British jazz band leader and composer Nubya Garcia (who is part of the wonderful Nérija) releases her debut studio album Source. The album showcases why she’s considered one of the leading lights in the UK’s recent jazz revival, featuring guest spots from regular collaborators such as Joe Armon-Jones, Cassie Kinoshi and Akenya.
Vinyl Double LP £24.49 7217559
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CD £12.49 7217576
CD on Concord.
Limited Vinyl Double LP £26.99 7218624
Indies only half clear /half turquoise with yellow splatter 2LP on Concord. Edition of 1000 copies.
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Though no traditionalist, Nubya Garcia doesn’t go in as heavily on the outre genre-splicing and production trickery as some of her contemporaries in London’s much-discussed neo-jazz cohort. Her music is also a mite less forthright - insistent but not overbearing, hovering in a space between contemplation and freewheeling. Garcia’s debut LP ‘Source’ remains coherent and melodious even at its most rambunctious, never quite giving in to complete abandon even at the points where the notes rip hardest from her saxophone.
This is no bad thing. Indeed, the ruminative qualities of ‘Source’ also lead to some of its finest, most original moments. ‘Together Is A Beautiful Place To Be’, ‘Stand With Each Other’ and ‘La cumbia me está llamando’ are all made better by their sparseness, the former seeing Garcia deliver a ballad through great plumes of electric piano (played by Joe Armon-Jones, no less) while the latter pair offer soulful slinks that incorporate dub and cumbia respectively.
Not all of Garcia’s stylistic moves are successful. ‘Source’s title-track goes hard on a dub vamp, but despite running to well over ten minutes it doesn’t really voyage outwards from this sound in any particularly arresting manner. Furthermore, while fusion numbers like ‘Pace’ and ‘Inner Gaze’ skip along nicely, Garcia’s need for control also holds them back from landing a killer blow when one is required.
When Garcia gets it right, ‘Source’ really does become a fantastically rich record. ‘Before Us’ provides possibly the best balance here of drive and the considered quality of ‘Together Is A Beautiful Place To Be’ et al. With the mix spacious yet full of motion (one wonders if this is something to do with the use of acoustic rather than electric piano), ‘Before Us’ provides a platform for some of the most impressive lead soloing on the whole album. It’s a track which electrifies the deep, thoughtful bond that Garcia so clearly feels with music, and one which indicates that ‘Source’ may be the first of many important records Garcia makes in her career.
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