The One & Nines
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The One & Nines

Jersey City, New Jersey, United States

Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
Band Blues Soul


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"EP Review - Lucid Culture"

CD Review: The One and Nines
January 23, 2010 · 2 Comments

If you love oldschool soul music, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings or Eli “Paperboy” Reed, you will love the One and Nines – they are the real deal. With piano, organ, horns, understatedly gorgeous guitar, a slinky rhythm section and the warmly irresistible, heartfelt vocals of frontwoman Vera Sousa, the vibe is totally mid-60s. If the band had existed when John Waters did Hairspray, this album would have been the logical choice for the movie soundtrack.

The album kicks off with Walked Alone, a gorgeously catchy, upbeat tune straight out of Memphis, 1968 with big honking baritone sax. Sousa shows off an effortlessly bright, soaring, unselfconscious style in the vein of 1960s soul icon Bettye Swann while the guitar and bass soar just in the right places. The second track, Wait is a longing, insistent 6/8 ballad like Sharon Jones in a particularly vulnerable moment - horns rise out of the end of the verse, then it’s just tremolo organ and Sousa’s sweet voice.

“You say I look like I’m always bored, but are you just speaking for yourself?” Sousa asserts gently but insistently in Something on Your Mind, backed by gently incisive guitar and a Willie Mitchell-inspired horn chart. Just Your Fool is a duet, one of the guys joining with Sousa’s fetching harmonies for a pre-Motown vibe, from right around the time doo-wop started to morph into something more interesting. The band follows Sousa as she builds intensity on Anything You Got, a psychedelic soul groove with organ and then Steve Cropper-esque guitar, finally fading out with soulful muted trumpet over the band’s shuffling rhythm. Guitar finally takes centerstage, if only for a few moments on the bright, bouncy horn-driven Tears Fall. The secret bonus track, an alternate take of Just Your Fool, might have the best vocals on the whole album. All of these songs would have been hits in the 60s – or some hardcore soul fan would be rediscovering them right about now and trying to get the surviving members of the band back together, that’s how good this is. Mixed by Hugh Pool at Excello and mastered by Fred Kevorkian, the production has the feel of an old vinyl record, vocals up front, drums back where they need to be. Even better news is that the band’s got a 7? vinyl single coming out hot on the heels of the album - get your 45 adapters ready. Watch this space for NY-area live dates. - Lucid Culture

"One & Nines on Soul-Sides"
posted by O.W. 1/31/10

This soul band out of New Jersey (no Jersey Shore jokes, please) contacted me over winter break and I really dug this one song off their new EP. Reminds me of that Noisettes song I posted last year in general sound but sans the rock elements. The arrangement here is done with smart subtly - the song doesn't try to force an overly aggressive crescendo; it's content with maintaining a slow burn that sparks towards the end without ever departing too far from the core, Southern Soul aesthetics that make this such an appealing tune. (Excellent use of back-up singers too - this isn't nearly as acknowledged as it should be.) -

"EP Review - Dislocations"

By - Time Herrick

The One & Nines are Jersey City’s best Soul band. Okay, maybe that’s not a very crowded category, and that category doesn’t get much more populated if you remove the J.C. qualifier. Best Indie Soul Band currently unsigned by a major labor? Whatever the case, I would argue both are true.

On their self-titled, first C.D.—a collection of seven songs that is being called an EP—they revive the classic soul music soul. I caught them at the last Groove on Grove of 09, a searing and raucous set of Soul, R&B and Rock & Roll. They are fun and they have excellent musical chops. They are not just a bunch of precocious young adults playing requests at a Bah Mitzvah—they play with feeling and exhibit a real, awe-inspiring sincerity about this music. According to Band Leader Jeff Marino, WGBO’s Soul Revue played one of their cuts a few weeks back. I can think of no better certificate of authentication, not to mention benediction for acceptance as the real deal.

The One and Nines on the EP are, in addition to Marino who plays guitar – Vera Sousa – Singer, Alex Tyshkov – Bass, Will Hansen - Piano, Organ, Fender Rhodes, Ken Walz –Drums, Barami Waspe –Tenor Sax, Matt Maley – Baritone Sax., RJ Avallone – Trumpet, Craig Redmond – Percussion, Jodi Mozeika – Cello on 'Just Your Fool'.

