Revelation is the sixth recording by drummer Joe McCarthy's sixteen-year-old Afro Bop Alliance (the last three by the big band after three by smaller incarnations), the first that has come this way for review. As McCarthy's stalwart ensemble is based in the Washington, D.C. area, the supposition is that a number of topnotch armed services musicians may be onboard, an inference that proves correct with names such as Luis Hernandez, Vince Norman, Jim Roberts, Brian MacDonald, Matt Niess, Rich Sigler, Joe Jackson, Pete BarenBregge and Joseph Hensonnot to mention McCarthy himselfenhancing the lineup. There may be others; those are merely the ones who surface at first glance.
Norman and McCarthy, co-leaders of their own straight-ahead large ensemble, co-wrote the fast-moving opener, "CuBop" (a salute to the band's original name), Hernandez the loping "Dialed In." There are two compositions by steel pan virtuoso Victor Provost, three by drummer / composer Roland Vazquez who conducts his themes, "No Rest for the Bones of the Dead," "Family of Four" and "Creencias." Provost chaperons a sharp and energetic rhythm section that includes (on various numbers) McCarthy, Roberts, pianist Harry Appelman, vibraphonist Ed Fast, percussionist Roberto Quintero , bassists Tom Baldwin or Oscar Stagnaro, conguero Samuel Torres, and Josanne Francis, Khandeya Sheppard and Adam Grise on the steel pans. Provost's piquant "Magharibi" and Caribbean-flavored "Soulfriere" complete the appetizing menu.
Needless to say, robust and persuasive rhythms are the driving force behind this Revelation, accentuated by brass and reeds with the whole resting on a shapely melodic framework. Yes, there are solos, most notably by Hernandez, Norman, McCarthy, Appelman, trumpeter Tim Stanley, flugel Alex Norris (featured on "Family of Four"), tenor Matt Stuver and trombonist Victor Baranco, but they are more or less eclipsed by the ensemble's rhythmic and harmonic primacy. That's not to say the solos are unrewarding; each one is astute and colorful, and each one comprises an essential part of the over-all tapestry. When sewn together, the various components merge impressively to produce a rich and handsome portrait of African-influenced Latin jazz with North American trimmings.
Track Listing: CuBop; No Rest for the Bones of the Dead; Magharibi; A Family of Four; Soulfriere; Dialed In; Creencias.
Personnel: Joe McCarthy: leader, drums, percussion; Roland Vazquez: conductor (2, 4, 7); Brian MacDonald: trumpet; Mark Wood: trumpet; Rich Sigler: trumpet; Chris Walker: trumpet (1, 3, 5, 6); Dan Orban: trumpet (1, 3, 5, 6); Tim Stanley: trumpet (1-3, 5-7); Alex Norris: flugelhorn (4); Vince Norman: alto, soprano sax; Bill Mulligan: alto sax, flute, piccolo (2, 4, 7); Pete Barenbregge: alto sax, flute (1, 3, 5, 6); Joseph Henson: tenor sax, flute (1, 3, 5, 6); Matt Stuver: tenor sax; Luis Hernandez: tenor sax; Darryl Brenzel: baritone sax, bass clarinet; Matt Niess: trombone; Rhoades Whitehill: trombone (1, 3, 5, 6); Joe Jackson: trombone (1, 3, 5, 6); Jeff Cortazzo: trombone (1, 3, 5, 6); Victor Baranco: trombone (2, 4, 7); Dave Perkel: trombone (2, 4, 7); Matt Neff: trombone (2, 4, 7); Harry Appelman: piano; Jim Roberts: guitar; Ed Fast: vibraphone (2, 4, 7); Tom Baldwin: bass (1, 3, 5, 6); Oscar Stagnaro: bass (2, 4, 7); Samuel Torres: congas (2, 4, 7); Robert Quintero: congas, percussion (1, 3, 5, 6); Victor Provost: steel pans lead; Josanne Francis: steel pans tenor; Khandeya Sheppard: steel pans double seconds; Adam Crise: steel pans cello.
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz.
Being a Musician myself, (Lead Guitar/Bass Guitar), I studied at the Dick Grove School of Music with Dick Grove, Jeff Richman and Lee Ritenour. This was around '84-'85. I started playing the Guitar in November 1967. Playing Guitar came quite naturally to me thank goodness. Though I spent hours upon hours practicing while my school buddies were doing Sports.
It was in the early '70s that I really got into Jazz, Jazz Rock, Jazz Fusion and World Music. Seeing Weather Report, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Larry Carlton, Steely Dan, John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, RTF, Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, VSOP, Freddie Hubbard and so many, many more amazing artists opened my eyes to the beauty and eloquent nature of Jazz. I really love the brilliant ensemble playing that is in Jazz!!
When I play and write music, it blends so many style together. Many fans ask me why my playing sounds so jazzy. It's because I understand Blue Notes, the phrasing, the tonality, time signatures and more. I can also play Rock, Folk, Soul, R n' B and other styles too. I seem to gravitate more and more as I get older to a jazzier style. Currently I'm 62 years old. I have released 2 CDs world-wide. Working on my 3rd.
I also teach Guitar/Bass/Music Theory to my students. They range from 6 years old to much, much older. (I was hired by the City of Aurora, CO to teach ages 6-13 specifically). Currently I teach 41 children in 5 classes. Additionally another 7 private students.
My wife, Meesh, and I love Jazz dearly. It was one of the things that we share together!
Most of the people that I know today do not get jazz. I try to explain what to listen for, but many times the music of Jazz is a bit much for them. So be it.
In a nutshell, I live, breath and listen to Music 24/7. No TV except the Food Channel and Weather.
I love John Kelman's articles. They are so insightful and well-constructed!
Thank you all for doing what you do.