Best things in life hardly ever start before midnight. Nickel and Dime OPS album release party kicked off right around that time at The Cutting Room – a nice venue with a theatrical, subdued atmosphere. This dynamic group of insanely talented musicians brings together jazz and hip-hop, combining the two for an unforgettable performance. Yes, an unlikely fusion you might think, but if you love jazz and hip-hop, you are sure to love these guys.
The first time I had the pleasure to see them perform was at Smoke Jazz Super Club on the Upper West Side – my favorite jazz joint uptown. Nickel Dime and OPS just celebrated their third year residence anniversary at Smoke. Every Thursday they take the stage for the late night show and set the place on fire. More often than not their set is followed by a jam session, a treat for all the late night birds who crave more music in the wee hours.
The set started with a beautiful and haunting piano introduction by Willerm Delisfort and swiftly got really hot.
The raw energy of Nickel Killsmics, the band’s leader and songwriter and Victoria Cave, a.k.a. Madame Secretary, was contagious. The audience was clearly enjoying the music and half way into the set people were standing up and dancing rather than sipping their cocktails at the candlelit tables. They were clearly there for music and to show their support to all the amazing musicians who made this project happen.
The superb horn section with David Gibson on trombone, Jason Marshall on saxophone and Freddie Hendrix on trumpet was killing all night. I have seen David Gibson, who is also the musical director for the band, perform with other bands and his sound is always sharp and fierce, going straight to your heart. The soulful saxophone solos and the flawless trumpet filled the space and brought the show to an even higher level of awesomeness.
Noah Jackson on double bass and Andy Bianco on electric guitar were holding the stage on the other side and Joe Strasser was swinging on drums. The show ended with a standing ovation, buckets of corona sent to the cats by a loyal fan, and a jazz/hip-hop rendition of Jimmie Hendrix. After all it was his birthday!
Verdict? Phenomenal show. You can buy The Soulygamist on iTunes or get a hard copy and have it signed. And if you wonder what “Soulygamist” means, listen to “Shadow of Men”, it gives you an idea towards the end of the track: “The Soulygamist is a soul that does not believe in one soul mate only. They believe in many. This does not refer explicitly to sexual behavior. The soulygamist has an uncanny ability to stimulate an abundance of souls on a deep emotional level.” We all need more than one soulmate and it really does not have to be sexual, just human.
Watch Nickel and Dime OPS perform Shadow of Man at the Cutting Room.
Photo/video credits: Anna Yatskevich