The last album Kalima released on Factory came at a time when they had a fair amount of respect and attention among the U.K. acid jazz scene but almost nobody else noticed precisely for that reason. Unfair perhaps, though given the tiresomely hipper-than-thou/"real music" emphasis of that subculture, all too understandable. Thankfully, Kalima always gave an indication of living more in the present than an overly reverent past, and Feeling Fine maintains the gentle tension between rhythmic activity and carefully restrained moodiness that defined the group since the Swamp Children days. Opening track "Shine," easily the stellar standout on the album, captures this perfectly, initial wind notes shifting into a funky-as-hell workout, while Ann Quigley's voice whispers in the mix like a ghost slipping between the beats. The rhythm section of Warren Sharples on bass and Andy Boothman and Iain Alexander Kelly on percussion and drums is excellent throughout, bubbling and warm at points, then focused and darker at others (consider the cool, forceful funk crawl of "Take It Easy" or the gentler late-night bossa nova swing of "All the Way Through"), but in ways the core of the band at this point might be guitarist John Kirkham. The seemingly effortless fluidity on songs like "A Thousand Signs" and the brief "Azure" (especially when a bit of reverb is introduced) shows he truly is a great rhythm player to match the rhythm section, providing the bed for flights of fancy by saxophonist and other core member Tony Quigley. Flutist/pianist Bernard Moss gets some moments of flash, as does sax player Matthew Taylor, if both in slightly more conventional ways. The LTM re-release includes two contemporary remixes of "Shine" by Gilles Peterson and Tim Oliver, along with the expected exhaustive liner notes and photographs.
Feeling Fine Review
by Ned Raggett