9/10 Mike Staff review, 29 November 2012
Got a pretty ace split 7” here from The #NJE# (short for Near Jazz Experience) and Dear Thief. The #NJE#, who I’d never heard of before, are a trio of people I have heard of before; Terry Edwards on sax, Madness’s Mark Bedford on bass, and drummer Simon Charterton. Their track ‘Knife-Edge’ is a completely brilliant, lively instrumental where the three of them display great communication and fluid individual performances with adventurous bass playing, fluid drumming, and leading it all a virtuoso performance from Edwards, opening with a punchy theme before descending into a rad Gustafsson-esque skronk jam before bringing it all back home at the end with a repeat of the opening theme with added stops. The sax/bass/drum interplay and the mixture of free expressive jamming and canny melodies are reminding me a little of the “Thing” part of the explosive Neneh Cherry & The Thing that came out earlier in the year. It’s irreverent but accessible jazz fun.
Flip it and Dear Thief are doing something totally different, with hard grooving drums and basic repeato bass forming a churning groove through which distant-sounding vocal exhortations poke. It’s a bit like Shellac if they had no guitars and Steve Albini was shouting off-mic instead of right on top of the mix. It’s organic and hard grooving but to be honest I’ve still not got over how much fun I had with the A side which really did push all my jazz buttons in a very pleasurable way. Oh, and it comes with a free beer mat.
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- Split by Dear Thief / The NJE
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