Appealing IndoJazz vocals and trombone soaked lounge jazz wrapped in generous vamps and circling motion to chill to here on Glaswegian label Rebecca's Records. Donny Hathaway inspired singer India Blue and the core quartet of instrumentalists (in a keys, bass, harp, drums combination) ooze sophistication at every turn. The capable band stroked languidly by drummer Alex Palmer who sets a laidback tempo on opener 'Night Woman' is convincing from the off on this studio album recorded in 2021.
Guests include stand out Scottish trombone star Liam Shortall who impressed a whole lot with Corto.Alto on Not For Now in 2021. Definitely big crossover potential here and it's certainly jazzy enough for the heads without being too niche to scare off the less partisan kind of punter who might approach the album with fewer fixed expectations. Open to enter another swirlier, dancier world beyond certainly as a mid-evening listen over the PA in a bar or restaurant this would be a cool choice and live you'd hazard a guess hearing Azamiah would be a fairly relaxing experience but it's far from content light. And yet there is a pertinent celestial side, provided by the presence of, naturally, harp - Azamiah's Romy Wymer on 'Half Man' finds the beat going more into an IndoJazz fusion space, a language the band begin to explore in a good many places. Some great vocal overdubs weave in and out.
Enhanced in passages by the bubbling percussive flickers of vibrancy that Finn Rosenbaum provides, In Phases takes its time and becomes experimental even on 'Monologue' which says much for the pushing the envelope aspirations of the production on the label, run by DJ Rebecca Vasmant. 'Conversations' set up by a simmering bass riff from Norman Villeroux fluffed out by harp is perhaps the most mystical track and you get a fine free floating vocal from India Blue. While very brief the almost lontano sound quality of Josef Akin's keys on the very brief 'Solace' works but likewise the more dystopian 'Alchemia' is only a vignette. Shortall and saxist Mateusz Sobieski on 'Heroine' act as responders to the seraphic vocals and there's a neat chord progression played on the keys that underpins the groove so infectiously. The scatting India Blue on 'Heroine,' the best track of all, even conjures persistent thoughts of a new Sade in the making - go figure, who knew?
Out on Friday
Azamiah, photo: press