[Dox Records / Membran]
includes the single
THE SPICE OF LIFE
audio (single edit)
In 2015 a string of inspirational encounters led Matt Bianco founder and singer Mark Reilly to combine forces with Amsterdam based jazz pioneers New Cool Collective for a collaboration that resulted in an album entitled ‘The Things You Love’. Reilly subsequently released another successful Matt Bianco album in 2017 entitled ‘Gravity’ and toured around the world to promote it.
Fast forward to early 2020, and both parties found themselves recording together again in Amsterdam, adding the South American cumbia and other new sounds to their joint fascination with Latin, jazz, soul and R&B. “Although I attended some rehearsals in Amsterdam to work on arrangements of song ideas NCC had put together, I deliberately didn’t present many song ideas myself. For me it would be an interesting challenge as the essence of collaboration is that creatively you arrive at a piece of work you wouldn’t have thought of if you had written everything yourself,” explains Mark Reilly.
The coronavirus pandemic struck in the middle of the sessions, resulting in further recordings having to be made from a distance. Continues Reilly: “It was quite daunting at first when NCC sent me ten backing tracks from their live recording sessions to work on in my studio in the UK, but I soon got into it, sending rough mixes back to them for comments as the tunes became complete with melodies, vocals, lyrics and sometimes rearrangements of the tracks.”
After a period of intense online collaboration, the album took shape. “I started doing the mixes and sending them over to NCC for comments and after making a series of adjustments back and forth we arrived with an album we were all really excited about,” Reilly recalls. The result is ‘High Anxiety’, a record that sees both parties taking a giant step forward from their first project together and one that ranges from brisk uptempo numbers such as the title track to the mysterious cumbia-influenced ‘When the Ghosts Come Out to Play’.
Co-founded in 1983 by vocalist Mark Reilly, Matt Bianco made their album debut with the worldwide sensation ‘Whose Side Are You On’ (1984), a record with a totally new fresh sound that re-introduced jazz into the UK charts.
NEW COOL COLLECTIVE
The Dutch ensemble formed in 1993 and have an impressive discography that encompasses an array of different sounds and collaborations. Whoever and whatever they play with, NCC’s brilliant, dynamic, endlessly swinging music machine always makes a huge impact.