Sambada - Flame 


If you combine the DJ’s ears and production talents of Chris Bangs with the energy of a creative group of musicians, notably Nigel Price, you get Sambada.

 If you combine a feel for the best retro club sounds and modern acid-jazz – and do it with a sense of style – you get “Flame”.  This is Sambada’s second album, and for me it typifies what makes UK jazz different from it US counterpart. 

This album is an antidote to overproduced and over-slick music that takes itself too seriously.  One day, someone will open a club where you can dance to music this good. 

The bustling opener Wes Not Wes is a club track, with big, bad 80’s-style drums courtesy of Chris Bangs, mad percussion, choppy rhythm guitar and our first taste of vibraphone.  It’s really retro and very infectious.  Nigel Price’s gorgeous jazz guitar takes the lead here – as the clever title suggests. 

If you are into goodtime party tracks with a 60’s feel, One Mo’ Yeh could be just what you’re looking for.  Guitar is up front again for this very snappy, happy song.  Yeh! 

It’s a more latin feel that opens El Nino, with that percussion and a sexy swing.  The live drums and organ are really retro.  Listen out for lazy tenor sax from Christian Brewer and vibes from Martin Pyne. 

Funk?  D Fuzed has it in spades!  The same guy who’s so sweet on guitar gets really mean on bass and drives this tune.  The bass is so high in the mix that it dominates everything but the drums. I love it.  It’s even got a good ending.  Where’s the “repeat” button? 

In The Thick Of It is a mid-tempo groover with a cool female lead vocal by Rita Campbell – think of Basia, think of Swing Out Sister.  This should be a single – if it isn’t already.  You’ll be sure that you’ve heard this before. 

You can dance to Sambao and the fast beat is infectious, just as much as the double-tracked, singing guitar lines of Nigel Price.  This song is classy, yet lots of fun.  It’s fabulous! 

More very hip club jazz on Los Caminos, where guitar and vibes double up over yet another irresistible groove.  The acoustic guitar solo might make you think of Acoustic Alchemy.  Please come to my home town and play this live… 

Flame has pretty much a disco beat and that chuggin’ bass is overlaid with a very catchy saxophone melody.  Guitar and vibes solos keep the interest going.  It’s both original and familiar. 

I have a soft spot for songs that feature seaside sound effects and the subdued Cruisin’ conjures up warm days of summer.  The drums are a little hyperactive for such a cool track.  Urban jazzers will love it though…  Sun cream is obligatory when listening. 

Music Box also tries to mix a very acid jazz backbeat with more guitar and the delicate keyboards of Elliot Mortimer.  It somehow works and it’s a very contemporary sound.  This is a jam and once you get to the sleazy trumpet solo, you’re hooked. 

I thought this was an old Spyro Gyra track but no, Sambasol is a great example of what Sambada are all about.  Latin, jazz, dance and everything is thrown in the pot – rhythm, percussion, sax, guitar and vibes.  If you heard this on holiday, and I hope you do one day, you would buy it as soon as possible. 

I’ve said enough.  Listening to this album made me feel good.  That’s what I always hope my music will do and if I’m right, Sambada will find lots of fans like me.

Baseline Records – no catalog number available – Producers Chris Bangs and Nigel Price


Reviewed by Chris Mann