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After spending 20 years performing under the leadership of others, British brothers Brad and Elliot Mason step out front, taking charge of an all-star band that redefines the trumpet-trombone front line of drummer Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers of the '50s and '60s. The round and mellow combination of Brad Mason's trumpet with Elliot Mason's trombone sounds almost like the early Crusaders.
The title of "Stage Pints" is an anagram of John Coltrane's "Giant Steps," Elliot Mason's resulting rearrangement beginning with the familiar tune played in reverse over the original bass line, reharmonized and performed alternately in 3/4 and 4/4 time. Both Masons give angular, if frenetic solos, Elliot's blowing out the top of the song. Potter exerts his muscular tone over the piece's well-worn and complex harmony of the piece, bringing the original's importanceand this re-imagininginto proper focus. When this piece hits 4/4, it takes off with a burn.
Personnel: Brad Mason: trombone; Elliot Mason: trumpet; Antonio Sanchez: drums;
Scott Colley: bass; David Kikoski: piano; Chris Potter: saxophone.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.