I’m so pleased to present another hidden gem for you from The Netherlands – Black Gold 360’s “Dreams of the Revelator” has just been released. It’s a mix of classic jazz and fusion with a new, funky spacey spin. The songs are extremely well composed and played and I think you’ll really enjoy it. This was another chance introduction as FunkCity.net continues to scour the world for excellent new music for you.
From talking with Simon Sixsmith, the producer and founder of Black Gold 360, we heard this about their evolution, ” I started Black Gold 360 in 2006 to make an album combining my 2 loves jazz & electronica. I made the first album “Black Gold 360” on my own with saxophonist Coen Kaldeway playing on one track. After this I felt I needed more musicians and Coen was a player in the Utrecht jazz scene and he recommended drummer Bob Roos and bassist Lucas Dols. The three of them are skilled and creative jazz musicians and they took the project to another level with the album “Suite 17.” For the 3rd album “LM6iX” Coen recommended trumpetist Teus Nobel (who has since become very well known in The Netherlands and has just won the Edison jazz award.) and the album was our most popular yet – we released on Beluga Recordings & 2419 Record Label and the album had a few million downloads. For the new album “Dreams of the Revelator” we brought in well known Amsterdam pianist Daan Herweg, who has brought another dimension to the Black Gold 360 sound.”
According to Sixsmith, “I’m influenced by the jazz greats like John Coltrane & Miles Davis but also by Ennio Morricone, David Axelrod, & Bernd Friedmann. Coen is a big Charlie Parker fan, Teus loves Antonio Carlos Jobim & Woody Shaw and Bob loves Bach.
This is the fourth album from Black Gold 360 and was recorded under lockdown conditions in spring 2020 in Utrecht & Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The first wave of the Coronavirus stopped the 6 band members from recording together in the studio as with traditional jazz albums, so they each recorded their contributions separately. To keep the record sounding fresh and enable the musicians to react to each other, each person recorded several sessions in a random order over a month so that various track ideas could be driven by different people & different instruments. The result is the 11 track album Dreams of the Revelator.
Teus Nobel, the trumpet player relates “The music was a kind of reaction to the restrictions we now live with, it really ended up being pretty expansive and having a kind of escapist feel.”
“We couldn’t record at the same time but everybody was so committed to reacting to the other guys’ parts that it still felt like we all came together in the end,” recalls Daan Herweg the piano player.
Overall, Simon Sixsmith the producer said, “One of the benefits of this technique was that the guys had more time to react to each other than usual, so with each layer the tracks got more thoughtful & atmospheric. Corona can kiss our ass.”
revelator: rev·e·la·tor – noun: one that reveals the will of God.
The theme of the album: a revelator believes that God speaks through them so what would their dreams be like?
I’m often intrigued by instrumental song titles and BG360 definitely has some interesting and long ones. I talked to the band about the significance of each and you’ll see their comments in the track-by-track coverage.
Blessed Season starts off with some church-bell sounds from a table harp played by Simon Sixsmith and double bass pounding from Lucas Dols and it’s is fantastic. This gives space for the terrific trumpet lead by Teus Nobel. The mix is crystal clear and when the lead breaks, the table harp definitely has the feel of Tubular Bells from Mike Oldfield-think Exorcist in an uplifting way. Lucas Dols takes a brief bass solo before the trumpet lead resumes. Without talking with the band, I definitely feel “blessed” by this tune, a great combination of table harp, bass and trumpet with strong percussive support.
Pleasure is the Measure‘s soothing intro is presented by Lucas on bowed bass, Daan Herweg on piano and Teus Nobel on trumpet. The body of the tune starts with some massive bass plucking and segues into a more traditional jazz combo sound with smooth drum, bass and piano interplay. For the most part, the piano has the lead here but again I’m super impressed by the level of bass in the mix without overpowering the tune. It’s a pleasant surprise when Teus enters on trumpet midway with a rolling lead voice which is followed by and equally compelling lead from Coen on tenor sax taking us to the closeout punctuated by his pips, squeaks and breaths.
