Album Review

N.E.W. – “Motion” – [Dancing Wayang Records]

Thurston Hunger   9/11/2015   12-inch, Jazz

London’s N.E.W. sound is
Noble (Steve) on drums
Edwards (John) on bass
Ward (Alex) on guitar…
And let’s start with Ward first, some of thee finest (to
my jaded ears) fire jazz via guitar in a long time. He’s
just an excellent communicator with a vast vocabulary
(and more than a few handy pedals, that he never over
deploys). Apparently he’s a clarinetist, and maybe any
sax envy he got on that more pleated reed helped inspire
him to tear the stitches out of his six string electric
guitar. Furious scurries, half-chord halos, on the
lead off track a bout with oblique bop, the flip side
though is where he cranks up more of the blister action.
A few hints of Hendrix at times, and he has a picking
style (some of the time, again he’s all over the fret
board) where its quick little brittle bursts, call it
circular picking maybe. And the whole trio is excellent
and on the same page. Edwards bass on “How It Is”
felt like a gyuto monk in disguise, he’ll bow to break
or get some slap strength tossed in. Noble on drums
just sounds like he’s having fun, dig how the album
starts “Betting on Now” with a energetic launch.
On “Tall & True” there’s a nervous frittering with
almost no-wave panic attacks before winding up in a
quasi-bluesy gutter. Dancing Wayang delivers the goods
(although there’s a weird blemish or something about
2 minutes in on “4th and Three” but the team is still
going for it). Side A absolutely slayed me, repeatedly!
-Thurston Hunger

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