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NOMO standing still 

Jazz Fest's party-makers bring up the sweat levels at the Seahorse.

We don't know a lot about this Ann Arbor, Michigan, band, but they get a lot of love from NPR, Rolling Stone and Pitchfork. The write-up in the Halifax Jazz Festival guide for says that NOMO is known "to send journalists-on-duty into dancing fits," which doesn't sound pretty. Have you seen journalists dance? To test out this theory, The Coast tried to get hold of the dance-making quintet (which sometimes grows up to 12 members) right before their appearance at the Montreal Jazz Festival, with no luck. But we still like what we hear off their two last albums, Invisible Cities (2009) and Ghost Rock (2008).

It's not quite free-form jazz or funk, and it's not world music, either. It bridges that gap like a classic Talking Heads album. Somewhere inspired, somewhere in-between. Elliot Bergman's sax and Justin Walter's trumpet bust out all over Fela Kuti-inspired Afrobeats: the horn arrangements are mixed with NOMO's own handmade instruments. Composer Elliot Bergman's electric kalimbas move in and disappear again, like sparks in front of Jake Vinsel's deep bass and Quin Kirchner's energetic drums.

If watching uninhibited hippies and awkward jazz guys (and a few left-footed journalists) get into a frenzied, frenetic, flailing fun dance isn't your thing, it might be best to stay clear of the Seahorse tonight. But if you're looking for Saturday's dance party, this is where you need to be.

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Vol 26, No 24
November 8, 2018

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