The Brand New Heavies were labeled as heavy players on the London Acid Jazz scene of the ’90’s by Black music impresario Gilles Peterson. Their feverish quest for the essence of American soul, dance and jazz styles of the ’60’s and ’70’s with live playing made them immediately prized by hipsters and bohemians. The vim and soul of Atlanta born N’dea Davenport’s vocals are an identifying component of the band despite the past presence of singers Jay Ella Ruth who was their first vocalist and Siedah Garrett, Carleen Anderson, Nicole Russo and Sy Smith who all came after Davenport. “Stay This Way” is from their first album which also has the favored “Never Stop” and “Dream Come True.” There are plenty of nice dance remixes of their catalog with the Siedah Garrett lead “Sometimes” being a big club song in the late ’90s. Heavy Rhyme Experience Vol.1 was a successful take of a funk band with various rappers.
Davenport left the band for a while and released a striking solo album in ’98 that was produced by Dallas Austin. She rejoined the band in ’06 to record Get Used To It. Still funking and touring the band will play the Essence Music Festival’s 15th Anniversary lineup this year.