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The Brand New Heavies

Pioneers of the London acid jazz scene, the Brand New Heavies translated their love for the funk grooves of the 1970s into a sophisticated sound that carried the torch for classic soul in an era dominated by hip-hop. Formed in 1985 by drummer/keyboardist Jan Kincaid, guitarist Simon Bartholomew, and bassist/keyboardist Andrew Levy -- longtime school friends from the London suburb of Ealing -- the Brand New Heavies were originally an instrumental unit inspired by the James Brown and Meters records its members heard while clubbing the rare groove scene in vogue at the moment. The trio soon began recording their own music, gaining enormous exposure when their demo tracks were spun at the influential Cat in the Hat Club.

Eventually adding a brass section, the Brand New Heavies built a cult following throughout the London club circuit, surviving the shift that saw the rare groove scene fade in the wake of acid house. After an earlier recording deal with Cooltempo yielded the single "Got to Give," the Heavies -- now including vocalist Jay Ella Ruth -- signed with the fledgling indie label Acid Jazz; recorded on a budget of just 8,000 pounds, the group's self-titled LP appeared in 1990 to strong critical acclaim, resulting in a licensing deal with the American company Delicious Vinyl. With Ruth now out of the band, Delicious Vinyl hand-picked N'dea Davenport as her successor, insisting the Heavies re-record tracks from their debut for their first U.S. effort, also an eponymous release that appeared in 1992.

After scoring at home with "Dream Come True" and "Stay This Way," the single "Never Stop" soon landed on the American R&B charts, with the Heavies the first British group to accomplish such a feat with a debut single since Soul II Soul several years earlier; a subsequent New York performance augmented by rappers Q-Tip (A Tribe Called Quest) and MC Serch (3rd Bass) inspired the group to begin absorbing hip-hop, and that summer they cut Heavy Rhyme Experience, Vol. 1, an album including guest appearances by rappers including Main Source, Gang Starr, Grand Puba, and the Pharcyde. Released in 1994, Brother Sister, which went platinum in Britain, was Davenport's last recording with the Heavies before beginning a solo career; she was replaced by singer Siedah Garrett in time for 1997's Shelter. Two years later, the group reappeared with a British best-of album entitled Trunk Funk: The Best of the Brand New Heavies; the title was recycled the following year for an American compilation, Trunk Funk Classics: 1991-2000, which featured a new song recorded with Davenport.

In early 2006 it was announced that Davenport would be reuniting with the group. A new album, Get Used to It, was released later that year and was followed by a tour of the U.K. and Europe. A two-disc album, Live in London, appeared in 2009. During the next decade, the band recorded an album of library music-style funk instrumentals, titled Dunk Your Trunk (2011), as well as Forward (2013), a proper studio album featuring lead vocals from Davenport and Dawn Joseph. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Addicted (Single)

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Track List: Sunlight (Single)

Comments

still bangs!
This is so cool;)
crysanc
One of my favorite bands..timel e s s sound
Wish we had some clubs in GR that booked bands like this. Gettin' my groove on.
My ol skool jam!
aquaman489
a great station for some nice jazz
Love this heart break song
Boring song!!!!!!
This song still makes u bounce! This is the bomb!!!
It just doesn't get much Funkier than this! Its just Nastee!
crysanc
My favorite band....just as good today as 20 years ago
I KNEW THERE WAS A SAX SOLO AT THE END
I like it,. I like it a lot. You can hear the Meters influence.
great , great song . off the hook !
Old school BNH! That's what I'm talkin bout! lol!
Great Band!! Their sound is unique and mind blowing.
Dayum! Shelter is... OFF. THE. HOOK.
LOVE THEM!! and they are outrageous live.
I have loved BNH since I heard them on the Love Jones soundtrack. Love the smooth retro groove. Lead singer has great voice. It is unique.
I love this bad. I love these jazz artists
best british funk band ever! had front row seats in DC for them back in the day. very tight band and still very good. They had a reunion tour last year. I'll always pay money to see them.
I challenge you to create a playlist with Portishead, Sweetback, Groove Theory, Les Nubians & BNH... Your ears will thank you, your body will move, and your heart will soar!
rodfirez
like bnh sound both with Ndea and siedah
melorona
ummm why is this bio atached to the BRAND NUBIANS??? Please someone fix
Ok, In my more youthful days I was so tempted to tatoo the symbol of Brand New Heavies on my ankle in lou of Elephantitis Funk House. That is how much I love them! They have a song for every mood for me. They are the heart of free people!
one of the absolute best to do it..even through all the changes,cons i s t e n t l y funky...
on par with reel people and m people
Totally love this group. N'dea Davenport vocals so go with the group sound.
legooster
One of the best funk bands out there
earlwiggs10
HAD A CHANCE TO SEE THEM PERFORM HERE AT EARTHLINK STAGE IN THE ATL IN 2005. WAITING FOR THEM TO TOUR OUR CITY AGAIN. PEACE....... . . . .
ackerbex3
i love their sound - never heard of them before.
I always liked this song, didn't know they were British :-)
I never woulda known they were Brits!
Brand New Heavies..... Funk is it's own reward.... They are "Retro-funky "
I really like this group. They have a retro funky sound. They are great in concert and very diversified.
they have good sound reminicent of the 70's, but they gotta diversify their lyrics & theme. too many songs are about how they're the only one's funkn today. how many times do we need to hear em say that?
hicksandrius
BOOT SAYS AWESOME!!!
In an age when a good band is as rare as an honest car salesman, a good funk band is as rare as a truthful politician. These guys consistently manage to put out disc after disc with not a dull song on it. That is, with the exception of "Heavy Rhyme Experience" the crazy uncle in the basement. What were they thinking???? ! ! Why they can't seem to get a real foothold in the U. S. is a mystery. Chalk it up to fast food, reality tv and rap, it's making American brains mushy.
zycor368
"Brother Sister" seems to have been a huge influence on Jill Scott, Erykah Bhadu, Conya Doss, and other neo-soul artists. This is the music at its absolute best.
prncssv
Been loving them since the 90's! LoveU
jdesenclos
The brits always seem to out-funk the Yanks, because they appreciate good soulfoul music, something that is lacking in our music scene here in the states.
I would have to agree with my fellow loggers that N'Dea Davenport and Joss Stone sounds so much alike. This is a nice groove though....
i love real music. I played clarinet,sax , a lil' flute(wasn't that committed with it) and the piano. It always gives me goosebumps when I hear it,esp. strings! Oh, my gosh.
jplgearhead
Too kool a groove, as in Crusaders, George Benson and 60's-70's era jazz Kool. A new age slice of the past with an originality of thier own, this is like the Kool stuff my dad exposed me too as a teen growing up on the mid-alantic coast in the early - mid seventies.
Why does Joss Stone sound like N'Dea Davenport? That's the REAL question.
why does the female vocalist sound like Joss Stone?
this group gives you so much funk along with some jazz. one of my favorites.
Why do the Brits always out-funk the Yanks?!!AWB Anyone? Joss Stone? Oh Yeah!!
GREAT GREAT BAND !!!!! OUT OF THE U.K. CHECK IT OUT

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