Nick van Gelder ‎– Groovitas

Label:
Vee-Gee Records ‎– VeeGee CD 001
Format:
CD
Country:
Released:
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Style:
 

Tracklist

1 Such A Feeling 6:00
2 Ticataka 5:17
3 Afro Infusion 6:04
4 Get It Right 5:56
5 Hoya Hoye 4:32
6 Something's Gotta Give 5:42
7 Reach Into The Light 6:32
8 I Like It 6:20
9 Mercaba 3:30
10 Dream Flight 6:21
11 Moments 4:00
12 Just Begun 6:40
13 Groovitas 6:29

Reviews

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Yemsky

Yemsky

November 23, 2016

Nick Van Geldern is a multi-instrumentalist who originally started as a drummer for a progressive rock band called Ozric Tentacles in the 1980s. In the 90s he discovered “groove music” and appeared playing both drums as well as guitar on numerous Acid Jazz releases: Sandals, Jessica Lauren, Night Trains and most noticeable Jamiroquai. After some 12” and 7” vinyl releases on Deep Funk under his own name and a few projects under aliases (Akwaaba People, Imaginary Vison) or in small collaborations (Chosen 2, Keb Darge) we had his solo album debut called “Choose Music” in 2008 on BBE. This did not track particularly well commercially and by 2012 he decided to go DIY and self-released this album on Vee Gee (= Van Gelder) Records. Apart from occasional help contributed drums, percussion, Fender Rhodes, Homer and Moog synths, bass and guitar. Talent!
The majority of this CD is uptempo discofied groove stuff. Most of the tracks are instrumental or semi instrumental and while I love it, it’s probably the main reason why a quality release like this again got very little commercial attention and success. The CD opens with a quality track which is unusual in its tempo: A slow groove that would work in any warm up DJ set or bar soundtrack. It’s instrumental apart from the chorus (and title) “Such A Feeling [people getting down with the music]” which might be the reason why it doesn’t wider exposure. Which is a shame: It’s one of those tracks where I’d go over to the DJ to ask what s/he is spinning.
Ticataka (2) is a fun tune combining a quality dancefloor groove with an infectious funky rhythm guitar that could have been on an Afrobeat track, great work on bass and a really cute synth programming (listen and you’ll understand). Some vocoder and background vocals from Romanian artist Monooka make this track quite entertaining.
Afro Infusion (3) has four guests on it: Pianist Carl Hudson, horns by Nichol Thomson and Andrew Ross as well as a top notch solo by Dominic Glover, one of the most talented session musicians on the UK scene who makes the second half of this tune very enjoyable.
Get It Right (4) is an OK track with Nick on “jazz bass”, Jim Hunt on Soprano Sax and vocals by “Mazen.” I do not know much about him, but Nick worked with him back in 2003 on the great cover of the Luther Davis Group’s Get On Up (You Can Be A Star) / To Be Free under the name Chosen 2.
Hoya Hoye (5) features some nice Moog workout by Samuel Yirga (misspelled Sammuel) and fellow Ethiopian Teremage Woretaw who contributes the Masinko (Lute) on this track. The whole thing sounds like quality library stuff.
Something’s Gotta Give (6) features Mazen again, sounding like Curtis Mayfield. It work and is probably something that will make people ask the DJ whether Curtis had a Disco album that they never heard of. On background duties there is also Princess Freesia of Soulpersona fame.
Vocalist Marcina Arnold contributes to Reach Into The Light (7) as does Finn Peters on Alto Sax. It’s not their contribution that let’s the track down, but overall this is rather average.

I Like It (8) is the third track to feature Mazen and there’s nothing to particularly dislike it, but you might as well skip forward as at 6:20 it drags on a bit to long.
Merkaba (9) is an instrumental jam with Nick on all instruments but mainly improvising on synths. At 3:30 it’s the shortest track on the album, which works to its advantage.
Dream Flight (10) doesn’t sound bad, but is lacking a bit of an idea to develop out the repetitive theme of stabs, which is a shame as Nick is joined by Princess Freesia on back ground vocals and horn section of Bob Dowell, Ben Somers and Jonathan Radford.
Those three also contribute to the better Moments (11) which is the last track to feature Mazen’s vocals and while it does not have a proper verse at least it features a vocal bridge, ad libs and a chorus. Almost a song and not just a groove.
The penultimate Just Begun (12) will gets a lot of smiles for Funk and Soul lovers: It starts with a drum and keyboard lead groove with a nice bass, the horns (Dom Glove and Nichol Thomson) burst with energy in just the right places; on top of that we have Matt Cooper doing excellent work on Piano and a Roland JP8000 analog synth; the whole thing works extremely well as it cleverly quotes from Jimmy Castor’s It’s Just Begun and Roy Ayers’ Everybody Loves The Sunshine. Possibly the highlight together with the opener of the album.
Groovitas (13) is cow-bell lead groove with some simple harmonic synth chords on top, which get echoed by Andrew Ross’ tenor sax. There is no verse/chorus structure to it but it gets a bit jazzier in the second half. It doesn’t stand well as a composition, but as the title track it might serve as Nick’s theme tune.
Nick is super talented, has some great session players with him, knows how to create a soulful groove sound. For my liking he could compensate some missing songwriting skills with more jazzy improvisation, but that’s a minor gripe. The whole thing is enjoyable: Afro Infusion, Something’s Gotta Give and Get It Right are good, Ticataka and Hoya Hoye are very good and Just Begun as well as Such A Feeling are excellent.