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The Herbaliser Band - Session 1 & 2

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Album Review

Soon after their debut, Jake Wherry and Ollie Teeba's Herbaliser project began growing from avatars of studio hip-hop into a live band experience that was a significantly different prospect than their records promised. Then, after three LPs for Ninja Tune during the late '90s, they brought their band into the studio and produced Session 1, an eight-track album with covers of their earlier material. The band was a crackerjack, including a base of Ralph Lamb (brass) and Andy Ross (woodwinds), together known as the Easy Access Orchestra — plus guests including saxophone maestro Chris Bowden. Virtually the same lineup was intact more than a decade later when Session 2 was recorded, in early 2009. In the meantime, the Herbaliser had moved even closer to the vibrant club-jazz displayed on Session 1, which makes it a bit less revelatory, but an accomplished work of pinpoint-precise live jamming nevertheless. Latter-day highlights "Geddim!" and "Amores Bongo" appear hand in hand with older tracks that would have been sure things for the original session — "Mr Chombee Has the Flaw," from 1997's Blow Your Headphones and "Moon Sequence," from 1999's Very Mercenary.


Formed: 1992 in London, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The Herbaliser are one of the more purely hip-hop-oriented acts on Ninja Tune's roster of sample-based pocket-funk. Combining deft midtempo beats, well-chosen jazz and funk figures, sparse scratching, and even the odd rap, Herbaliser bridge the gap between dusty B-side instrumental hip-hop and London's new school of psychotropic beat scientists. Formed by Ollie Teeba and Jake Wherry in the early '90s, Herbaliser, unlike many of London's abstract beat scene's acid house-steeped big-name artists, trace...
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