July 17th 2003
…Darius Brubeck and Afro Cool Concept – Still on My Mind
Is that a name to conjure with or what?
South Africa’s Sheer Sound Records delivers another world-class
set of performances. From
the start, Barney Rachabane’s sax burns – particularly on the bluesy
Jeep’s Blues and Georgia on my Mind.
You’ll feel the Johannesburg sunshine on the
loose and kinda funky Hosh and on the grander Tugela Rail
where Brubeck’s piano is mellow and melodic.
Years Ago is deeply romantic and old-fashioned – the
clue’s in the title folks!
As a very young boy, I already knew that Take Five was “different” music and as I get lost in ACC’s 9-minute version I still feel the same. There’s blissed-out piano reminiscent of Lonnie Liston Smith and, yes, there’s a drum solo. Are you intrigued? Well, let me ask you how many jazz groups can say that they had the honour of using a beautiful composition by the King of Thailand as their title track. This is special!
– Songs for our Grandchildren
Here are more shades of the multi-faceted
music we call jazz on another Sheer Sound release from 2003.
The opener, Kippie Morolong Moeketsie’s Scullery Department
has a lovely West Coast swing and a great sax and trumpet interplay.
I instinctively feel I’ve heard this before – it’s that
kind of song. Sydney
Mnisi’s alto sax brings tears to the eyes on Ida, a song for
his late mother. I’m
trying to find an appropriate description and the word “classic”
keeps coming to mind.
You are the Way
could have been played by Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker because the horn
lines intertwine effortlessly. Trumpeter
Marcus Wyatt’s The Promise is a long, slow and exotic song that
draws you in. On a good
stereo, this recording is so three-dimensional, you’re in the
#18 St. Mary’s
is the second song for Mrs Ida Mnisi – its frantic energy echoes the
frantic visits made to her at the hospital which gives the track its
name. The horn lines are
insanely tight and the acoustic bass, drums and piano are there every
step of the way. The album
ends on a very “up” note. Mnisi’s
jaunty Syd’s Dilemma just makes me smile.
That muted trumpet and the almost vocal quality of the upright
bass in the higher registers is the stuff of memorable jazz gigs.
Engineer Peter Pearlson will make you feel like
you’re there – and you’ll be glad you are. If you look around this site, you’ll see that we’re
falling for South African jazz in a big way – maybe it’s time you
lent an ear.
My Hand - Music for Weddings - by various artists on the Light Records
It’s summer – the wedding season’s in
full swing and this 2-CD set celebrates it in true R&B style.
Claudius Craig’s Always sets the tone
– slow, heavy bass and a head-nodding beat.
The lyrics are easy to learn, which is a definite plus for a
wedding song. They’re
reproduced in the liner notes anyway.
The romance and drama step up a gear with Whispers of my Heart
by gospel star Daryl Coley. I’ve
not heard him before but he’s a real vocal stylist.
One classy production.
Lisa Shipman lends a sweet and unique vocal
style to the pretty Only You which – dare I say this – has a
subtle country feel. The
acoustic guitar adds a great touch.
There’s real soul on Desmond Pringle’s Covenant of Love.
This song would not be out of place on a Luther Vandross album
and it sounds like Desmond has listened to lots of Luther’s records
– but who hasn’t? This
is streets ahead of the plastic, mass-market dross I hear so much
of. Did Pringle make a solo album?
Someone send me a copy – please.
Kloud 9 weigh in with the sexy, sexy, sexy Everything
About this Love. Sexy,
bass, sexy keyboards, sexy vocal. That
chord progression is not original – like I care!
Think you can sing as well as the artists on
Disc 1? Load Disc 2 for the
“performance tracks” and grab the mike then.
Y’see those printed lyrics are there for a reason.
The last two tracks are slightly overblown organ renditions of
the entry and exit sections of the Wedding March – c’mon
it’s a wedding album after all.
It’s a very original and appealing package
and if your guests like R&B, lots of toes will be tapping on your
by Donald Byrd
Thank you Blue Note! This
classic example of that big BN sound kicks as hard today as it did in
1976 when it was first released.
Trumpeter Byrd had got seriously funky by
the mid-70’s and Dance Band is an infectious dancer that never
lets up. Wild Life,
with a standout female vocal, is a great piece of social commentary, as
is the strutting title track. Back
to flat-out groove with Science Funktion.
This song features insane keyboard work by the up-and-coming
Patrice Rushen and the toughest, most audacious one-note bassline I’ve
ever heard. Wild!
Dancing in the Street
is not an obvious choice among all the original material but Mildred
Lane’s vocal is strong and it’s a party – it works! No other label had an identity like Blue Note in the
‘70’s. The chanting Return
of the Kings and the soaring and inspirational Onward ’Til
Morning are perfect examples of the sound.
I’ve always loved it – I still love it.
Wade Marcus’s arrangements just do not fade with time.
Byrd does a bit of a Barry White rap on the closer Tell Me
– his gravelly voice is appealing enough, but his trumpet is magical.
Say thanks to Blue Note – make me happy –