Naked was Annie Whitehead's first album as a leader. Released in 1995, it disappeared with the demise of the record label FCZ. Voiceprint reissued it in late 2000 on its inprint La Cooka Ratcha, on the strength of the trombonist's success with the Soupsongs project (a tribute to Robert Wyatt). Naked was recorded with guitarist Ian Maidman and drummer Liam Genockey (both veterans of other Whitehead projects during the 1990s), plus keyboardist Jasper van't Hof and bassist Dudley Phillips. The music is mainly infectious jazz-funk fusion, with a funky rhythm section, advanced chord changes on the keyboard, and of course Whitehead's warm and round trombone sound taking center stage. Trombonists are seldom heard leading such music, so the originality factor plays a strong part in the interest of the album. All but two improvised tracks are Whitehead compositions. She tends to overstretch her ideas; most pieces are over the ten-minute mark while they could have very well fit in the five- to seven-minute range (but isn't overstretching a trademark of jazz-funk legend Maceo Parker?). The six-minute "Interspace Gal" constitutes the perfect example that Whitehead's writing is better when more concentrated. Nevertheless, when listened to while doing something else (house chores, eating dinner, etc.), Naked becomes a very enjoyable album, strong and radiating positive energy. It inevitably brings a smile to any cloudy day.
AllMusic Review by François Couture