London's LOOP Collective has many talented members, including saxophonist and composer Tomas Challenger and his band, Brass Mask. The nine-piece bandthe octet which appeared on debut album Spy Boy (Babel Label, 2013) plus percussionist Jon Scottmixes New Orleans, country blues, brass bands and contemporary jazz (including the influence of Henry Threadgill) and electronica. Many of these tracks appeared on that debut recording but Live, the band's second release, recorded at Servant Jazz Quarters in London, gives the tunes added punch and vibrancy.
The band's live "mish mash of styles, rhythms and colors," as Challenger puts it, reveals itself with ease across these tunes. "Francilia" opens the album like a twisted New Orleans soundtrack to a George Romero zombie movie. The traditional "Lil' Liza Jane" flies along, driven by John Blease's drums and Theon Cross' tubathe energy and fun reminiscent of another big British band, Loose Tubes. Challenger's "Indian Red" is another joyful tune but the mood changes swiftly for "I Thank You Jesus," a mournful funeral dirge filled with wailing horns. "Nyodi" makes good use of electronics before Cross' tuba sets up a funky rhythm to act as the foundation for interplay between percussion and horns.
The frenetic "The Merman" leads in to the 10 minute closing tune, "Francis P." A number filled with shifting rhythms and tempos, it's also notable for Dan Nicholls' organ solo and some dueling trumpets courtesy of Rory Simmons and Alex Bonney. Challenger says that Brass Mask is most at home in the live settinga claim that's amply justified by the performances on Live.
Francilia + Shallow Water; Lil’ Liza Jane; The Bague; Indian Red; I Thank You
Jesus; Nyodi; The Merman; Francis P.
Tom Challenger: tenor saxophone; George Crowley: tenor saxophone; Rory
Simmons: trumpet; Alex Bonney: trumpet; Nathaniel Cross: trombone; Dan
Nicholls: organ, percussion; Theon Cross: tuba; Jon Scott: percussion; John
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.