Clash's online editor Robin Murray on Nerija by Blume.
The current wave of energy within UK jazz has produced all manner of superb artists, blending and bending forms as they see fit. Nérija share in this spirit, with a Harlem Globetrotters-style line-up of phenomenally gifted technicians who push each other into a fresh, vivid, and entirely unique space.
The septet’s debut album Blume is out now on Domino, and it was recorded on board a floating studio by the docks at the Isle Of Dogs. As a result, it’s a deeply ‘London’ experience: there’s synthesis, the embrace of individual voices within a shared experience and heavily rhythmic push and pull.
Moving from Afrobeats to hip-hop via South African Township, Nérija’s album kicks hard, always returning to the approaches adopted from their experiences in the capital’s vital jazz communities, such as Tomorrow’s Warriors.
It’s also beautifully melodic – check out the lush chords on EU (Emotionally Unavailable) or the clipped horn refrains on Swift. Easily maintaining a torrent of fresh ideas, Blume is an intensely unified record, in part thanks to production from key collaborator Kwes. Deft, united, intelligent and free – that’s Nérija, alright.