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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tom Challenger's Brass Mask: Brass Mask Live

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You need a truly modern street band in your musical life. That's a statement. Period. No “buts," no “maybes." You might not know it but it's just what you've been lacking and here it is with Brass Mask's second CD, Live. I enjoyed their first record, Spy Boy a lot. Here was a band that were investigating the tradition, not just plundering for repertoire or for musical colour or as bricolage. These guys wanted to go back to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Brass Mask: Live

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London's LOOP Collective has many talented members, including saxophonist and composer Tom Challenger and his band, Brass Mask. The nine-piece band--the octet which appeared on debut album Spy Boy (Babel Label, 2013) plus percussionist Jon Scott--mixes New Orleans, country blues, brass bands and contemporary jazz (including the influence of Henry Threadgill) and electronica. Many of these tracks appeared on that debut recording but Live, the band's second release, recorded at Servant Jazz Quarters in London, gives the tunes added punch ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Brass Mask: Spy Boy

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The UK based octet Brass Mask was conceived in 2012 by reedsman Tom Challenger. Challenger, who very recently released the unique Wedding Music duo recording with Kit Downes (Loop Records, 2013), has plied his trade with the likes of Django Bates and many of the young improvisers that make up the progressive Loop Collective. On Spy Boy, he has assembled a cutting edge group whose interplay makes for a mesmerizing blend of compositions influenced as much by New Orleans as ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Brass Mask: Spy Boy

Read "Spy Boy" reviewed by

It is somewhat rare to encounter a brass band in modern jazz these days, but saxophonist and composer Tom Challenger's octet, Brass Mask, is an intriguing example of a brass driven band. The eclectic nature of the band is underlined by the cover of the album: Spy Boy, which suggests the contours of a man holding a saxophone surrounded by a rainbow of feathers. The music is just as sprawling and colorful as the cover and the ...


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