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Some great shots from Nicolay with The Hot At Nights live at the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City, courtesy of Diallo French.
Some photos of the recent Toronto performance by Nicolay with The Hot At Nights, courtesy of our friends at Bad Perm.
Continue reading Nicolay with The Hot At Nights in Toronto
The crowd at Lola made sure he knew how much St. Louis loves his work and his passion. Every table in the downtown club was reserved well in advance, and the bar was full long before the music started as the staff tried to accommodate the quickly growing crowd, buzzing with stories and expectations for the night's show.
Nicolay, born Matthijs Rook, started his life and much of his musical career in the Netherlands, playing with a variety of relatively-unknown bands starting in his youth. As his delight for music blossomed, he developed as a multi-instrumentalist and started composing and producing his own work. In a testament to the global community created by the Internet, an online forum brought him together with Phonte Cole, a talented emcee with the hip-hop act, Little Brother (with 9th Wonder and Big Pooh), and the Foreign Exchange was born.
Dutch producer, Nicolay, probably most loved for his work as part of The Foreign Exchange alongside North Carolina rapper, Phonte, has built a reputation as a real favorite for the hip hop and jazz aficionados kicking it amongst us. As usual when I attend a show there, the host at Thursday's show asked the audience how many of them had never been to the Blue Room before. I could guess that it's at shows like this in which a scheduled performer mixes hip hop into their jazz set or is known for hip hop work, where the Blue Room tends to see a lot of unfamiliar faces under their roof at the corner of 18th & Vine. I can specifically remember Reach, Izmore and Diverse's live hip hop tribute shows at The Blue Room wherein what seemed like nearly half of the crowd raised their hands to note their first time to the venue. Nicolay's clout for warm, relaxed beats injected the Blue Room in the historic 18th & Vine Jazz District in Kansas City, MO on Thursday with a shot of new faces. And unfortunately, a lot of Kansas City music heads probably missed out on this event. I went to the show after hearing about it for the first time on the day of.
Now there was no elaborate set, pyrotechnics or even any singers, there were four extremely talented musicians. That's correct it was a performance of instrumentals! Nicolay (synth/keyboards), Matt Douglas (saxophone/woodwinds), Chris Boerner (8-string guitar) and Nick Baglio (drums), walked on stage, as if they were invited up at an open mic. They sat down at their particular instrument, Nicolay did a brief intro and they dived straight into the music. I should have asked for a set list, but the second track they performed was BANANAS! I honestly think I got whiplash from nodding my head so profusely! The instrumentation on that track was incredible and flawless. It was definitely that feel good music, the type that makes you close your eyes and meditate on the vibes. I was once again in a zone, enjoying every musical note and eager for more. The next track was off of the collaborative album between Nicolay and Raleigh, North Carolina-based jazz trio The Hot At Nights, The Shibuya Session EP, "The Inner Garden", which just further engaged the audience. At this time, Nicolay decided to treat us to a revised version of Foreign Exchange's "Happiness" off their 2004 album Connected. What a beautiful revision to an already classic track, most enjoyable. The track "Bullet Train" was quick, literally the speed of a bullet, nonetheless one of the most appealing tracks they performed.
Continue reading Nicolay and The Hot At Nights deliver a memorable performance in Toronto (via Bad Perm)
Nicolay Shows Off His Jazzy Side on North American Tour, Talks New Foreign Exchange Album (via Exclaim.ca)
The tour, which makes its lone Canadian stop in Toronto on Thursday (July 5), is something that's been a long time coming, the Foreign Exchange member notes. The show will see Nicolay and the Hot at Nights perform jazzy interpretations and arrangements of his instrumental compositions from his City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya project.
"Toronto has always been great. When we were doing the tour and I knew we were going up north, I really wanted to include Toronto in the plans," the North Carolina-based Nicolay says. "I feel like Toronto is a very open-minded city and people are definitely ready for something that is a little bit off the beaten path."
Continue reading Nicolay Shows Off His Jazzy Side on North American Tour, Talks New Foreign Exchange Album (via Exclaim.ca)
Hip-Hop Producer Nicolay Showcases Jazzy Interpretations in Detroit With The Hot At Nights (via Huffington Post Detroit)
One said side project would be Shibuya Session, a collaborative effort between Nicolay and a fellow Raleigh, North Carolina-based jazz trio The Hot At Nights, led by eight-string guitar virtuoso Chris Boerner, along with Matt Douglas on saxaphone/woodwinds and Nick Baglio on the drums.
Continue reading Hip-Hop Producer Nicolay Showcases Jazzy Interpretations in Detroit With The Hot At Nights (via Huffington Post Detroit)
We spoke with Nic about the fast and furious recording process he endured to complete The Shibuya EP, his love for Harold's Chicken, feuding with iTunes, and when the next Foreign Exchange album is coming out.