216

Malachi Thompson & Africa Brass: Blue Jazz

Jeff Stockton By

Sign in to view read count
Malachi Thompson & Africa Brass: Blue Jazz Malachi Thompson's Africa Brass project embodies all the variety and complexity of his Chicago home base: the urban experience of African Americans transplanted from the rural south; the blending of blues and jazz as musicians stepped out of juke joints and onto the stages of supper clubs; the respect for tradition tempered by the desire for innovation and individuality; the value of work towards self-determination.

Africa Brass is a working group made up of Chicago players who make the case that the only way for the music to thrive is to embrace the past while integrating modern experience. The centerpiece of Blue Jazz is the "Black Metropolis Suite," a swaggering, swinging composition in four parts led by Thompson's keening trumpet and anchored by his free bop band, with alto great Gary Bartz and tenor man Billy Harper taking solo spots. Harrison Bankhead's loping bass supplies the pulse, and augmented by four more trumpets and four trombones, the full band evokes the mood of a city brimming with life and activity. In the second suite, "Blues for a Saint Called Louis," Thompson simultaneously pays homage to his idol Louis Armstrong and traces the legend's journey from his modest beginnings in New Orleans ("Po' Little Louie") through his trek north ("Get on the Train") and his ultimate rise as an international star (the title section).

Rounding out the recording are three stand-alone cuts. A Latinized cover of "Footprints," the R&B blowout "Mud Hole," featuring a demented vocal from local hero The Big DooWopper, and brassy singer Dee Alexander putting forth Thompson's rhetorical argument in "Blue Jazz": Who put the jazz inside my blues? Who put the blues inside my jazz? For fans of music in the 20th Century, from Dixieland through big band, bebop, and Chicago's AACM and its motto of "Great Black Music: Ancient to the Future," the questions are irrelevant. Thompson's Africa Brass just lets it roll.

Track Listing: 1 Black Metropolis 9:12 2 The Panther 6:50 3 Jaaz Revelations 5:35 4 Genesis/Rebirth 10:39 5 Po' Little Louie 3:43 6 Get on the Train 4:14 7 Blues for a Saint Called Louis 5:50 8 Blue Jazz 8:30 9 Footprints 9:19 10 Mud Hole 4:31

Personnel: Dee Alexander: Vocals; Kenny Anderson: Trumpet; Harrison Bankhead: Bass; Gary Bartz: Alto and Soprano Sax; Steve Berry: Trombone; The Big DooWopper: Vocals; Ari Brown: Clarinet, Tenor Sax; Elmer Brown: Trumpet; Kirk Brown: Organ, Piano; Billy Harper: Tenor Sax; Leon Jr. Joyce: Drums; Bill McFarland: Trombone; David Spencer: Trumpet; Malachi Thompson: Trumpet, Flugelhorn; Kirk Tracy: Trombone.

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Delmark Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Get 'Em CD/LP/Track Review Get 'Em
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Radioactive Landscapes EP CD/LP/Track Review Radioactive Landscapes EP
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 24, 2017
Read The Many Minds of Richie Cole CD/LP/Track Review The Many Minds of Richie Cole
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: April 24, 2017
Read LifeCycle CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "Pulsation" CD/LP/Track Review Pulsation
by Nicola Negri
Published: August 1, 2016
Read "Musings" CD/LP/Track Review Musings
by Budd Kopman
Published: June 22, 2016
Read "Time on My Hands" CD/LP/Track Review Time on My Hands
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 10, 2016
Read "Of the Tree" CD/LP/Track Review Of the Tree
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 23, 2016
Read "New York Connections" CD/LP/Track Review New York Connections
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: August 7, 2016
Read "Concentric Circles" CD/LP/Track Review Concentric Circles
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 30, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!