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Digital Subscriptions > Classic Pop > Nov 2019 > HEAVY SOUL

HEAVY SOUL

IN THE EARLY 1990S, THE BRAND NEW HEAVIES WERE AT THE FOREFRONT OF THE BURGEONING ACID JAZZ SCENE. A QUARTER OF A CENTURY ON, FOUNDER MEMBER ANDREW LEVY TALKS TO FELIX ROWE ABOUT HANGING OUT WITH STEVIE WONDER AND JAMES BROWN AND THEIR REUNION WITH CLASSICERA VOCALIST N’DEA DAVENPORT

Breaking out of the late 80s London club scene, within a few short years The Brand New Heavies became transatlantic soul stars, rubbing noses with the very heroes they once idolised. Through a combination of chance and raw talent, these school friends discovered a fresh formula for funk – acid jazz. And in doing so, if their youthful press shots are anything to go by, they’ve stumbled upon the elixir of life. Their feelgood music has served them well over 30-plus years, evidently as good for the body as for the soul.

“I never get bored of it,” says bassist Andrew Levy, who catches up with Classic Pop before heading over to Japan for a four-day residency. In fact, Andrew is now 53. “It’s still hard to say that,” he chuckles.

But, as we discover, he has plenty of unfi nished business. This year sees The Brand New Heavies at something of a crossroads in their career. They’re back with a vibrant new studio album, TBNH, their fi rst since the departure of founder member and long-time drummer, Jan Kincaid, and they’ve reunited on record with on-off frontwoman N’Dea Davenport. It turns out the two events might well be linked…

The Brand New Heavies were formed in 1985 in West London
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About Classic Pop

In the latest issue, we have an exclusive interview with synth pioneers Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark as they celebrate 40 years of marrying art with pop. Elsewhere, we welcome back Simply Red – Mick Hucknall talks us through new album Blue Eyed Soul and Classic Pop speaks to Prince’s inner circle as the Purple One’s wonderful 1999 LP gets a revelatory boxset treatment. Our classic album this month is Peter Gabriel’s iconic So, the perfect union of pop and World music that made the former Genesis frontman a global star. There’s a dash of Acid Jazz funkiness as we meet Incognito and The Brand New Heavies plus we hear from Bruce Hornsby about how Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon has given him some latter-day hipster cachet. We take an in-depth look at the solo back catalogue of George Michael in our Album By Album feature and also hear from Midge Ure about his 1980 Tour and brand new career retrospective compilation. In our extensive reviews section, we put new albums from the likes of A-ha’s Magne Furuholmen, Anna Of The North, Alphabeat, The Wonder Stuff and David Hasselhoff under the microscope and there’s a bumper crop of reissues including that huge Prince boxset, Rick Astley, The Police, Sparks, David Bowie, Simple Minds, Factory Records and much more. Our books special includes reviews of Prince’s autobiography The Beautiful Ones, Andrew Ridgeley’s George & Me plus Debbie Harry’s Face It and more. For live reviews, we head to Hyde Park for Radio 2’s Festival In A Day – headlined by Pet Shop Boys – and elbow our way down the front for shows by xPropaganda/D:uel, Tanita Tikaram, The International Teachers Of Pop and Morten Harket.