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Jazz St. Louis – Kevin Bowers – NOVA
Nova is the soundtrack to a movie starring Fred Astaire and Lena Horne, directed by Federico Fellini (which is a strong contender for the best movie never made). It’s the kind of record, at least, you make as one of St. Louis’ most respected drummers, featured in Modern Drummer, fresh from releasing a well-received album with soul-punk band The Feed, and then lately inspired by a deep and deepening trip through Spain. In other words, it’s intoxicating, it’s invigorating, it’s joyous. Like Kevin Bowers himself, it knows why secrets are whispered. And how to throw a party.
Kevin’s sketch of Spain is the story of two lovers meeting near the Mediterranean Sea. Lyrically, it’s visual, concise, reminiscing. Sonically, it’s expansive, layered, ranging over Latin America and Africa. Brazilian samba, psychedelic rock, solo drum pieces—all find expression in 12 songs attuned to the rhythms of romance and percussive because that’s what love is. The leap forward in songcraft is as much personal as artistic. Nova is not only what a drummer at heart makes but also a genre-hopping composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist. This time out, Bowers focused on arranging material for others to sing. It was a decision—one he made early on—that guided the tones and textures of the songs themselves: restless, innovative and entirely right for the record. They mean to transport you to a better and exciting place, and they do.
Nova also has the distinction of gathering some of the finest rock, blues and jazz musicians (and friends) in St. Louis. Together, they manage to croon like Tony Bennett, pop like Sergio Mendes and pulse like the Beatles at their trippiest. This is music that must be performed and heard live, and Kevin is looking forward to just that.