Nimbus Sextet ‘Dreams Fulfilled’ LP/CD (Acid Jazz) 4/5

‘Dreams Fulfilled’ marks the debut album from the Glasgow-based collective, Nimbus Sextet, released through Acid Jazz Records. With UK jazz seeing many of its artists continue to ascend to increasing heights of success, including the continued prominence of names including saxophonist Nubya Garcia (currently celebrating the success of her debut solo album released through Concord Jazz), pianist Joe Armon-Jones, drummer Moses Boyd, bassist Daniel Casimir… Nimbus Sextet’s ‘Dreams Fulfilled’ presents their vision of contemporary jazz as a project warranting a seat at the table.

Comprised of musicians including band leader Joe Nichols on piano and keyboards, Alex Palmer on drums, Mischa Stevens on bass guitar, Euan Allardice on trumpet, Martin Fell on saxophone and Luca Pisanu of guitar, Nimbus Sextet are comparatively an incredibly young band, only really becoming fully formed in 2018. And in stark contrast to the last album that was released through Acid Jazz this year – the trippy, psychedelic funk of Lightning Orchestra’s ‘Source and Deliver’ – Nimbus Sextet’s brand of engaging and accessible jazz is a real win for the label.

The album opener of ‘Trap Door’ is perfect – buoyant, playful, explosive at times and a great introduction to so many of the varying influences that lay ahead on ‘Dreams Fulfilled’. Of the six tracks present on the album, many of them take this spirited approach throughout as the musicians are wisely afforded ample time in which to explore their own compositions with each member securing notable solo slots and tracks wholeheartedly benefitting from being given the room to find its true self. Another of the album’s singles, ‘Lily White’, benefits greatly from the inclusion of another Glasgow-based artist (and Todd Terry and Union of Knives collaborator), vocalist Anthony “Ant” Thomaz whose soul-drenched vocal adds a genuine level of authenticity to ‘Lily White’s intended muse (“I just want to see you smile”).

And then there’s ‘Klara’ – an exquisite, reflective number that really showcases Nichols’s piano as a focal point and frankly is a difficult track to move on from: at times it can masterfully walk that fine line between being a song languishing in melancholy or basking in a joyous state.

Although ‘Dreams Fulfilled’ serves as the group’s debut album, there really is quite an exciting amount of Nimbus Sextet music to get to grips with outside of that – dating back to 2018 and the single release of ‘Seance’, which does find a home of the album (albeit through a shorter version of the original single), there is the near eleven minute b-side entitled ‘Arabesco’ awaiting your attention along with the 12″ Nuovi Fratelli Extended Remixes of ‘Trap Door’ and ‘Lily White’ available through separate releases as well. The revered compositions of Matthew Herbert are even enlisted for an eight-plus minute “Dub” version of ‘Lily White’ which provides a thrilling reinterpretation of one of the album’s highlights.

With a steady slew of singles and remixes already on offer, there’s the hope that Nimbus Sextet won’t leave it too long before following up on this excellent album. Either way though, a seat at the table certainly awaits.

Imran Mirza