Marino says he’s "...been listening to Rhythm Revue for as long as I can remember and learned a great deal of what I know from that. I've been playing since I was 11 or 12 and wanting to play and studying this music in my own way for as long as I can remember, Vera has been singing as long as she can remember.......Vera and the bass player Alex have had a group together called Kiwi The Child for 8 or 9 years, they do sort of an eclectic roots reggae kind of thing. The One & Nines came together a little over two years ago when a few us learned some rhythm & blues songs for a 'soul' party and it was good so it stuck."

It’s still sticking, resulting in genuine sounding—according to me & WGBO!—soul music. It’s a marvel, they tap into a sound with honest appreciation and a refreshing musical confidence. On the first listen I would swear it was a reissue, not new material made by Gen Yers.

For Marino, the commitment went beyond just learning R&B chords, but recreating as close as possible the old school recording process used at Stax and Muscle Shoals—Analog: "The analog recording process should be important to any music. It is much more physical and you are much more connected to what you are doing, rewinding and playing the tape etc. It forces you to make decisions on the spot, there is a certain sense of improvisation that is forced by recording live and to tape. That's what a 'record' is, you are recording a moment."

Marino wrote all the songs, but a credit on the cover interested me—horn arrangements by the One & Nines. "In many ways yes the arrangements are an extension of the song writer but I stated 'arranged by the One and Nines' because the songs would not be what they are on this record if it weren't for the band. The way these were done is I basically came to the band with the songs at 75 percent, how they ended up on the record came from the process of us playing over and over for a couple months and trying different things here and there. That 15 percent makes all the difference."

What makes all the difference though between playing soul music and playing a cover of a soul song is group discovery. Musicians coming together, forming a cohesive unit where the sum is greater than the parts. Arrangements for Rock & Roll songs are simple, but simple is a misleading term and really is meant to explain that a smaller combination of instruments are used—not a 100 piece orchestra.

A songwriter brings in a song, sometimes a demo recording and the musicians find the song—sometimes, like the Grateful Dead—they’ll trot out songs to find them before laying down a studio track (sometimes the Dead would then forego the studio and just release the live version). I use the term find the song from the acrimonious though fascinating autobiography by Levon Helm, "This Wheel’s On Fire." The famous Feud between Robertson and Helm has to do with song writing royalties, most of which go to Robertson and Helm’s basic claim is that arrangements of those great Band songs was what made the songs—and he and his Canadian brethren worked through the arrangements and found the song. Copyright and other Legal issues aside, I’ve always loved the term found the song and I sometimes want to argue that the caliber of expressing the relationship between the finding and the arranging is what makes some of the songs of some bands GREAT.

Robertson has never denied that the arrangements of his songs were a group effort. You rarely see an arrangement credit for classic albums of the 50s or 60s (or now either), and I suspect that Booker T. & the MGs found those great arrangements by playing—unlike Motown, the Stax studio musicians toured extensively with the Otis, Rufus, Carla et al—and through studio rehearsals.

The point of my speculation is not the nature of arranging R&B, but the group effort involved. That 15 percent Marino refers to, Ladies & Gentlemen of the Jury, is another piece of evidence supporting my contention that a bona fide, genuine, fantastic R&B band has popped up in Hudson County, New Jersey. Right here, right now in the 21st Century.

"I Walked Alone" opens the C.D., a snaky, vertebrae grabbing groove of a hook—Soul Pop—sounds straight out of Stax, with a organ and guitar mash up crescendo, a flourish of horns and than one of the best endings I’ve ever heard. True to their dedication to the retro, this cut has a hand clap track embedded in the rhythm section and it works damn well, but this astute sonic choice gets subverted at the end. On the final note—the final hand clap if you will—the claps suddenly shatter into applause, a moment I find delightful and funny, gleefully anticipating it every listen. I get the feeling that they however seriously they take the music, they aren’t too serious that they overlook the fact that what makes Soul Music worth reviving is the FUN!

