The U.K. group, King Kooba (Charlie Tate and Matt “DJ Shuff” Harris) is an elite act in that growing international scene that has taken jazz, funk, and soul to heart and has morphed it into the nu-jazz frenzy. Heartfelt, deep, and oozing with that good stuff, this “nu” sound is the funk of the new millennium. Kooba’s fourth album, Indian Summer, embodies all that is good/great about the music. This trippy album is imbued with the aura of Roy Ayers (with whom Tate has toured) with that Afro-hippie space-jazz feel reverberating with head-nod hip-hop breaks and beats. With the help of Roots Manuva and Gina Rene (of Soulstice), Indian Summer has got to be one of the best albums of the year so far.
The disc kicks off with “Honey Locust,” a driving percussion song with a strong astral jazz (think Sun Goddess) presence and a nice vampy guitar. The title track is a brilliant, atypical deep house cut to rival even Herbert=EDs best. “Public Service,” my favorite, is a nice little piece of pretension that ultimately turns into a cool little house groove with a George Bensonesque guitar solo overriding the fantastic groove (think Nuyorican Soul).
Nu-jazz is one of the most interesting phenomena going on in music today. These crate-digging jazz heads are molding their love for the aforementioned deep tradition and changing it into something bold, new, and exciting. Soon, their numbers will be legion and armies will be invading dancefloors and chill spots all across the globe. King Kooba (along with the likes of Jazzanova) will be our generals, marching us into a bright and glorious dance future.
Om Records: http://www.om-records.com