Toph-E & The Pussycats: Live In Detroit (2006)
The members of this collective all come from an era featuring the rebirth of R&B and funk, and they term its musical sense "R&B-bop." There is no guitar present on the record, in order to acknowledge the jazz quartets and quintets of the past. The material is most eclectic, mingling the compositons of Duke Ellington and Miles Davis with originals by Richard Tee, Don Grolnick, and Gene McDaniels, plus two well-known tunes by Ralph MacDonald ("Just the Two of Us," "Mr.Magic").
The lively and unpretentious album was recorded live at the Detroit International Jazz Festival, which is held every Labor Day. If you've enjoyed the music of late-night talk show bands led by Paul Shaffer, Kevin Eubanks and Max Weinberg, this is exactly what Toph-E & The Pussycats have to offer. Duke Ellington's "Rockin' in Rhythm" is presented in a fairly straightfoward manner, and Will Lee includes a vocal. Chris Parker is the vocalist on the popular "Just The Two Of Us." The Miles Davis classic "All Blues" is given a Latinized touch, and the audience excitement (and participation) reaches a peak with "Compared to What," singing the chorus. The closer is a spirited version of Grover Washington, Jr.'s signature song, "Mister Magic."
Live In Detroit is not for all jazz enthusiasts, but in light of the good-times party atmosphere that Toph-E & The Pussycats provide, there should certainly be a place for them to make people happy.
Track Listing: Rockin' In Rhythm; Minky;Don't You Weep; Tee; Just the Two of Us; Human Bites; All Blues; Compared to What; Mister Magic.
Personnel: Clifford Carter: acoustic piano and synthesizer; Will Lee: bass, vocals, DigiTech vocalist; Ralph MacDonald: percussion; David Mann: tenor and soprano sax; Chris Parker: drums.
Record Label: M'Bubba Music