"Wait" is a ballad, with a James Brown horn blast opening. with Vera’s vocals pleading, "wait for me." Her voice reminds me of Grace Slick, she has tremendous range, robust and full then sweet and high. Her voice has an endearing clarity. She’s warm, emotional here but the voice has a confidence and self assurance that might have eluded some of the classic Divas of the genre, who sometimes, especially to contemporary ears, might sound something of a victim (or ultra-obvious non-vicitm, i.e., R-E-S-P-E-C-T). Vera has a voice for our age—empowered, honest, confident and smart—"Wait for Me, Don’t you go running out my door. I can’t keep chasin you no more." The song depicts how a simple moment can reveal the end of a love—one member of the couple is leaving the dwelling before the other, and with a total lack of self pity, Vera sings, "you’ve been telling me lies." It’s a slice of life tale, and when she sings, "Wait," something is dawning on her—is she asking to wait for her, or requesting he wait so she can say goodbye? "I can’t keep on chasing you, no more," Vera wails emotionally to baleful horns as the song fades out.

"Something On Your Mind" slyly opens with the vocal and simple guitar plucking, a tease into a ballad that explores the age-old dilemma about love—intimacy is not telepathy. "If my attitude has changed, I don’t feel anything new/you say I look like I’m always bored, but are you just speaking for yourself." The singer keeps adding, "I think something is on your mind, but not on mine." The One & Nines have plain spokeness aspect to the lyrics—they sound like conversations every body has. This song also features a classic soul horn riff, and has that ying/yang, teasing a soft prelude that evolves into a full-band burst of drama.

"Anything You Got" is the edgier song, the narrator is more desperate —"Sometimes I’m up all night thinking of what to do, then I dream of something else but nothing new." The group builds a blues-jam feel into the song—while the main hook is a searing guitar lick, the first break there’s just a funky bass with tom-tom drums. The next break the horn section wails full throttle. "I’ll stop what I’m doing just to be with you," she sings—Vera really gives a great vocal here, at times nearly channeling Janis Joplin. It’s an angrier song than the others. The lyrics are about those times in a relationship—well, some relationships—where you play the victim because love doesn’t leave you any other choice—that is, if you still want love. You’re in a position that you both do and don’t want to be in—willing to take whatever your loved one dishes out. A fitting lyrical setting for a blues jam—not that they jam out, the songs are terse and less than three minutes—but this one has that feel that it could be a jam and the musicians reveal the talent to sustain a longer burst of improvisation. The song ends with the final break of a wrenching, noir-ish saxophone. That sax has been listening to the guitar lick and the singer, responding in kind.

In addition to two versions of Just Your Fool—the only duet between Marino & Verga—Tears Fall ends this sampling of songs, a full-tilt, Stax boogie.

I suggest going to their Facebook and MySpace pages to find out where to buy the EP. Better yet, find out where they’re playing next and catch the gig. I love classic soul and Rhythm & Blues, but these cats are more than a tribute band—hell, if that’s what they were only about they wouldn’t bother with writing new material. Soul and R&B are integral to rock and roll—Elvis covered Ray Charles, Jerry Garcia covered Smokey Robinson, Springsteen covered Sam & Dave. Shoot, you don’t need me to tell you that—that’s why the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame exists.

But thankfully, the One & Nines have liberated Soul and Rhythm & Blues from the museums and reissues and oldies stations. They have made it new, again—without sacrificing authenticity. I love Soul because it’s about love—lust, heartbreak, doubt, trust & mistrust—but Love nonetheless. "It always seemed so incredible to me that there was a time in this world when stuff like this was on the Top 40," says Marino. "The main inspiration is just American music really. We are attempting to draw from the great songs whatever it was that made them great and keep it moving along. I am not interested in any kind of revival fad that's going around. We just want it to be good music, simple as that." - Dislocations - Tim Herrick

"One & Nines @ Groove on Grove"

by Zac Clark

The rain lightened to a sprinkle as the One & Nines began playing. I’ve seen them now something like 6 or 7 times, and I get a little excited each time. Vera’s peerless voice coupled with the rest of the band’s one-of-a-kind style proves that Jersey City’s local music scene is much more than a one trick pony. Will Hansen’s keyboard tactics (yes, the man is a keyboard tactician) betrayed this showman’s calm demeanor. Jeff Marino rocks the guitar and acts as a foil to Vera’s lyrical musings. Alex Tyshkov brings a taste of funk with his bass to this Motown-inspired band. Barami Waspe tones in with some solid sax action, while Ken Walz reigns down a little fire and brimstone on the drums in conjunction with both the band and the storm. Giving the crowd a quick glance, it seems that the music beat out the rain as the area underneath the tent soon reached capacity
- Jersey City Independent

"One & Nines @ Automata Chino"

This Friday I once again ventured out to I.M.A.C. to see the One and the Nines and McMickle Bros. play.............

