When you invite 17 musicians — including a four-piece percussion section featuring a Ghanaian master drummer, a six-piece horn section and a collection of music students and indie rockers — you’re inviting eclecticism.
And let’s face it: The ambitious pursuit of musical eclecticism can equal an undisciplined mess. And then there are bands like Nomo — gatherings of open-minded music-heads convened for a singular purpose. In this case, the purpose is to create genuinely exciting (gulp) groove-centric dance music that also allows room for avant-jazz, Afro-pop, dub reggae, soul and new music — Orchestra Baobab locking into an untapped groove vein from Space is the Place at a basement party. Here, the eclecticism’s marching orders are simply to make the people dance. It delivers on the promise to move the booty and still manages to tap into even the most analytical musical melon too. It’s testament to the clarity of purpose brought to the table by Nomo organizer and sax man Elliot Bergman (who also blows for Saturday Looks Good to Me) as well as the focus of producer Warn Defever on assuring this polymorphous dance party actually feels like a party — even on record. The sextet of horns strolls leisurely through snaking conga lines; fuzz guitar freak-outs interrupt sun-dappled organ and sax affairs.
“Better Than That” vamps and wiggles like Coltrane’s reconstruction of “My Favorite Things,” if those favorite things in question just happened to be ass-shaking and street parties. Over the course of the record’s 10 jams and 45-plus minutes, Nomo makes a persuasive case for the power of the world party.
Nomo takes to the stage at the Magic Stick (4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit) August 14, with Flashpap’r. Call 313-833-9700.
E-mail Chris Handyside at [email protected].