The Near Jazz Experience feeling joy and wide acclaim for album

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St Leonards musician Simon Charterton has this month released a new album as part of his combo The Near Jazz Experience which is already wowing the nation.

Afloat by The NJE - available on Sartorial Records - has been receiving unilateral praise and frequent outings on the airwaves including most recently a live performance on BBC6 Music for Gideon Coe’s show, and a mention on Mojo Magazine’s current list of best music to listen to.

The Evening Standard reviewed it saying: “Afloat is the sound of three musicians delighting in their synergy and relishing the unknown.”

The NJE is Terry Edwards (Higsons, PJ Harvey) on brass, Mark Bedford (Madness) on bass and Simon (Alex Harvey, Higsons) on drums.

He commented: “Terry Edwards and I played together in the Higsons; Terry played with Mark Bedford in a couple of projects. We are old mates but had never played together as a trio. So we decided to try out some improv in a pub called the Indo Bar in Whitechapel Rd in April 2010. We’ve been playing a monthly residency there ever since, making it up as we go along, and the album captures some of that as well as bits from various studios we’ve wandered into along the way. We aren’t jazzers but what we do is almost like jazz - with a funky/krautrock element mixed in - hence the name Near Jazz Experience. And because of the last part of our name, we decided to try out a Hendrix song Voodoo Child which is on the album and coming out as a single.

We never really intended to do more than just play live but gradually recorded bits and pieces in various places and eventually shaped them up into the album Afloat.

We also do a monthly Resonance FM radio show called Tongue And Groove where we talk to ourselves and other musicians about various aspects of being a musician and why the hell we all bother.”

The NJE will be playing at Kino Teatr in St Leonards in December doing a live improvised soundtrack to Russian 1920s film Turksib.

Simon added: “I am obviously very pleased but quite surprised that we’ve had such good reviews for an album of improvised instrumentals but then the pedigree of the other two chaps in the band probably helps.”