(First) up was Kiwi the Child a side Project of the One and Nines' Bassist (Alex Tyshkov) and Vocalist (Vera Sousa). My only question I'd asked myself upon first hearing about K.t.C. would have been, "With such a distinctive sounding band, why did you feel the need for a side project?" In my experience with bands the side project band is almost always a watered down version of the original band or some kind of in-joke or cover band. It's obvious that sideshow buffoonery was about the last thing I could use to describe K.t.C.. TOTALLY DIFFERENT SOUND! If One and the Nines are Wilson Pickett meets Roy Orbison with the vocal style of Patty Labelle then Kiwi the Child is Bradley Nowell and Gwen Stefani (pre-solo career, of course) with the Wailers backing it all up. Actually HOLD IT! That's not fair! Both of these bands have their own distinct sound, comparing them to other widely known acts is only one of two ways I know to give you a clue of what they sound like. The other much more complete way is for you to see their videos. That tells the real story. I can chatter all day and night about what I think a band sounds like or what their influences are but the real proof is in the pudding...... pudding brought to you via Youtube!

So after K.t.C.'s set The rest of the One and Nines stepped up to the plate. I had been so busy taking pictures and chatting with various bands that I had totally neglected my beer. Missy let me know, with a disapproving shake of the head as she ordered another. I was not to be out drank during a show, or out classed as it were. I took down my now hose water warm 12oz and promptly ordered another.

So as I was saying, The One and Nines were on! I've seen them play about 4-5 times now. Its a funny thing becoming a "music writer" does to you. You start to really listen to the bands and you really analyze what they sound like, the nuances of each song, what the bands trying to convey. I guess what I'm trying to say is the last few times I've hear them play I must not have been paying enough attention or maybe I was too shit-faced to realize. Fuck, these guys really bring it to the table. Vera channels this sort of Motown Diva Vibe that's so genuine you wouldn't think that sound could come out of a white girl. Will Hansen (Keys) busts out a sound that is some where between blues and western switching from piano to organ, and back again. Jeff Marino (guitar) strums and plays tangentially to Alex's bass while they both support Vera vocally. Did I mention there was a sax player? Barami Waspe might as well been born with that brass in his mouth the way he made it whine! Ken Walz (drums) pounds out beats that work like a glue to hold it all together. The whole thing is rather genius to me. I have to admit I can barely play the guitar and my bass skills are rudimentary at the very best. So, when I see a band that really puts together the big picture so seamlessly, it gives me goosebumps! They finished up their set. Of Course the crowd wasn't just gonna let them get away that easy! "ENCORE! PLAY ONE MORE!" With a veritable riot on their hands otherwise they really had no choice but to Rock out a little longer! Who was I to complain? NOBODY! (that's right haters I beat you to it!)

- Zac Clark

"One & Nines @ Groove on Grove '09"

The One & Nines. What a great name for a band from New Jersey. Caught their set at Groove on Grove, the last one of the year, last one of the season on the last day of September. The chilly breeze made early Autumn feel like early winter.

I couldn’t believe what I heard. The band ran through several STAX influenced numbers and a few actual covers—it’s hard to keep all those Carla Thomas song titles straight but they were in there for sure—and the female lead singer, a raven haired beauty, playing tamborine with a voice that was rich and brassy like the best of the shouters but also smooth, articulate, easily slipping up into and down from high notes like, well... Carla (who note for note is the equal to Aretha voice-wise and Aretha would agree).

It’s called Soul music ladies and genetlemen of the jury, and it’s not the kind of thing you hear a lot of these days on the so called soul and R&B stations. The One & Nines follow a tradition that has been sadly forgotten by too many, applying their considerable talent with style, enthusiam and dedication. Pre-Janis Soul, pre-Clinton Funk.

The bassist and guitarist were Dunn & Cropper reborn. Sax & keyboard were spot-on. The band could lay down a groove like Booker T & the MGs in their hey-day. Holy cow, a review—or is that, revue! Good thing it was cold, because this kind of music heads to your heart and soul via your hips, vertebrae and hands. You must shimmy, you must clap, you must shake. It makes you want to move! It makes you NEED to move!

