jazzy music/bluesy vocals
nice vocalist but the music didn't do it

Grade - 1.3

released Mar 22nd, 2011

from the album - Simmerdown - 1.5


from all music


Nostalgia 77 features the production work of Ben Landin, who shifts between relying upon samples and musicians as raw material for his processed tracks. After some singles for the 7Sevens label, he released his first album, Songs for My Funeral, in 2004, and followed that with 2005's The Garden, issued on Ubiquity; Borderlands and Sevens & Eights: Recorded Live at the Jazz Cafe in 2006; and then Everything Under the Sun the next year. In 2008, the album Weapons of Jazz Destruction was released by Tru Thoughts under the Nostalgia 77 Octet moniker. Landin (who played guitar) expanded his concept group to include drums, upright bass, brass, reeds, and winds. After a collection entitled Nostalgia 77's One Offs, Remixes & B-Sides, in 2009 Landin enlisted British jazz and improv legends pianist Keith Tippett and vocalist Julie Tippetts for Nostalgia 77 Sessions, Vol. 1, another full-ensemble recording that featured upright bass, saxophones, guitar, and drums in addition to piano and vocals. Landin also acted as producer and engineer for the date. Throughout the latter half of the 21st century's first decade, Landin concerned himself with a lot of production work on albums by Jeb Loy Nichols, Elizabeth Parks, Larry Stabbins, Alice Russell, Sara Mitra, Fringe Magnetic, and Golden Age of Steam. In the early spring of 2011, Nostalgia 77 released the most eclectic and far-reaching album to date with Sleepwalking Society (on Tru Thoughts), featuring German vocalist Josa Peit; the set walked the line between classic Ellingtonian jazz, British folk, and even blues.

Album Review

Along with the ever-widening color palette of Nostalgia 77's investigation of jazz, creator and leader Benedic Lamdin has established himself as a producer of merit. In recent years, he’s helmed two albums that have in turn directly influenced The Sleepwalking Society's direction: Lizzy Parks' excellent This and That, and British singer/songwriter Jeb Loy Nichols' gentle masterpiece Strange Faith and Practice. Lamdin introduces listeners to yet another fine vocalist: German songstress Josa Peit; he also composes or co-writes all these tunes, plays guitar, organ, and produces. Frequent collaborators Riaan Vosloo (bass and string arrangements), Tim Giles (drums), Mark Hanslip (flute), Ross Stanley (piano & organ), James Allsopp (saxophones and clarinet), Fulvio Sigurta (trumpet and horn arrangements), Natalie Rosario (cello), and guests round out this edition of Nostalgia 77. As an album, The Sleepwalking Society is perfectly balanced in construction and articulation. Peit’s smoky, near vibrato-less alto walks an undulating line between Dinah Washington's slippery restraint and Nina Simone’s ethereal middle-period contralto. Petit creates pure atmosphere with that voice; her phrasing underscores every line with poetic meaning. “Sleepwalker” is based on a minor-key blues shuffle. It features wonderful baritone saxophone and B-3 fills under Peit’s taut, emotionally charged delivery. On “Beautiful Lie,” she bridges the chasm in a jazz group that winds trippy Baroque folk and spine-slipping soul into the mix. “Golden Morning” is offered with a haunted, skeletal blues vibe; adorned only by an upright bass, a military snare beat, and a kick drum. “When Love Is Strange,” with its angular funky breaks, mournful New Orleans-style horns, and a swelling B-3, is possessed of by an eerie sense of nameless, forgotten chanteuses singing in long-emptied Berlin jazz clubs left to ruin, without sounding nostalgic. “Blue Shadow”'s lithe funky backbeat is adorned by cello, clarinet, B-3, nylon-string guitar, and understated bassline until the chorus, when the brass kicks in hard. Peit swings the lyric from the bellybone until its drips from her mouth. The Sleepwalking Society is a stunner; a jazz-pop record with brilliant R&B and folk undertones woven throughout. Lamdin's pushed himself further than ever, melding disparate genres and arrangements effortlessly; and in the process, he’s brought to light yet another stellar song stylist in Peit.

Track Listing

1 Sleepwalker Lamdin, Peit 3:47
2 Beautiful Lie Lamdin 4:06
3 Simmerdown Lamdin 3:27
4 Golden Morning Lamdin, Peit 2:12
5 When Love Is Strange Lamdin 3:04
6 Blue Shadow Lamdin 3:40
7 Mockingbird Lamdin 4:57
8 Cherry Lamdin 4:07
9 Hush Lamdin 8:46