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A far cry from being confused with a famous Nikki and his book of Dirt, Nikka Costa finally debuts stateside with her Virgin release and it’s a real dirty pleasure.
Want a mental taste? Take the sexual vocal passion of earlyTina Turner, the delivery ofJanis Joplinand mix it with the modern day soul of Lauryn Hill and the funk-junk swagger ofLenny Kravitzand you’ll have a hint of how Everybody Got Their Something will grab a hold of you. Nikka might very well Kikka herself a space alongside current contemporaries Nelly Furtado, Macy Gray and Jill Scott during her ascension.
While Everybody Got Their Something, what Ms. Costa has is plenty of vocal depth. This is evidenced throughout, from the bass popping / hand clapping jazz-funk on “Like a Feather” to the silky melody which coats “So Have I For You” (co-written by Adam Horvitz and Adam Yauch of theBeastie Boysand on which ?uestlove from the hip hop band The Roots guests on drums) to a full-on vocal belt whipping on “Tug of War” (Xavier Cugat gets a co-write), a vocal tour-de-force straddling between upper echelon power and pain-as-pleasure shrieking.
She realizes this and smoothes the vocal pace out on the title cut which shows that Nikka’s sexy voice is slow andThikka as MO-lasses!The rest of the CD is ripe with theatrical fervish but it’s the sultry final track that makes me look forward to her next record. "Corners of My Mind" features Nikka on a Rhodes (and if you’re gonna play a Rhodes, you might as well have a melody written by the legendaryJoe Zawinul) and she evocatively invites you inside...
Meet me in the stillness Away from all this madness I’ll give you a piece of me If you’ll give me a moment To let you into the corners of my mind
Speaking of corners, Nikka has allies in all corners as she is the daughter ofDon Costa, producer for the likes of Paul Anka, Tony Bennett, and even Ol' Blue Eyes. In fact, Frank Sinatra is Costa's Godfather... Everybody Got Their Something but Nikka got a lil more than most.
But can she make you want her when not protected by the tweaks of studio knobs and studio hob-knobs. Nikka will not go quietly AND will Stikka in your mind. She nearly, literally, knocked ‘em dead at a recent appearance at the end of April at the annual Coachella Music Festival in the southern Californian desert just outside of Palm Springs. On the same bill as Virgin Records cohorts Perry Farrell (fronting a reunited Jane’s Addiction), Chemical Bros, Fatboy Slim andGuru's jazz-rap outfit Gangstarr, media darling little Nikka hit the stage at three in the afternoon. Though the temperature was a sweltering, dehydrating100+ degrees, the heat radiating from her body was far more furious and her performance was a welcome reprieve from the blistering heat which made spectators fraught with thirst. This only became a problem because the festival’s organizers planned poorly. It’s in the frickin’ desert...HELLO...the concessions shouldn’t have EVER run out of water. This fact and lack of ample trash receptacles marred a near perfect day-long musical journey.
So, consider what I’ve just expressed to you and make the choice with me. Nikka gets a Pikka for one of the best newcomers of 2001...now only if I were a publisher?
Track Listing: Like A Feather / So Have I For You / Tug of War / Everybody Got Their Something / Nothing / Nikka What? / Hope It Felt Good / Some Kind Of Beautiful / Nikka Who? / Just Because / Push & Pull / Corners Of My Mind
Personnel: Nikka Costa (vocals, Rhodes, Wurlitzer, acoustic guitar) / Justin Stanley (bass and guitars) / Mark Ronson (guitar) / Printz Board (trumpet and horn arrangements) / ?uestlove (drums)/ Pino Palladino (bass) / Tim Izo (saxophone) / Richard Dodd (cello)/ James Poyser (clavinet)
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.