234

Toph-E & the Pussycats: Live in Detroit

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Toph-E & the Pussycats: Live in Detroit 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.

Track Listing: Rockin' in Rhythm; Minky, Don't You Wep; Tee; Just the Two of Us; Human Bites; All Blues; Compared to What; Mister Magic.

Personnel: Chris Parker: drums, vocals; Will Lee: bass, vocals; Clifford Carter: piano, keyboards; David Mann: saxophones; Ralph MacDonald: percussion, vocals.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: WarnerArchives | Style: Funk/Groove


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read Nightfall CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Pekka CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2017
Read In the Still of the Night CD/LP/Track Review In the Still of the Night
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Zea CD/LP/Track Review Zea
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Asian Fields Variations CD/LP/Track Review Asian Fields Variations
by John Kelman
Published: May 21, 2017
Read Left Right Left CD/LP/Track Review Left Right Left
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 21, 2017
Read "Free for One" CD/LP/Track Review Free for One
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 29, 2016
Read "Live In Sant'Anna Arresi, 2004" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Sant'Anna Arresi, 2004
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 7, 2016
Read "It's A Mystery" CD/LP/Track Review It's A Mystery
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 31, 2017
Read "Keep Me Singing" CD/LP/Track Review Keep Me Singing
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 8, 2016
Read "Umbrella Weather" CD/LP/Track Review Umbrella Weather
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 24, 2017
Read "American Tunes" CD/LP/Track Review American Tunes
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: July 1, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, and provide read access to our future articles.