The UK based octet Brass Mask was conceived in 2012 by reedsman Tom Challenger. Challenger, who very recently released the unique Wedding Music duo recording with Kit Downes (Loop Records, 2013), has plied his trade with the likes of Django Bates and many of the young improvisers that make up the progressive Loop Collective. On Spy Boy, he has assembled a cutting edge group whose interplay makes for a mesmerizing blend of compositions influenced as much by New Orleans as by the avant-garde. Onnellinen" opens at a loping pace before the intensifying horns ratchet up the energy ...read more
It is somewhat rare to encounter a brass band in modern jazz these days, but saxophonist and composer Tom Challenger's octet, Brass Mask, is an intriguing example of a brass driven band. The eclectic nature of the band is underlined by the cover of the album: Spy Boy, which suggests the contours of a man holding a saxophone surrounded by a rainbow of feathers. The music is just as sprawling and colorful as the cover and the opening composition Onnellinen" immediately grabs the intention with an irresistible melody with humorous saxophone hiccups and tuba-player Theon Cross getting ...read more
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