All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Multiple Reviews

10

Livelove Radio Bremen series continues: Working Week and Jazz Passengers

Mark Sullivan By

Sign in to view read count
The Livelove series issuing archival live Radio Bremen recordings began with Larry Coryell & The Eleventh House from January 1975 (Promising Music, 2015) and the Horace Silver Quintet from June 1977 (Promising Music, 2015). That seems like a pretty wide range: from jazz fusion to hard bop. But the third and fourth releases in the series broaden the range even more, with the jazzy pop of Working Week and the eclectic jazz of The Jazz Passengers 99. Every release in the series has borne the proud claim "pure—no overdubs," so they are the real live deal. And the Radio Bremen engineers were unsurpassed at capturing live performance on tape.

Working Week
May 1985 (Livelove Series Volume 3)
Promising Music
2015

Working Week was led by saxophonist Larry Stabbins and guitarist Simon Booth (later of Afro Celt Sound System). In 1985 they were on tour promoting their most successful album, Working Nights (Virgin Records, 1985). It's an energetic, tight nine-piece dance/pop band that displays significant Latin and Jazz influences. With powerful vocals from Julie Roberts, the set begins with a fine cover (the only song in the set not written by the band) of Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues."

"I Thought I'd Never See You Again" begins as a ballad, but shifts into samba, with a high-energy high note trumpet solo from Paul Spong. "No Cure, No Pay" continues the Latin feel. An extended instrumental montuno, it features trombonist Richard Edwards, percussionist Joao Bosco De Oliveira, and pianist Kim Burton. "Where's The Bridge," another instrumental, gives bassist Chucho Merchan a chance to shine. "Venceremos" is another samba, strongly reminiscent of Sade's work. Stabbins plays several memorable solos, while Booth makes his main contribution as composer.

This is clearly a pop group, but they have talent and charisma to burn. The Latin and Jazz stylings in their music are completely convincing: far more than mere added flavors.

Jazz Passengers
April 1990 (Livelove Series Volume 4)
Promising Music
2015

The Jazz Passengers were formed in 1987 when John Lurie's backup band Lounge Lizards staged a mass defection. By 1990 they had three studio albums to draw from for their live set: Broken Night Red Light (Les Disques Du Crépuscule, 1987); Deranged and Decomposed (Les Disques Du Crépuscule, 1988); and Implement Yourself (New World Records, 1990). This version of the band was a septet, giving them access to a broad array of instrumental colors. While they could be quite respectful of the jazz tradition (as in their restrained cover of Duke Ellington's "Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me") they generally did not take themselves too seriously. Musical humor was always a possibility. The opening "You're The Fool" gently taunts someone (the listener, perhaps?) with the closing vocal: "Don't you know the meaning? You don't know the meaning."

The title "Decomposer By A Neck" is also a good clue to their working method. The standard "Angel Eyes" (the only other cover in the set) begins with a straightforward statement of the theme by saxophonist Ray Nathanson and trombonist Curtis Fowlkes—but then the group enters and gently takes it apart. "Fathouse" also moves into an extended free blowing section, this time led by guitarist Marc Ribot. "In No Languages" features vibraphonist Bill Ware, while Ribot turns in another incendiary solo on "Spirits of Flatbush." Violinist Jim Nolet gets the final say with his galloping composition "Peace In The Valley" (which bears no apparent relationship to the famous gospel tune written by Thomas A. Dorsey).

The Passengers can be accused of being overly jokey and eclectic. But rarely is avant-garde jazz this much fun.

Tracks and Personnel

May 1985 (Livelove Series Volume 3)

Tracks: Inner City Blues; I Thought I'd Never See You Again; No Cure, No Pay; Sweet Nothing; Solo; Where's The Bridge; Venceremos; Who's Fooling Who; Happy Inspiration; Sweet Nothing (encore).

Personnel: Simon Booth: guitar; Larry Stabbins: tenor sax, soprano sax, flute; Julie Roberts: vocals; Paul Spong: trumpet; Richard Edwards: trombone; Kim Burton: piano; Chucho Merchan: bass; Joao Bosco De Oliveira; percussion; Nic France: drums.

April 1990 (Livelove Series Volume 4)

Tracks: You're The Fool; Decomposer By A Neck; The Faker; Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me; In No Languages; Spirits Of Flatbush; Angel Eyes; Fathouse; Peace In The Valley.

Personnel: Roy Nathanson: tenor sax, soprano sax; Curtis Fowlkes: trombone, vocals; Marc Ribot: guitar; Bill Ware: vibraphone; Jim Nolet: violin; Bradley Jones: bass; Edwin Jesus Rodriguez: drums.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Lee Michaels: Dinosaurs Still Rule! Multiple Reviews
Lee Michaels: Dinosaurs Still Rule!
by Doug Collette
Published: November 17, 2018
Read Seth Yacovone Band and Radio Underground: Rockin' the Green Mountains Multiple Reviews
Seth Yacovone Band and Radio Underground: Rockin' the...
by Doug Collette
Published: November 17, 2018
Read Jazz is Mod: An Introduction to the Mod Jazz Series Multiple Reviews
Jazz is Mod: An Introduction to the Mod Jazz Series
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Scott Sharrard & Jack Pearson: Brothers by Proxy Multiple Reviews
Scott Sharrard & Jack Pearson: Brothers by Proxy
by Doug Collette
Published: November 3, 2018
Read All Over the Map with Losen Records Multiple Reviews
All Over the Map with Losen Records
by Geno Thackara
Published: November 2, 2018
Read John Lennon's Imagine: The Ultimate Collection & Imagine/Gimme Some Truth Films Multiple Reviews
John Lennon's Imagine: The Ultimate Collection &...
by John Kelman
Published: October 28, 2018
Read "Another Timbre completes its Canadian Composers Series" Multiple Reviews Another Timbre completes its Canadian Composers Series
by John Eyles
Published: October 16, 2018
Read "Another Timbre Celebrates Its First Decade" Multiple Reviews Another Timbre Celebrates Its First Decade
by John Eyles
Published: December 9, 2017
Read "Boyer & Talton and Cowboy" Multiple Reviews Boyer & Talton and Cowboy
by Doug Collette
Published: June 23, 2018
Read "Singer/songwriters from the Shadows: Jay Bolotin and Ted Lucas" Multiple Reviews Singer/songwriters from the Shadows: Jay Bolotin and Ted...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 25, 2018
Read "Jazzing Up Childhood Memories" Multiple Reviews Jazzing Up Childhood Memories
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 4, 2018
Read "Steve Wynn: Kerosene Man and Dazzling Display" Multiple Reviews Steve Wynn: Kerosene Man and Dazzling Display
by Doug Collette
Published: July 1, 2018