2

Brass Mask: Spy Boy

Jakob Baekgaard By

Sign in to view read count
Brass Mask: Spy Boy 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 opening composition "Onnellinen" immediately grabs the intention with an irresistible melody with humorous saxophone hiccups and tuba-player Theon Cross getting deep into groove, while the trumpet section of Rory Simmons and Alex Bonney shine with their muted playing. Challenger has mentioned composer, saxophonist and flautist Henry Threadgill as an inspiration and his sophisticated approach to composition and improvisation looms large over the album.

The funky vibe continues on "Shallow Water," whereas "I Thank You Jesus" recalls the funeral-marches of New Orleans. The horns sway and growl in anguish, but it is nevertheless a lament imbued with vitality.

The scope of the band is impressive as they embrace the lush charts of a big band and the intimate blues of a funeral procession. It is a carnival of sounds, a Mardi Gras of music, where the scholarly approach of Challenger is felt in the diversity of sounds and musical traditions that have been taken in from around the globe. Here's anything from deep blues and gospel to polyphonic sophistication and funky African grooves. However, there isn't anything dry and academic about the music. This is music meant for the streets. Go out and a have a ball with Brass Mask.


Track Listing: Onnellinen; Shallow Water; I Thank You Jesus; Nighty Night; Francis P; Indian Red; Rain Rain Rain; Meniscus; Wizards; Israfil; Indians; Don't Stand Up; Zubr Dubr.

Personnel: Tom Challenger: saxophone, clarinet; George Crowley: saxophone, clarinet; Dan Nicholls: bass clarinet, saxophone; Rory Simmons: trumpet; Alex Bonney: trumpet; Nathaniel Cross: trombone; Theon Cross: tuba; John Blease: drums, percussion.

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Babel Label


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Imaginist" CD/LP/Track Review Imaginist
by Mike Jacobs
Published: December 1, 2016
Read "Ten" CD/LP/Track Review Ten
by Jeff Winbush
Published: March 25, 2016
Read "Heritage" CD/LP/Track Review Heritage
by James Nadal
Published: October 3, 2016
Read "The Incomparable Fiddler" CD/LP/Track Review The Incomparable Fiddler
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 12, 2016
Read "The Music of Enrico Pieranunzi" CD/LP/Track Review The Music of Enrico Pieranunzi
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 23, 2016
Read "Cave Art" CD/LP/Track Review Cave Art
by Rokas Kucinskas
Published: August 20, 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!

Buy it!