Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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The Brand New Heavies: Playing it Cool

The Brand New Heavies interview (Photo - Jim Marks)
The Brand New Heavies interview (Photo - Jim Marks) The Brand New Heavies interview (Photo - Jim Marks) The Brand New Heavies interview (Photo - Jim Marks) The Brand New Heavies interview (Photo - Jim Marks) BUY NOW

With the release of 2019's 'TBNH', acid jazz pioneers The Brand New Heavies celebrated the milestone of over 30 years in music. Founded in 1985 by Simon Bartholomew, Andrew Levy, and Jan Kincaid, who has since left the group, the funky ensemble became mainstream chart regulars for much of the '90s and early noughties. With hits like “Dream On Dreamer”, “Sometimes” and “Midnight At The Oasis”, The Heavies eventually created 10 studio albums spawning 15 top 40 hits, making the band a seminal part of the acid jazz movement of the era alongside acts including Jamiroquai and Incognito.

Known for collaborating with an array of talented vocalists, including N'Dea Davenport, Siedah Garrett and more recently, Angela Ricci, have all graced the band's projects over the years. Consistently releasing music for over 3 decades, it's clear The Heavies are not slowing down any time soon. Having just inked a 5 album deal with Edel Records, new music is slated for release in 2022. Meanwhile, dates for an extensive UK tour sponsored by high-end health and wellness CBD brand, Truth Naturals, have also been confirmed. B&S managed to catch up with guitarist/vocalist Simon Bartholomew and bass player/keyboardist Andrew Levy to chat about new music with Mark Ronson, Nile Rodgers and longevity in an ever-evolving music industry.

"You had this whole movement in acid jazz, the whole scene happened and then it dipped down but we're sort of like a fine wine, in that we've been appreciated again so it's really exciting. I'm very appreciative of it all. One album at a time, that's what I say" Bartholomew replies laughing, in reference to the band's new record deal which requires them to produce almost a half dozen albums over the next few years. However, he also admits “some of the records I prefer more than others. There's been different phases… Jan left. It was getting a bit sort of tougher for him to be in the band at one level. But it's amazing to have this legacy and stuff. I'm very glad to be a musician, it's a dream job. [Trying] to play all the songs that people want to hear; that's one of the drawbacks of having a lot of stuff [laughs]”.

Revealing details of how their upcoming project is progressing Levy says, “at the moment we're writing, writing some more hits hopefully! [laughs]. We're about to collaborate again with Nile Rodgers and Mark Ronson. We're co-writing with those two guys and some various other artists and some [other] professional songwriters as well. Although we've written most of the hits that most of our fans know, we still like to work with other people. I think that's always good so we're in writing mode at the moment".

You can read more from Karen Lawler's 30th Anniversary celebrating exclusive interview with acid jazz pioneers The Brand New Heavies, including their thoughts on working with former frontwomen Siedah Garrett and N'Dea Davenport and the impact new lead vocalist Angela Ricci has made. Also, their experience of working with true music legends, how they handled the COVID lockdown experience, their hankering to keep touring and remembering when they first signed with a record label and the excitement that grew around them when they started out.

We also have a Brand New Heavies related competition this issue as current tour sponsors Truth Naturals CBD Oil company have given us a bundle of goodies to give away!

All in the latest issue of Blues & Soul magazine - click the 'BUY NOW' link below to order straight from the B&S shop or read on for high street retailer details...

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Words Karen Lawler

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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