We are talking unadulerated Gut Bucket and I could not believe I was hearing it above the Mason Dixon line, thousand of miles away from the Delta or Memphis or the Big Easy, much less at Grove Street by what what seemed like a bunch of kids from the Garden State two generations removed from the progenitors of this hallowed sound. They did the music justice.

I’m bad with the titles on this post, and what I believe were originals among the set list, which were based on the aforementioned musical traditions, fit in well with a tastly selection of obscure masterpieces. One song about Walking in My Sleep was particuarlly moving, I think it was an original. What a miracle, to hear this bueatiful, timeless music, played so well and genuinely.

Then, just as I was ready to kneel in thanksgiving, the soul of STAX was transformed into this truly awesome, kick out the jambs, version of Chuck Berry’s 30 Days. Rocked Out Totally. I thought the arrangement was closer to the Ronnie Hawkins version. The Hawk, in my opinion, does the best version of this under-played Berry anthem. I chatted with the band’s guitarist, who confirmed my impression, and turns out, is a Hawkins afficianodo. The Sax player and keyboard player took some searing solos during the Berry romp. From STAX to pure Rock & Roll, not that easy to manage and back then, unheard of (a few of the great 60s bands might have pulled it off).

The One & Nines deftly navigated these shores of the deep, muddy river of American music with a high-level of musicianship and a ragged edge that enchanced the authenticity and genuine appreciation of the tradition they intently revived. The crowd cheered as the autumn teetered towards icy, but the One & Nines formed a hermetically sealed dome around the stage and we were in a back roads juke joint with a broken air conditioner and moonshine whiskey, sweaty and joyously dancing to songs about love—fullfillment, lust & heart break to be sure—but love, nonetheless. They aren’t just students of this material, they aren’t just well-versed in the nuances of these songs. They FEEL this music. THESE CATS CAN PLAY!!! - Dislocations - Tim Herrick

"EP Review - Sound Citizen"

EP Review: The One & Nines

Looking for an alternative to alternative music? Check out Jersey City’s The One & Nines. It’s decidedly retro … but thoroughly fresh and absolutely unique. Take some 50’s jazz with some 60’s blues and soul, and throw in some early-era rock and roll. There’s horns, organs, understated guitar and smooth vocals, and it all comes together seamlessly.
A particular favorite is the lead track from their EP, “Walked Alone.” Also, have a listen to “Something On Your Mind,” with its groovy undertones, soulful backup singers and honest lyrics:
Your love’s been fading since you opened up your door,
That’s been such a long time now.
I think something is on your mind,
But not on mine.
Vera Sousa heads up the vocals and, if you didn’t know better, you’d swear she was from an era past. The One & Nines are an easy listen that will leave you with a smile on your face and perhaps a longing for simpler times. Hosting a party any time soon? Add this to your playlist. The One & Nines will undoubtedly get people asking questions and admiring your versatile ear. As an added bonus, I suspect the ladies will dig it, even shake a leg. At least, groovy ladies - Sound Citizen


The One & Nines EP (2009)



The One & Nines are a rhythm & blues band based out of Jersey City NJ. The band’s style and influences come from a wide range of American music, but what is most apparent is the sound of the great rock & roll and soul music of the 50’s & 60’s. The band takes many of it’s cues from artists such as Otis Redding, Bo Diddley, and Irma Thomas, to name only a few, but brings that sound to the current times with class and excitement. They use the music that came before not as retro-shtick but as a vehicle to communicate their own messages. The bands repertoire is a combination of original music and their versions of half-forgotten blues and soul classics.

As of late 2009, the band has completed their first self-produced EP and 7" single that are now available. A second 7" vinyl is being released in Summer 2010 through Brooklyn indie-label Cotter Records. Songs from the EP and 7" have recently received airplay on WEVL 89.9FM's Soul Stew out of Memphis, WFDU's On The Record out of Fairly Dickensen University, and Felix Hernandez' legendary Rhythm Revue show on WBGO 88.3FM out of Newark, NJ.

They currently perform several times per month in the Northern New Jersey / New York area. The shows are built from that raw, in-the-moment rock & roll energy and gospel-soul spirit that make a performance memorable. Because of this they have been steadily building a buzz throughout the small clubs and bars they regularly perform at.

The members of the band have known each other and played together for many years before this project began. And they have listened to, loved, and studied the rhythm & blues music they play for most of their lives.