrated Blue Note debut, Interlude. His final entry for the year is the sophomore studio collaboration with the Monster -- his live jazz band. This set follows in the footsteps of the unit's excellent 2012 offering, The Taxidermist. While there are some personnel changes here, it's worth noting that the Monster is a slimmed down version of the Nostalgia '77 Octet, which ceased performing after original drummer Graham Fox died. All of these players -- bassist/arranger Riaan Vosloo, pianist Kit Downes, reed and wind player James Allsopp, trumpeter Fulvio Sigurta, and drummer Tim Giles -- have long been part of Lamdin's collaborative stable. Measures is a more diverse offering than The Taxidermist. The approach here is to showcase as many different dynamic aspects of creative jazz as possible, within original compositions and covers, from uptempo fingerpoppers to more moody material. Stylistically the music runs the gamut. There are wonderful, Latin-tinged modal workouts such as the title track, as well as the meditative, Brazilian-influenced "Archipelago" -- the latter with glorious flute work from Allsop. Then there's the celebratory groove in "Scallywag," which offers hints of influences from Albert Ayler and Pharoah Sanders to the Clarke-Boland Sextet. Also, stacked back-to back are a pair of great covers: a fantastic read of Keith Tippett's classic "Thoughts to Geoff" with a wonderful solo from Sigurta and an impressionistic responses from Downes, and a restrained space pop version Sun Ra's exotica-tinged "Islands in the Sun" with its lyric line firmly entrenched throughout. "Rules" is a slow-grooving, spiritual soul-jazz tune that sends the album out on a contemplative vibe. Measures is as lovely as it is solid. Its selection and presentation are airy, with the lighter compositions perfectly balanced in gray shades by more aggressive (yet no less elegant) ones. Throughout, the ensemble and solo playing are excellent, and matched by the tunes. Given the diversity of what these players do together album to album, as evidenced here, this unit has evolved to one of near greatness. ~ Thom Jurek