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Nérija: Blume (Domino)

A review of the first full-length release from the Britjazz supergroup

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Nérija, Blume
The cover of Blume by Nérija

The new wave of British jazz has been all the rage for a couple years and shows little sign of letting up. But as with any storm, a calm is sure to move in after the hurricanes and lightning desist.

Nérija is a Britjazz supergroup of sorts—Nubya Garcia (tenor saxophone), Sheila Maurice-Grey (trumpet), Cassie Kinoshi (alto saxophone), Rosie Turton (trombone), Shirley Tetteh (guitar), Lizy Exell (drums), and Rio Kai (bass)—but its first full-length release is a snorefest. Middling melodies float in like some odd odor that no one could be bothered to freshen up, wafting over grooves so torpid and sleepy that it sounds like the band recorded the last set of their last gig on the last day on earth.

The seven-piece unit begins to awake near the second-to-last song (“Swift”) of the second disc, but it’s too little too late. Even semi-star-in-waiting Nubya Garcia can’t save this band of slugs from their slime, as the Afrobeat-meets-quasi-funk rhythms twaddle and stumble, one song sliding into the next like melted ice cream flowing down a drain. Someone tell the janitor to lock up, ’cause Nérija fell asleep in the bus.

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Ken Micallef

Ken Micallef was once a jazz drummer; then he found religion and began writing about jazz rather than performing it. (He continues to air-drum jazz rhythms in front of his hi-fi rig and various NYC bodegas.) His reportage has appeared in Time Out, Modern Drummer, DownBeat, Stereophile, and Electronic Musician. Ken is the administrator of Facebook’s popular Jazz Vinyl Lovers group, and he reviews vintage jazz recordings on YouTube as Ken Micallef Jazz Vinyl Lover.