Manchester jazz-funkers Secret Night Gang bring their bold self-titled debut album to Brownswood Recordings. Led by the soulful vocals of Kemani Anderson and featuring saxophonist Callum Connell’s pin-sharp orchestrations, Secret Night Gang is a joyful slice of summer-soul goodness that nods to the vibrant history of jazz-inflected soul, while reflecting today’s genre blending sensibilities in a heady mix of gospel, R&B, souljazz and more.
Manchester natives Anderson and Connell met aged seven playing football in Fallowfield, to the south of the city. After briefly losing touch during their teenage years, they reunited during high school music lessons, eventually forming a promising songwriting duo. All the while though, they kept their writing exploits under wraps.
The duo cut their teeth on Manchester’s lively jam scene – there they met the band’s original bassist, Stu Whitehead, forming a trio that jammed in an Old Trafford lockup under the cover of darkness. From there they got their name (“Stu’s son came home one day asking if he too could be in a Secret Night Gang”), and more exposure led to the acquisition of drummer Myke Wilson (Corinne Bailey Rae, 52nd Street) and producer/engineer Yvonne ‘D’Alchemiss’ Ellis. The core band now features long-time Wilson compatriot Juneroy on bass, and the Nile Rodgers-adjacent rhythm guitar work of Jack Duckham. Secret Night Gang also features guest appearances from a host of Manchester’s finest, with Mali Hayes and Doreen Edwards providing sumptuous backing vocals.
“We write open-ended tunes to let the listener find themselves in the music,” says Connell of the album’s aim. “But most of all, it’s not music to think to – it’s music to dance to.” With an upbeat positivity that’s impossible not to warm to, Secret Night Gang’s debut emerges from the shadows and into the summery light.
The debut self-titled album by Secret Night Gang will be available on CD and across all digital streaming platforms on October 22nd 2021, with the double A-side vinyl available in stores early December 2021 (January 2022 in the US territory).