PHIL MASON'S NEW ORLEANS ALL-STARS WITH *CHRISTINE TYRRELL
SPIRITUALS AND GOSPELS
LAKE LACD64 + LA5064/C 1996 16 tracks 68 min
Sing On; *Let God Abide; *Precious Lord; Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen; *The Storm Is Passing Over; Lily Of The Valley; *It Is No Secret; *In The Garden; Sweet Fields; *We Shall Not Be Moved; *Just A Closer Walk With Thee; *When I Move To The Sky; *We Shall Walk Through The Streets Of The City; Higher Ground; *Over In The Gloryland; When The Saints Go Marching In.
A Christian and a jazz lover, how could I go past this CD? Mind it wasn't a pig in a poke for me as I had a couple of the tracks already, as this album is a compilation of tracks from recordings made live at various churches by Phil Mason's New Orleans's All-Stars and Christine Tyrrell. Good jazz, the tunes are all well know ones and vary from the soulful to the joyful, meditative to swinging. Phil Mason has assembled a top class band and they play together very well, though it is the rhythm section that is outstanding. Even the sometimes over exuberant reeds man, James Evans, keeps in, rather than fights against, the other players. The main focus, however, must be on West Indian gospel singer Christine Tyrrell, who performs on most of the tracks. Christine has an unusual nasal tone to her voice that is surprisingly attractive, and she certainly sings with great feeling and conviction. At times, in numbers such as 'Just A Closer Walk With Thee' she had my eyes going all moist (hey I'm a butch Kiwi joker, I don't cry, all right!).
This is a great inspirational CD, and I highly recommend it.
PHIL MASON'S NEW ORLEANS ALL-STARS
WEST INDIES BLUES
Lake LACD93 1997, 17 tracks 78min
June Night, Over The Waves, West Indies Blues, Picking On Your Baby*, I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket, I Want A Big Butter & Egg Man*, Davenport Blues, What The Lord Has Done For Me~, Short Dress Gal, The Light From The Lighthouse, You've Got The Right Key-But The Wrong Keyhole*, Yacka Hula Hickey Dula, Lazy Bones, Fidgety Fingers, Amazing Grace~, Royal Telephone*, Algiers Strut
I know that at times, I find Phil Mason's punchy cornet just a bit too hesitant, but he is still one hell of a horn player and he sure has a good band to play with him. Since his last release there have been a couple of changes in the band's line-up, the first since the band was formed. Paul Harrison replaces James Evans on clarinet, which is a bit of a relief as the boy sometimes ran amok. Ron McKay comes in on drums. I remember Ron best when he was the drummer in Acker Bilk's band. He used to allow chewing gum to dangle from his mouth, flick it back and forth with the drumsticks and then catch it in his mouth for another chew. I also remember that, when Acker let him, he could sing gospel numbers with a hard driving voice. He gets to sing one of them, 'The Light From The Lighthouse', on this CD, though his voice seems much less gruff - maybe he has given up smoking? Another reminder of Bilk is the rolling rhythm on 'West Indies Blues', though here the vocal is provided by the fine trombone player, Martin Bennett.
Vocals feature heavily on this CD, and the title of the album is particularly appropriate, as it features two West Indian vocalists; my favourite brownskin mama, Christine Tyrrell*, and a fellow gospel exponent, Pauline Pearce~, who has a very deep, almost masculine voice.
Another excellent, and inventive Lake CD from Phil Mason and his team. I look forward to their next release; maybe I will get some more Christine Tyrrell and Pauline Pearce tracks.
PHIL MASON'S NEW ORLEANS ALL-STARS WITH CHRISTINE TYRELL
LACD33 + LA5033/c 1993 16 tracks 80 min
I Wish I Were In Dixie; Jersey Lightning; *My Curly-Headed Baby; You Do Something To Me; Bugle Call Rag; *Gulf Coast Blues; Dreaming The Hours Away: Mahogany Hall Stomp; That Teasin' Rag; *When I Grow Too Old To Dream; The Shiek Of Araby; My Silent Love; In The Mood; *Fair And Square In Love; Squeeze Me; High Society.
I admire cornet player Phil Mason, indeed I had made a point of listening to him and the rest of the Max Collie's Rhythm Aces whilst still in the UK, but it was not to hear him that I bought this CD. I bought it so that I could hear the unusual, but beautiful, tones of Jamaican singer Christine Tyrell*. I had heard Christine singing with a couple of other bands on tapes I had bought through The Independent Jazz List collection and wanted more. I had also, through the same source, bought a tape of Phil Mason's New Orleans All Stars and enjoyed it, so it was not at all a pig-in-a-poke buy. This CD put out by Europe's premier jazz label, Lake, is a good mix of tunes that show off the collective and individual talents of Phil and his band. Actually following the Max Collie's Rhythm Aces in the 60s prepared me well as Phil's band includes two other ex-members of that band; the incomparable magic of 'Gentleman' Jim McIntosh on banjo highlighted on 'Sheikh of Araby', and the driving inventive Trefor 'Fingers' Williams on double bass. Throw in a top class trombone player such as the experienced Martin Bennett, add arguably the best British N.O. drummer, Colin Bowden,drop in youngster James Evans on reeds and you have a rich and tasty mix. Mind, James Evans can at times give you a bit of heartburn. In fact whenever the CD gets to his feature track, 'In The Mood', my wife, a fellow jazz lover, walks out and refuses to come back in doors until it is over! And Christine Tyrell? Dutch liquorice - strong, unusual, flavorsome, tangy and addictive. If you have read any of my other reviews you will know that I have a weakness, not so much for women (I met my wife in 1966 and our eyes have been only for each other ever since) but for women jazz singers. I refuse to rank them, but I will say that any CD with Christine Tyrell on it I have to have. Combine Christine with Phil Mason and his boys and you have another Lake CD that you will have to add to your collection.
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