Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

430

Jazz Jamaica All Stars: Massive

By

Sign in to view read count
Jazz artists experimenting with Jamaican pop musical forms are nothing new, but this U.K. musical group does so with an imaginative freshness and an instrumental virtuosity that is groundbreaking. Led by bassist Gary Crosby, this ten piece band, augmented by a happy band of additional studio musicians, offers a completely beguiling synthesis of ska and jazz, "skazz," working within the tight constraints of ska's insistent, polka-like rhythms.

Ska revival bands, both rock and jazz, have been heavily recording albums since the '80s, and most choose covers of original Jamaican ska hits or create original tunes that uncomfortably sound like the Jaimacan originals. It is a delightful surprise on this album to encounter versions of classic Blue Note '60s compositions you'd never imagine transformed into ska. Herbie Hancock's "Dolphin Dance" gets a brightly strutting recasting, with an fiery sax solo by guest artist Andy Shepppard. Sheppard contributes yet another smoldering sax solo on Wayne Shorter's "Footprints," answered by an equally majestic solo statement by vibraphonist Orphy Robinson. I can't recall hearing a vibraphonist in any ska group before, classic Jamaican or revivalist, and it is very much to Robinson's credit that he not only clearly holds his own among a swarming cloud of loud brassmen, but he also opens our ears to the logic of a vibraphone tone within a pop/jazz Jamaican setting.

Unlike earlier jazz-ska fusions, this band is unafraid of occasional dissonance, or of really stretching out in demanding though laconic solos. They maintain a sense of sheer joy and heady experimentation while playing with fidelity to traditional Jamaican pop music forms. This represents a tremendous advance in Caribbean-flavored jazz, and hopefully will pave the way for other bands with like audaciousness and skill.

Track Listing: 1. Ball of Fire, 2. My Boy Lollipop, 3. Dolphin Dance, 4. Again, 5. Footprints, 6. Confucious, 7. Vitamin A, 8. Walk On By, 9.Liquidator, 10. Capullito de Aleli, 11. Medley: (Love Theme from) The Godfather/Al Capone

Personnel: Gary Crosby, Alex Wilson, Alan Weekes, Tony Uter, Orphy Robinson, Kenrick Rowe, Juliet Roberts, Denys Baptiste, Any Sheppard, and more.

Title: Massive | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Dune

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Nexus Album Reviews
Nexus
By Jakob Baekgaard
May 23, 2019
Read The Second Coming Album Reviews
The Second Coming
By Daniel Barbiero
May 23, 2019
Read Luminária Album Reviews
Luminária
By John Sharpe
May 23, 2019
Read Jazz Band/Rock Band/Dance Band Album Reviews
Jazz Band/Rock Band/Dance Band
By Jerome Wilson
May 23, 2019
Read When Will The Blues Leave Album Reviews
When Will The Blues Leave
By Karl Ackermann
May 22, 2019
Read Crowded Heart Album Reviews
Crowded Heart
By Dan Bilawsky
May 22, 2019
Read Infinite Itinerant Album Reviews
Infinite Itinerant
By Geno Thackara
May 22, 2019