Central element of the music of Bahama Soul Club is the percussion. This is no coincidence, because this formation was founded by Oliver Belz, a dedicated percussionist. Second in the group is keyboardist André Neundorf.
Together they released Rhythm Is What Makes Jazz Jazz (2008), Bossa Nova Just Smells Funky (2010), Bossa Nova Just Smells Funky Remixed (2013), The Cuban Tapes (2013), and Havana '58 (2016). This year they are back with Bohemia After Dawn.
Additional artists on this edition are York (sax, flutes), Ralli King (guitar), Holger Stonjek (bass), Lars Lehmann (bass), Maike Jacobs (vocals), Claus Hartisch (guitar, bass), and Bela Heine (guitar). All tracks are written and performed by Oliver Belz and André Neundorf.
The album opens with Afrodisia, a pun from Aphrodisiac and Africa. If you expect African-influenced music, you will be surprised by an Indian groove with an unnamed female singer and Tablas in the intro. Quickly the tune meanders in a wild mélange of Indian sound with a heavy jazzy input of sax player York.
My personal favorite on this album is Ain't Nobody's Business that starts with an irresistible upright bass run. Bahama Soul Club perfectly transforms Billie Holliday's original voice from the Big Band set into a contemporary flow.
Mercy Me is a seldom mixture of fluffier Latin Lounge style with the more bluesy style of vocalist Josephine Nightingale. Cuban singer Arema Areda is the undisputed star on the Latin flavored Mango. Arema has already often collaborated with Bahama Soul Club on all Cuban influenced albums.
Mixing the blues with easy going music is also a specialty of the group. They took parts of John Lee Hooker's 1946 recorded version When My First Wife Left Me and lifted it into a new musical surrounding giving his song a totally new direction.
Taly Minkov-Louzeiro from Portugal can also be called a new discovery. With her strong and energetic voice she gives Troubles All Be Gone the right verve. Alma Sola already has something of underground music in the intro, before Arema Arega brings the song back on track with her ingratiating timbre.
Riding The Train has the rushing organ drive, which we still know from the old Brian Auger times. Tears Run Down features another vocal gem of the past, gospel singer Wyon Carr.
Final tune is Castelejo. This is one of the finest beaches of the Algarve. Joining from the local artists are Rui Correia on accordeon and singers Josephine Nightingale, Cutty Wren and Hedvig Larsso. Be also aware of the beat sample from the Beatles' Come Together. Oliver Belz has dedicated this song to his late Portuguese friend and artist Vitor Hugo.
The Bahama Soul Club pursues on their new album Bohemia After Dawn the skillful blend of soul, jazz, funk, blues, bossa nova, afro and Caribbean music. This incredible mix is the key to their success.