432

The Jazz Jamaica All Stars: Massive

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
The Jazz Jamaica All Stars: Massive If one were to award points for boldness and thinking outside the box, the Jazz Jamaica All Stars would rank high by any measure. The All Stars, a large ensemble of (mostly) Brits, several with Caribbean or African roots, led by Jamaican bassist Gary Crosby (whose core group, the 10-piece Jazz Jamaica, has released two earlier albums), have something to prove—that almost any music can be adapted to suit the rhythmic and harmonic temperament of the West Indies. "My aim," says Crosby, "is for the music of the Caribbean... to become a permanent part of the improvising musician's armory. ...What we are doing is showing that this music can stand up there next to anything else...."

And so it is that on the All Stars' debut album, the aptly named Massive, the ensemble not only performs popular West Indian themes but reshapes jazz standards by Herbie Hancock ("Dolphin Dance") and Wayne Shorter ("Footprints"), Burt Bacharach's pop tune "Walk on By," and music from Hollywood ("Again," a medley from The Godfather and Al Capone ). If the evidence presented here can be judged conclusive, the All Stars have easily accomplished their purpose.

One's response, of course, will rest largely on his or her affinity for West Indian rhythms, which predominate throughout the bubbly and heated studio session. The music resides quite comfortably within the big band idiom, and the All Stars perform it with tastefulness and enthusiasm. Vocalist Juliet Roberts is heard on three selections—"Walk on By," the Jamaican hit "My Boy Lollipop," and "Again," a lovely but seldom-heard Alfred Newman composition from the 1947 film Roadhouse. Nearly every member of the large ensemble is given one or more chances to solo, and everyone earns high marks, especially saxophonists Andy Sheppard, Soweto Kinch and Denys Baptiste, trumpeters Kevin Robinson and Guy Barker, trombonists Dennis Rollins and Barnaby Dickinson, pianist Alex Wilson and guitarist Alan Weekes.

If there's a word to describe Jamaican music, that word could be irrepressible. It's inherently happy music, almost impossible to experience without tapping your feet and smiling broadly. The Jazz Jamaica All Stars exemplify the carefree spirit of the Caribbean, playing with an ardent esprit de corps that makes their first album together a pleasure to hear.

Track Listing: Ball of Fire; My Boy Lollipop; Dolphin Dance; Again; Footprints; Confucius; Vitamin A; Walk on By; Liquidator; Capullito de Aleli; Medley (Love Theme from) the Godfather / Al Capone (74:40).

Personnel: Gary Crosby, leader, double bass; Denys Baptiste, Andy Sheppard, Michael Rose, Patrick Clahar, Adam Bishop, Jason Yarde, Soweto Kinch, Tony Kofi, Ray Carless, saxophone; Kevin Robinson, Guy Barker, Edward Thornton, Claude Deppa, Sean Corby, Colin Graham, trumpet; Harry Brown, Ashley Slater, Annie Whitehead, Barnaby Dickinson, Fayyaz Virji, Winston Rollins, Dennis Rollins, trombone; Andy Grappy, tuba; Alex Wilson, piano, keyboards; Alan Weekes, guitar; Orphy Robinson, vibraphone; Kenrick Rowe, drums; Tony Uter, percussion; Juliet Roberts, vocals.

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Dune | Style: Latin/World


Shop

More Articles

Read Dreamsville CD/LP/Track Review Dreamsville
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 26, 2017
Read April CD/LP/Track Review April
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Small World CD/LP/Track Review Small World
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 26, 2017
Read High Time CD/LP/Track Review High Time
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "Chasing Shadows" CD/LP/Track Review Chasing Shadows
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: July 8, 2016
Read "Makes My Heart Sway" CD/LP/Track Review Makes My Heart Sway
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 23, 2016
Read "Clean Spring" CD/LP/Track Review Clean Spring
by Budd Kopman
Published: June 21, 2016
Read "A Chicken in a Bottle" CD/LP/Track Review A Chicken in a Bottle
by Anthony Shaw
Published: April 17, 2017
Read "Clockwork" CD/LP/Track Review Clockwork
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 13, 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!