430

Jazz Jamaica All Stars: Massive

By

Sign in to view read count
Jazz Jamaica All Stars: Massive 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.

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


Shop

More Articles

Read Pathways CD/LP/Track Review Pathways
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Landing CD/LP/Track Review Landing
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Words And Music CD/LP/Track Review Words And Music
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Faces CD/LP/Track Review Faces
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves CD/LP/Track Review Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves
by Duncan Heining
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Petite Afrique CD/LP/Track Review Petite Afrique
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2017
Read "Bandit 65" CD/LP/Track Review Bandit 65
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 13, 2017
Read "Legacy: A Coltrane Tribute" CD/LP/Track Review Legacy: A Coltrane Tribute
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 11, 2016
Read "Sooner And Later" CD/LP/Track Review Sooner And Later
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 4, 2017
Read "IIII+IIII" CD/LP/Track Review IIII+IIII
by James Nadal
Published: April 17, 2017
Read "Montage" CD/LP/Track Review Montage
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 22, 2016
Read "Fake It Until You Make It" CD/LP/Track Review Fake It Until You Make It
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 17, 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!