The whole thing started with a phone call to Phil Asher, a gifted young man whose production and recording techniques have at last started to make the worlds music critics, A&R departments and media alike, realise that beneath the UK's dark, wet and windy streets there is a whole nu-generation of singers, musicians, producers and writers crying out to be heard. Lofty and myself at Chilli Funk wanted Phil to record an album for our label, but due to a heavy work load and the arrival of his son Marvin - Phil was pretty much occupied, but he suggested a co-production deal on an album by Nathan Haines, and without any hesitation we of course said 'yes!!' Nathan Haines had been working with the West London collective including Phil Asher, 4-Hero, Alex Attias and Bugz in the @ttic, and his respect and reputation as a brilliant musician and presenter of the good groove, was building very fast on the 'underground' club circuit not just in London, but across the UK. His life began in New Zealand some 29 years ago when from day one his ears were filled with the sounds of John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Thelonius Monk, amongst others. His Jazz upbringing was due to his father Kevin, himself a competent acoustic bass player. At school whilst most of his friends were into the chart music of the day Nathan would be learning the arrangements to 'A Kind of Blue', and his influences were also a hybrid of 'black music' sounds created by bands such as Weather Report and Steely Dan. At 19 his musical curiosity took him to New York, where his mind opened up to the sounds of the street and what lay beneath. Hip Hop blasting from his radio, jamming with New Yorks' 'Groove Collective' and the eclectic Jazz vibes from club Giant Steps made him realise that Jazz Music was more a fusion of world beats and not as Ostraight' as what he had thought. When DJ Gilles Peterson spotted Nathans talent in 93, he suggested to Polygram that recording this young Jazz Head wouldn't be a bad idea. A year later and 'Shift Left' was released to the world, and to have his debut album put out on Verve Records in the UK, was for Nathan a dream come true. 1995 his travels brought him to London, renewing his friendship with dance DJ Roy The Roach, whom he had met the year before whilst touring New Zealand. Roy showed Nathan some of Londons' real music venues and visits to 'The Blue Note', 'The Loft' and 'That's How It Is' @ Bar Rumba - opened his mind even more. In his head was now a melting pot of music, but all with a thin line of Jazz running through it. Drum and Bass caught his ears and a project called 'Sci- Clone' was realised with releases on MetalHeadz and Reinforced. In October 98, Nathan started his own weekly Tuesday club night 'Bemsha' (named after Thelonius Monk's 'Bemsha Swing') at the Notting Hill Arts Club, an intimate and earthy underground space deep in the heart of London's West Side. Nathan will admit to starting the club out of sheer frustration. 'I had nowhere to play my music and also wanted to hear all my musical styles and influences under the one roof'. A blend of live music with DJ and Club culture, was and still is the theme of the night, but with Jazz being the roots of it all. The night itself has set a high precedence amongst those in know and is Nathans way of pushing the barriers of Jazz-influenced music into new and exciting directions. 'Sound Travels' is just an extension of Nathans' dream and belief that music is an open book for all to enjoy. This open-minded modern day thinking is echoed by his friends and musicians whom he has given so much time and pleasure over the years. This collection of songs is the culmination of all the sounds that have influenced Nathan Haines from day one and they don't need any deep explanation or highbrow musical theory, the answer is here for all to enjoy........................ so just listen to the record.
(C) Dr BOB JONES - (BBC London Live 94.9)