29 Jul 2021

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Nathan Haines - Album Review: 5 A Day

14 Jan 2015 // A review by Andrew Smit

Nathan Haines' name is on the album but if you have enjoyed previous Nathan Haines recordings you may feel you’ve been given the wrong album! 5 A Day has a striking new contemporary R&B style, where the B stands for beats, not blues, although behind the modern groove lies a smooth blues and funk feel. It's not a pre-dinner album, it's better for an after dinner groove, the kind of hip hop music you expect to hear booming out of someone's car. Nathan's saxophone's are not dominant and generally appear halfway into the songs, some are a bit back in the mix with lots of reverb so they are a bit wet and not an assertive influence to the music (unlike in his earlier recordings). There is nothing actually wrong with that, it’s just a surprise when you’re expecting more of the wonderful jazz sax music that one of New Zealand’s best saxophonist’s has done in the past, of which I personally can’t get enough of.

The tracks generally have a straightforward repeated riff that drives the beat of the songs, some have the beat emphasised by soulful vocal chants, where any second you expect an extravagant gangster type rap to burst forth. An exception to this is the brilliant Wait n See which has what you could call a traditional vocal, from Tama Waipara, a very smooth Pacific Sinatra sounding vocal, with sweet soprano accompaniment. The beats are varied and interesting, there's the techno oriental style of Hidden Fortress laden with stylish synth and distant pipes, and a cool vocal by Kevin Mark Trial. There is a dynamic 80's beat in Zoot Allure with swirling keyboards and flirting soprano sax, Got Me Thinking has a super bass and drum beat that's hard not to clap along to, but Nathan's sax makes a much too short appearance. Mastermind appears to have the best blend of styles, starting with a groovy bass and drum sound that instantly converts to a cool funky jazz sound when Nathan's sax joins the fray.

The cool and groovy sound has been achieved with most of the inspiration and the backing beats supplied from friends Marc Mac (UK), and P-Money (NZ). But the highlights are clearly when you hear Nathan playing his saxophone's, which as mentioned appears to be not as prevalent as you would like, it's still very enjoyable and the music is fresh, modern and vibrant. It’s said that Nathan wanted to create an album representing his life in both the UK and New Zealand, which I can say he has achieved amazingly well, it’s also a blending of music that is surprising, with Nathan bringing woodwind back to modern R&B, a world now dominated by bass and synth, saxophone became a long forgotten instrument, to the point where it was thought it wouldn’t work in today’s layered electro synth laced dance beats, but thankfully Nathan has done an inspired job merging them as one, long live the saxophone.


About Nathan Haines

Nathan Haines is an internationally renowned saxophonist, composer, producer, bandleader and vocalist with a body of work in multiple styles stretching back for over two decades.

The eldest son of Jazz bassist Kevin Haines, Nathan was born into a very musical home on the North Shore of Auckland. Along with guitarist brother Joel Haines, the pair alongside their father were playing major international Jazz Festivals in New Zealand by the mid 80's.

Nathan left for studies in New York in 1991 which immersed him in the worlds of Jazz, Hip-Hop and Latin music, all of which were to become a big part in the bands he went on to later form, and influence the records he would make.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Nathan Haines


Shift Left Reissue
Year: 2019
Type: Album
5 A Day
Year: 2014
Type: Album
Vermillion Skies
Year: 2013
Type: Album
The Poet's Embrace
Year: 2012
Type: Album
Heaven And Earth
Year: 2010
Type: Album
Music For Cocktail Lovers
Year: 2008
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Right Now
Year: 2007
Type: Album
The Chillfunk Years
Year: 2006
Type: Album
Life Time
Year: 2005
Type: Album
Return Of The Squire For Hire
Year: 2004
Type: Album
Squire For Hire
Year: 2003
Type: Album
Sound Travels
Year: 2001
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Soundkilla Sessions 1
Year: 1996
Type: Album
Shift Left
Year: 1994
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape

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