8

Rebecca Hennessy's FOG Brass Band: Two Calls

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Toronto-based trumpeter Rebecca Hennessy's FOG Brass Band, on Two Calls, sounds at times like a traditional brass band. The disc's, opening cut, "Red Herring," features a jumpy, tuba-driven rhythm, a soaring trombone solo, a frenetic trumpet turn with a scintillating piano backdrop, followed by Don Scott's hard rock electric guitar interlude. It is a compelling beginning that shifts into a different dimension on "Horn Lake," a majestic mini-symphony infused with drone-ish studio canoodlings that give way to pianist Tania Gill's introspections, leading into Hennessy's measured and beautiful horn statement. And then a third movement of sorts—an odd, Twilight-zone-ish meshing of ensemble voicings, led by trombonist Tom Richards.

It's a one-two punch beginning that says this is a different type of brass band. And this dynamic group keeps proving it over the course of seven more diverse tunes. The instrumental combination isn't all that odd, but the way the individual voices are used—the arrangements—are out of this world: the modernistic, rock-inflected guitar, the tuba's deep throb, the angelic horn harmonies and the creative and virtuosic solos stirred up distinctively, more Henry Threadgill's Zooid at times than traditional New Orleans. If the question is: "Exactly who in this group is instrumental to its success?" the answer would have to be "Everyone."

"Lagoon" has a Bill Frisell filtered through funhouse mirror folksiness, with an interlude of Jay Burr's tuba sound underlain by Gill's spare, trinkling piano and a subdued clatter of the intricate rattling of Nico Dann's drums. The title track opens with—from a field recording—the twittering of Panamanian jungle birds, leading into a modern, mainstream groove. Scott's slashing guitar opens up "Snag." Unison horns make a bold statement, then trombonist Richards rants as the guitar bounces chords off his brass proclamations.

The set's closer, "Why Are You So Sad Booker Little," is Hennessy's ode to the melancholy sound of the American trumpeter Booker Little, who died in 1961, at the age of twenty-three. It features Hennessy out front, with a rich, sad sound on her horn, in front of majestic ensemble backdrop.

Two Calls is a uniquely enchanting recording. A wide-ranging yet coherent artistic statement. Credit Rebecca Hennessy's compositions and arrangements, the individual instrumentalists and their immersion in the group concept, and add a couple of nods to producer Jean Martin for the sound shaping and, on two tunes, the studio atmospherics added with the help of cellist/bandleader/composer Andrew Downing.

Track Listing: Red Herring; Horn Lake; King's County Sheriff; Lagoon; Two Calls; Snag; Birds For Free; Mutterings; Why Are You So Sad Booker Little.

Personnel: Rebecca Hennessy: trumpet, flugelhorn, Peck Horn; baritone horn; Tom Richards: trombone; Jay Burr: tuba; Tania Gill: piano; Don Scott: guitar; Nico Dann: drums, trinagle.

Title: Two Calls | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Live at Club Helsinki" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Club Helsinki
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2017
Read "The Rhythm Method" CD/LP/Track Review The Rhythm Method
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 14, 2017
Read "Energy - Saul Losada" CD/LP/Track Review Energy - Saul Losada
by Paul Naser
Published: March 15, 2017
Read "Live at Club Helsinki" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Club Helsinki
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 5, 2017
Read "Sektion 3-7" CD/LP/Track Review Sektion 3-7
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "On Hollywood Boulevard" CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: December 6, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.