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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 love jazz because when I was a kid pop music was bland, plain, uneventful until one day I heard a tune on a juke box entitled Jump Red Jump By Tenor Saxophonist Red Prysock brother of Arthur Prysock
I love jazz because when I was a kid pop music was bland, plain, uneventful until one day I heard a tune on a juke box entitled Jump Red Jump By Tenor Saxophonist Red Prysock brother of Arthur Prysock. It was love at first sight . This was when Blues, Soul / Gospel Style Music was becoming popular amongst kids as well as hip adults and featured Ray Charles, Big Joe Turner and The Payola era DJ's such as Alan Freed. Not many people remember that Freed's Rock n Roll Band of the 1950's was The Count Basie Orchestra featuring the Guy Singer Tony Bennett (Anthony DiBenedetto) who grew up in Astoria, NYNY right next to my Home Town Jackson Heights NYNY.
I was first exposed to jazz when I heard Red Prysock, Sam The Man Taylor & groups like the Chord Cats recording of Shaboom! It made the Crew Cuts look LAME! Now Jazz, Blues, Soul, Gospel was pretty much joined at the hip back then and I learned that the tasteful Music was featured on The African American Radio Stations which led me to DJ's Like The Bruce, Jocko Henderson, Tommy Dr. Jive Smalls and eventually Symphony Sid Torin, China Valles and Len Pace. This all took place during my high school years and the following years in NYNY and South Florida. I actually flew to Copenhagen Denmark in 1961 to see Stan Getz, (One of my top 3 heroes in the Music Bird, Pres & Getz not necessarily in that order). Sadly Getz had already left town and snuck back into NYNY where he played Birdland (Undoubtedly without a cabaret card due to smack addiction.) No problem for me as I worked for Pan American Airways at the time and enjoyed a 90% Employee Discount.
I met Thelonious Monk, Stan Kenton, Warne Marsh, Lenny Tristano, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, Frank Foster, Dr. Lonnie Smith, among many others over the years.
The best show I ever attended was The Randall's Island Jazz Festival NYNY 1960. Monk & Edward Ellington Kennedy AKA Duke, starred among numerous others. I can not recall the entire Line Up but Monk brought along his Hat Collection which at the time contained I believe he told me 33 or 35 international Hats which he periodically changed often during his Solos. I have been unable to find that roster for that particular festival and since it was long ago I remember mostly Monk & Duke. Paul Gonsalvas played his legendary trademark twenty something chorus solo in between Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue which was outstanding.
The first jazz record I bought was Firstly, my Bro George was / is a Marine and he sent home his wax collection of LP's from Camp Pendleton CA before deploying to Okinawa in 1956 I think. Bird, Getz, Mulligan & Baker, Erroll Garner, Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Jazz at Newport 1956 and many more. I fell in love with Bird, Getz and Jeru & Chet for openers. Pres to my mind takes the all time Tenor Award and Budo, Piano etc.! However I digress Getz Long Island Sound and every other Getz record that I could find that was 1957 by then and I snuck in to Birdland for the First of many times before I was 18 ( Legal drinking age back then) It wasn't until just after my 18th Birthday that I was carded much to the bouncers chagrin as he recognized me as having being an established customer by then.
My advice to new listeners: Listen to the Music and keep it in the forefront not the background. A Local Band Leader whose name escapes me once said to me Jerry you can make time for the chicks later the Music is in the now and is more important than chicks ever will be. He was correct!
Next see live performances and introduce yourself to the Players most of whom will be respectful. Some, however, are unapproachable such as when I saw Miles so many times but his obvious disdain for certain fans was evident and he always walked off the stage after soloing. (Eddie Jefferson sang words to So What that so indicated this)!