London-based jazz septet NÉRIJA are among my absolute favourite groups at the moment, and there’s a very good reason for that. Their textured, beautiful compositions and infectious energy make them such an engaging, exhilarating band. They have finally released their highly anticipated new album titled Blume, and it’s safe to say that they have aced this work with some exceptional, inspiring and breathtaking music.
With 10 tracks and 55 minutes in length, this album is extensive as well as being an enthralling immersive experience. It starts off with “Nascence,” a 7 minute slow-paced but emotive opener. The brass ensemble, consisting of Nubya Garcia on tenor saxophone, Sheila Maurice-Grey on trumpet, Cassie Kinoshi on alto saxophone and Rosie Turton trombone provide such emotive and powerful energy, not only on the opening track but throughout the entire album. The frantic energy on “Last Straw” mimics what I can interpret metaphorically as a break up, or a fight between two partners, while there are more emotive moments on the album with compositions on “Partner Girlfriend Lover” and “Blume,” which sees Shirley Tetteh absolutely ace it on guitar. The drumming from Lizy Exell on tracks such as “Equanimous” and “Unbound” are dominant and hypnotic a lot of the time, as I get immersed in the power and the beauty of the rhythm. The basslines throughout the album from Rio Kai are sublime, such as on “Swift” and “EU (Emotionally Unavailable).” While she may not be at the forefront of the music, her impact is so important and needed. The intense, jazz-fueled compositions are stellar throughout, and it’s no wonder that NÉRIJA are considered one of the best jazz groups performing today.
Listen to NÉRIJA’s phenomenal new album Blume below via Bandcamp and don’t forget to support! Released via Domino Recording Company.