Classics: The Brand New Heavies feat. N’Dea Davenport – Stay This Way (The Heavy Mix) (Delicious Vinyl)
From the very first note, you realize you’re in front of a timeless masterpiece. With everything at the right place. From N’Dea Davenport‘s vocal performance to its stellar arrangements. ‘Stay This Way’ in that sense is a title that speaks for itself. Sounding like an instinctual creation, meaning you would hardly do anything better in the genre. From its jazzy horn section, with baritone sax player Tim Garland and trumpeter Paul Dias takin’ the lead. To its infectious funky rhythm part over a hypnotic synth line.
‘Stay This Way’ is undoubtedly a freakin’ standard. Standing among the highlights of The BNH‘s 1990 eponymous debut-album, along with ‘Dream Come True’. It opened the path for extra gems such as ‘Dream On Dreamer’ and ‘Never Stop’. Not to mention ‘Midnight At The Oasis’ and ‘You’ve Got A Friend’. Or, more recently, ‘Sunlight’. As many cuts which established the band as a driving force in the Soul/Jazz scene…
The Brand New Heavies saw the light back in the mid-80’s in Ealing, West London. Their nucleus (Jan Kincaid, Simon Bartholomew and Andrew Levy) jamming back then under the Brothers International guise. They would change their name getting their influence from the liner note of a James Brown‘s single.
They delivered their debut-single – ‘Back To Give’ – on Cooltempo in 1988. Switching soon after to Eddie Piller‘s Acid Jazz label, they then brought their eponymous debut-album to critical acclaim. An album which they revamped, this time with vocals courtesy of N’Dea Davenport. With its singles – ‘Dream Come True’, ‘Never Stop’ and ‘Stay This Way’ – charting Stateside and in the U.K.
Performing in NYC with MC Serch (formerly of 3rd Bass) and Q-Tip (A Tribe Called Quest) led them to incorporate elements of Hip-Hop in their music. Something one could feel on their follow-up, ‘Heavy Rhyme Experience, Vol. 1’. An opus which included collaborations with Guru and The Pharcyde.
1994 saw the release of ‘Brother Sister’ and in the meantime their last collab with N’Dea Davenport for a while. The singer working on her debut-album at the time. It spawned extra classics such as its title cut and ‘Midnight At The Oasis’. Not to mention ‘Dream On Dreamer’ which David Morales happened to remix.
Siedah Garrett took the lead on their follow up – ‘Shelter’ – 3 years after. ‘Sometimes’, from the latter receiving the remixing treatment of Masters At Work but also Q-Tip and Dimitri from Paris. Not to mention Blacksmith. BNH heavily relied on singer/songwriter Sy Smith on their 2003 ‘We Won’t Stop’ album. Meanwhile they featured Nicole Russo on ‘Allaboutthefunk’ in 2005.
In April 2006, they reunited with N’Dea Davenport on ‘Get Used to It’. Its lead single ‘I Don’t Know Why (I Love You)’ comin’ up with the trademarked A Tom Moulton Mix.
Since then, they’ve released 2 extra albums. Beginning with ‘Sweet Freaks’ with Jan Kincaid and Dawn Joseph sharing the vocal duties. Their latest – ‘The Elephant In The Room’ – only seeing the light on a Japanese release back in 2015.
BNH also happened to venture themselves into remixing territories. From Soul II Soul‘s ‘Joy’ to Mr Fingers‘ ‘On A Corner Called Jazz’ among others…