The Near Jazz Experience (UK)
Like most band names, it came about by accident – trying to explain the sound of three musicians playing horn-led instrumentals from the rock/pop side of the tracks, the closest description was a ‘near-jazz experience’.
Swiftly abbreviated to The NJE, this ‘Near Jazz Experience’ was formed by multi-instrumentalist Terry Edwards, bassist Mark Bedford and drummer Simon Charterton in the spring of 2010.
Look no further than the Hendrix cover, Voodoo Child for a way into their world. The familiar reinvented and taken to a parallel world. Born out of a love of improvised music which was accessible (funky beats and grooves) yet experimental enough to break the mould of middle-of-the-road jamming, the trio built up a following at a residency in the heart of London’s East End, headlining the monthly Sartorial Records music nights.
Mainstays of the NJE sound are Edwards’ double-sax technique – playing alto & tenor simultaneously, Charterton’s polyrhythmic funk patterns and Bedford’s fluid but grounding basslines. The whole is a near-jazz experience – just what you’d expect from musicians who have worked with people as farflung as PJ Harvey, Jerry Dammers, Tom Waits, Spiritualized, Robert Wyatt, Alex Harvey, Siouxsie Sioux, Big Star, St Vincent and Ian Dury.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
In short – if you cross Can’s rhythm section with Roland Kirk, Motown and the Third Stream and you’ll get somewhere near where The NJE are coming from.