234

Toph-E & the Pussycats: Live in Detroit

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Don't let this band's name fool you: Toph-E & The Pussycats are a group of veteran jazz musicians whose combined resumes include television gigs, Grammy awards, and musician credits from James Brown to Rachel Z. Led by drummer Chris Parker, the group also features bassist Will Lee, piano/keyboard player Clifford Carter, saxophonist David Mann, and percussionist/songwriter Ralph MacDonald.

The New York-based group, which was formed in 2000, performs compositions with a heady mix of jazz, R&B and rock music, basing them around a musical philosophy dubbed "R&B-bop." This live recording from the Detroit Jazz Festival shows that they clearly know how to throw a fun and lively party.

The concert includes Duke Ellington's swinging "Rockin' In Rhythm," the funky gospel blues "Tee" (dedicated to the late R&B keyboardist Richard Tee), and rocking modern jazz goodies like "Human Bites" by the late jazz pianist Don Grolnick. The lines of popular music and mainstream jazz are artfully blurred, allowing both the audience and the band to have a good time. Even Miles Davis's "All Blues" is given a fresh coat of reggae funk; Will Lee delivers a jumping bass solo, and the crowd cheers its approval.

Parker not only holds downs toe-tapping beats, but also provides soulful vocals on Bill Wither's '80s pop hit "Just the Two of Us" (written Ralph MacDonald). MacDonald's superb percussion is highlighted as he and the other members burn down the stage with heated playing. The rollicking "Compared to What," with some anti-war sentiments, is also thrown in for good measure, and the audience joins in on the lyrics. The Pussycats' purr turns into a growl as the recording ends on a most positive vibe with another MacDonald hit composition, "Mister Magic," remembering the late saxophone luminary Grover Washington, Jr.


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Second Act CD/LP/Track Review Second Act
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Imaga Mondo CD/LP/Track Review Imaga Mondo
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Port Of Call CD/LP/Track Review Port Of Call
by John Sharpe
Published: August 23, 2017
Read May I Introduce To You CD/LP/Track Review May I Introduce To You
by James Nadal
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Honey And Salt CD/LP/Track Review Honey And Salt
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2017
Read To the Bone CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 22, 2017
Read "Triple Exposure" CD/LP/Track Review Triple Exposure
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 30, 2016
Read "Blooming Tall Phlox" CD/LP/Track Review Blooming Tall Phlox
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2016
Read "The Evolution Suite" CD/LP/Track Review The Evolution Suite
by Troy Dostert
Published: October 10, 2016
Read "Journey To The Mountain Of Forever" CD/LP/Track Review Journey To The Mountain Of Forever
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 17, 2017
Read "Lionsong" CD/LP/Track Review Lionsong
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 18, 2017
Read "Music From Our Soul" CD/LP/Track Review Music From Our Soul
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 20, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.