Cross The Brand New Heavies and Rickie Lee Jones, throw in the influence of classic 1970s soul and funk legends like The Average White Band, Rufus & Chaka Khan and Aretha Franklin, and you get blue number nine – a risk-taking, eclectic band whose songs are laid down with infectious energy. Let’s Find a Way is the New Jersey-based outfit’s fourth studio CD and was produced, engineered and mixed by lead vocalist/flutist Stefanie Seskin (who wrote most of the lyrics) and bassist Marco Accattatis (who handles most of the horn arrangements) in their own Concussion Studios. (blue number nine exclusively uses Ultimate Support stands.)
An album of many moods, Let’s Find a Way ranges from the fun and the humorous to the serious-minded. BN9’s social conscience is alive and well on “Wipe Out a World” (which examines the ways in which 21st Century technology is affecting people’s interactions), “On Our Way to You,” “Dance Away in the Dark” and the title song. But their more humorous and playful side asserts itself on “I’m Your Superflake,” “Sleepwalker” and the clever “Monster Man” (which uses references to horror movies to describe the decline of a romantic relationship). Seskin sings lead on all of the tracks except Accattatis’ “The Cats of Montrose,” a Latin-flavored instrumental that combines Afro-Cuban elements with jazz and funk and gives Seskin a chance to stretch out on the flute. Except for an inspired cover of Sly & the Family Stone’s late 1960s classic “Sing a Simple Song,” everything on Let’s Find a Way is a BN9 original.
Seskin founded BN9 in 1995, and by the time their self-titled debut album was released in 2000, their energetic live shows had earned them an enthusiastic following. BN9’s first album was followed by 2001’s Saving Spot (a live recording), 2003’s On a Shoestring and 2005’s Living It Up in the New World, all of which were released on Seskin’s own label, check other music. Reviewing the latter in The All Music Guide, music critic Alex Henderson wrote: “Anyone who has spent a lot of time savoring the retro-soul pleasures of The Brand New Heavies or SuperHoney is advised to give Living It Up in the New World a close listen.”
And a close listen is also warranted for Let’s Find a Way, which continues blue number nine’s soulful journey with passionate results.