In the Sunlit Bosom of the Virgin Prairie begins with a pensive piano section. Again, the band impresses with Coen Kaldeway on baritone sax taking the lead here making the tune have a real, deep feel. It’s a great variation from the sound on the first two tracks — it’s a real thought stimulator and can take you to far away places. Daan Herweg on piano takes the lead midway through with the well-spaced bass notes driving through the mist. The bari sax returns with some bottom notes that are real bone shaking up to the delicate end.
Seven Layers of Oak picks up the tempo right from the start with some guitar and tambourine bounce. When the bass and piano strike, it reminds me of some of the great Crusaders tunes from the 70s. The jaunty piano lead with some deep pocket drums from Bob really makes you want to move. Then, wow, surprise, there’s a double callout to Also Sprach Zarathustra (perhaps more commonly known as 2001 Space Odyssey) and of course it’s got a real Deodato feel. Teus comes back on trumpet halfway through with a high wire solo. This is another one where the mix is rock solid and you know these guys have got real chops.
The Lincolnshire Poacher‘s extended piano opening sounds a bit like it could be a Snarky Puppy start. Coen Kaldeway takes over nearly midway through with a driving solo before Teus responds on flugelhorn which fades into a Daan piano lead to the end.
Silva hits you with a guitar-bass duo opening and proceeds to a Teus trumpet lead with some thumping kick drum in the background. Silva has a very primal feel with the rhythm lead. Daan on piano has a rain like feel and this tune is very ‘earthy.’ The repeat of the rhythm with the overlay alternatively from trumpet to sax and piano is hypnotic.
Loving the Same Souls, Burning Down the Same Houses is another one with a crashing start, this time highlighted Bob Roos on drums and Lucas Dols on bass. The main melody is a halcyon call with Teus scorching and soaring to the highest peaks. This is one of those tunes that could easy be an epic cinematic soundtrack.
We Gave Nature Her Ransom starts with a sequence that reminds me of the opening of The Doors classic, Riders on the Storm, but gives way to a calming piano and sax melody from Daan and Coen. Coen sounds for me a bit like the great John Klemmer. His gorgeous lead here is silky smooth. The vibe sounds around him are great accents. Daan takes off on keys and the whole tune is so soothing.
Transmission Jesus has Lucas starting on bass with guitar and multiple synths for an ethereal sound overall. Teus and Coen change hands and are a little more subdued than the other tunes, although this one is still quite upbeat. It’s hard for me to tell what the chorus of instruments that punches in but it’s very effective. Bob Roos has a short drum solo giving way to Teus and Lucas making a powerful combo. The buildup to the ending is very strong and the bouncing between instruments is quite fun.
Requiem For Lou Reed starts with a very fuzzy guitar and piano section. Teus comes back with some fuzzed trumpet with some dramatic percussion + piano backing. Coen has melancholy solo at the midpoint. The moving, dirgelike procession rolls through to another hopeful solo from Teus up to the end.
The Devil in Charlie Brown starts with Lucas starring on solo and the piano/vibe combination from Daan. I could imagine David Benoit playing Linus and Lucy against this. Teus has a swinging muted trumpet solo starting early on and carrying through with a march-like progression. Daan Herweg has a scampering solo from the halfway point and Lucas punches hard in the second half. I love the joyous “Hey” from someone near the end of the tune and a fitting ending to the album.
About the Band
Teus Nobel, trumpet & flugelhorn (Teus Nobel Liberty Group, Jeff Neve)
Daan Herweg , piano (Daan Herweg Trio, Caro Emerald)
Coen Kaldeway, saxophone (Caro Emerald, Atanga Boom)
Lucas Dols , bass (Tin Men & the Telephone, Lilian Hak)
Bob Roos, drums (Fluks, Marzio Scholten)
Simon Sixsmith, other instruments, producer (The Fifty Dollar Band)