People have been running so hard from the term “soulful house” that a whole generation now is hunched over with their hands on their knees and out of breath. The term has become identified with a certain sterile, gray… a certain traxsourcey sound that, as Sebastian Doering of Lovebirds once observed, seems to have very little “soul” to it at all. At its best, it can showcase really delicious songwriting and vocals. At its worst, it tastes like sucking on an aspirin. Flatten down its already smooth plateaus and you’d have something between smooth jazz and the music they play on the Weather Channel — all of which have their place in the world but few of those places have dancing after 2am.
So we’ll have to come up with a new name for what Anthony Nicholson does and is doing here on DirtyDiscoJazzFunk, a record as lively as a heart attack and deeper and more — yeah — soulful than likely anything that surfaced in any Top 100 this year. The “dirty” is a description of style rather than sound — Anthony Nicholson is legendary for his fastidious arrangements and DirtyDiscoJazzFunk sounds like it was recorded in a quiet room in the Scottish highlands. But the track is bursting with feeling, sometimes guiding and sometimes guided by a rollicking solo on the keys that just keeps rolling and rolling on. As important as live musicians are to this type of record, it’s all for nothing if they sound like shit. And this sounds like the tightest funk band in New York City.
The B-side is no let up. “Future Black Fusion” is exactly what it sounds like — a marriage of jazz, afrobeat and deep house with the genius introduction of a guitar that sounds like it’s being played by a young Carlos Santana.
Anthony Nicholson: DirtyDiscoJazzFunk EP (The Jazz Diaries / March 2021 / 12″ Vinyl/Digital)
1. Anthony Nicholson: DirtyDiscoJazzFunk (08:19)
2. Anthony Nicholson: Future Black Fusion (09:23)
⚪️ Disclosure Statement: This record was submitted as a promo on behalf of the label.