New Cool Collective (NCC) out of The Netherlands, have been around for over 25 years now. Under the leadership of Benjamin Herman (sax), they have put out around 20 albums including a couple of big band albums and several collaborative efforts. The eight-piece band’s sound perhaps is best described by one of their early album titles “Soul, Jazz, Latin Flavours Nineties Vibes”, always with a retro feel but bringing something fresh to each album. On their latest album, New Cool Collective mix all those styles and more with a fast paced jaunt through time and space. Check out and listen to the the track-by-track coverage here.
Snowball starts with a high energy bongo solo, then some comet sounding guitar descent before the horns come in sounding like a ’60s cop television series theme – and that’s all good! The horn play here is top notch – David Rockefeller takes a slick solo turn in the middle and then we’re back to the main horn theme followed by a back and forth between Rockefeller and Hermann, the band’s leaders. There’s a fun half second pause before the fade out too.
Dansé Dansé, the title track, for some reason reminds me of a Donna Summer disco tune (Bad Girls?) before the horn line comes in. The solo sax refrain evokes the song “Fever” originally performed by The McCoys and many other bands. Probably, I have too much music in my head because this is just a bouncy, terrific tune like almost everything NCC does. It’s a rollicking booty shaking dance. Hermann’s soloing throughout is superb – the slower paced break toward the end has the band laying back before coming back in unison for the close.
Ramapolo‘s opening sounds like a Nintendo video game when the horns pop to form a very punchy rhythm. Herman takes another sweet solo and the rolling harmony continues. Rory Ronde gets his first guitar solo here and he weaves it wonderfully with the whole group.
P.G.‘s flute opening sounds solemn and builds to a march like tune that sounds like dark funk akin to The Budos Band. The visual I get is a herd of elephants. Its backbone is an afrobeat melody with a cool synth solo by William Friede with an excellent flute solo from Herman backed by the main song theme before crashing to a halt.
Bidibidi starts with some pleasant tropical sounding guitar before the band comes in with the “Bidibidi” lyrics. I can’t help conjuring up the popular ’60s hit “Mah Nà Mah Nà” by Piero Umiliani which was then made popular by Sesame Street’s Muppets. The light heartedness of the tune makes it near impossible not to like and it gets in your head pretty quick. It’s a terrific dance tune – great horns, fun vocals and a real escape.
Gnawa starts with a horn fanfare and a shout of “yeeowh” and launches high paced krakeb (percussion) fest. The Gnawa a are a people of Northern Africa with a musical style of the same name. This one is notable for its rhythm following in that tradition much as Snarky Puppy’s song Xavi did last year. Rockefeller takes another great trumpet solo midway and the fanfare is repeated before another yeeowh to end it.
Our Man in Slough kicks with a cool guitar solo before the horns come in with a great Latin line. It’s followed by a little section sounding like it could be straight from the American TV show The Newlywed Game. Herman takes a nice baritone sax solo before a a definite tip to the James Bond theme in the middle. One thing that’s always true with NCC is that their songs always groove but there’s a spot of whimsy to go along for the ride.
In Like Flynn is the album’s reggae tune starting off with a nice keys riff and some stealthy percussion effects. It shows the band’s versatility in excelling at many styles. Rory Ronde has another poignant extended guitar solo and Rockefeller follows on muted trumpet. NCC always have such wonderful song structure and arrangement and this one is true to form.
Brothers starts with a latin flair with whistle effects and a great salsa dancing feel. Like the rest of the album, it’s a real feed-good tune. The core of NCC has been together for some time and the cohesiveness on the exchanges is evidence of that. The bridge from the percussion section sets off the tune to the end.
Altivo also starts with a horn fanfare before a few bars of guitar-percussion. This one also has an East Africa feel because of the percussion, even if there’s no kora. The bridge is a slower horn-guitar session before building to a crescendo to start the second half of the song. Another burner to end the album
Stream and Purchase Here
This one is strongly recommended for you summer music collection. Listen, stream and buy it here!
- Benjamin Herman, sax
- David Rockefeller, trumpet
- Rory Ronde, guitar
- Joost Kroon, drums,
- Frank van Dok and Jos de Haas, percussion
- Willem Friede, keyboards
- Leslie Lopez, bass