Fish Fry at the Jazz Bar, Edinburgh, Sat 21 Oct
How they’re going to fit everyone on stage we don’t know, but this set by Detroit octet (plus guest players) Nomo should be one to look forward to. Continuing the new Jazz Bar’s ever-growing resurgence as the home of jazz, funk, Latin and all related styles - and the regular Fish Fry night’s key role in that - great gigs like this will only help bolster the place’s reputation yet further.
Formed in Michigan by bandleader and saxophonist Elliot Bergman, Nomo’s roots lie in the Afrobeat sound most legendarily exemplified by Fela Kuti, although the American free jazz sound of John Coltrane et al and an element of electronica also find their way into their style, the latter a throwback to the later work of free jazz figureheads like Miles Davis. Releasing their first long-playing record in 2004, this year’s second album New Tones confirms Nomo to be a tight and funk-fuelled outfit, whose dynamic, intelligent take on a variety of styles is contributory to their growing reputation among the leftfield press and radio stations in their home country.
Created initially as a jam project between Bergman and a bunch of fellow young University of Michigan graduates, the Ann Arbor outfit started to take things more seriously very quickly, and since then, a distinctive and learned repertoire has emerged. That’s not to say they’re just for the jazz purists, mind you. Among their recordings exists a cover of Sun Ra’s ‘Rocket #9’, but they’ve also recorded a version of Joanna Newsom’s ‘The Book of Right On’, the new folk heroine’s work making an unlikely bedfellow with the type of jazz reclamation this big band indulge in. Nevertheless - like all their work - it’s fluid and funky, and refreshingly at odds with the musical heritage of the city Nomo call home.