Nat Birchall Meets Al Breadwinner ‘Sounds Almighty’ LP/DIG (Tradition Disc) 5/5

It’s often said, that when you hear specific songs, specific music, you travel to an imagined place and time, to a gathering, a grounation, where musicians come to share their works as one collective entity. Imagine, Rockfort or Waireika Hill, Jamaica. A fire burns, the chalices blaze, the tree frogs do their percussive background orchestra thing and the players of instruments play for hours, drums, bass, bingi, guitar, and those horns, those magical horns, and specifically that trombone, all come together in one long all night righteous session. Tune after tune, dub after dub, with solos just going, just trekking, trodding along with no sense of a structured finishing time. The solos speak to you in an aesthetic language. There are no words to give obvious or implicit meaning. No singer or MC’s to preach – just music, just dub and horns. Moreover, that trombone, the deepest of instruments (and hardest to play) for Dub’s heavyweight basslines and stepping drum patterns, floats over the top of things like the best cloud of herb you have never smoked.

When all that can happen from a studio somewhere in the UK in a terraced house over several grey rainy days somewhere ‘up north’ then the imagined place you are taken to through the music is like a miraculous revelation. Music can make your mind travel like that, this release is a testament to the impact, and journey Vintage Dub Music has taken over the decades.

When you combine a jazz player, a dub man, and an exceptional trombone genius – you get a magic mix cooked for maximum satisfaction. ‘Sounds Almighty’ – Nat Birchall Meets Al Breadwinner featuring Vin Gordon – aka Don Drummond Jnr – is a set mixed in full analogue style by Al Breadwinner at The Bakery Studios in Manchester with the mission of combining jazz and dub as one. It’s not an easy process. Often people put horns on dub tracks just for the sake of having them dubbed out with maximum reverb and delay and yes it can work but it gets too functional too obvious, too boring. Not true on this release. Everything just blends as one mystical analogue natural vibe with that mournful trombone leading the way from Vin Gordon. The trombone is such a righteous instrument, you feel every note, every breath and sound. ‘In The Hills’ articulates this vibe between horns, trombone then sax followed by trumpet, a riding cymbal, drums, dread bassline and those dubbed out atmospherics that Al Breadwinner is so good at. The release is out on Tradition Disc, a collaborative label formed by Nat Birchall and Al Breadwinner. A personal favourite ‘Hail Don D Jnr’, because it just takes me back to the great players, the mighty sounds, Don Drummond, Rico, Nambo Robinson, the musical road warriors who blew their horns north south-east and west. And just to know those vintage sounds and vibes are still coming out fresh from the press, on vinyl is a respectful testament to these greats of the past. It is also a big salute to the youths, the players of today who despite all odds, keep this music alive by moving ever forward. Big respect. Goosebumps all over…

Haji Mike