Various ‘Cool Heat: The Best of CTI Records’ 2CD (Robinsongs/Cherry Red) 4/5

CTI records was the brainchild of producer Creed Taylor who in the mid-late 1960s had produced some of the greats while working at A & M records and these included the orchestrated and commercially most albums of guitarist Wes Montgomery, the solo albums of Antonio Carlos Jobim and the larger ensemble recordings of Quincy Jones, not to mention the genial alto saxophonist Paul Desmond.

Distinctive and glossy photo cover art graced the new CTI label which began in 1970 (and not without recalling the paintings of David Hockney in some respects), but the quality of the gatefold sleeves was equalled by that of the recordings themselves, which were at Rudy Van Gelder’s studios where so many classic Blue Note, but also Impulse! albums, had been made. This new anthology really only has one serious rival and that is the 2015 Sony 4CD box set, ‘CTI Records: the cool revolution’, but where that has the greater number of tracks (thirty-nine versus twenty-four this time round) and the wider range of musicians, the new compilation focuses firmly on the funkier side of the tracks, including examples of the Kudu affiliate label, and thankfully there are only five tracks that clash between the two releases. For straight ahead jazz lovers, the Sony set will be a first choice, but for more casual listeners who prefer the soundtrack and Blaxploitation film influences, then the new 2CD set will prove irresistible, especially if you are a fan of sampling. Moreover, it covers a wider period taking in 1970 to 1980.

Keyboardists predominate on CTI and Brazilian Eumir Deodato a full decade before becoming a hit producer with a revamped incarnation of Kool and the Gang, enjoyed a hit in his own right with a funkified take on the classical piece, ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’, and this heralded a new era of fusion-inflected jazz. Fellow Latin American, and keyboardist, Argentine Lalo Schifrin was already a successful Hollywood composer (‘Bullit’ among many other pieces), but laid down two CTI albums of which ‘Jaws’ was typically gritty. Bassist Ron Carter unexpectedly turns up on ‘Barreta’s theme’ from ‘Keep your eye on the sparrow’, while Hubert Laws’ ‘The Chicago theme (Love loop)’ has become a favourite of hip-hop fans and samplers alike.

More traditional Hammond grooves could still combine with funk and Lonnie Smith’s ‘Mama Wailer’ leads on logically from his late 1960s Blue Note recordings, while Johnny Hammond broke new ground on multiple keyboards and here offers up ‘Breakout’.

Vocalists were not neglected at CTI and Kudu and Taylor himself had enjoyed producing Astrud Gilberto while working at Verve. Esther Phillips was by some distance the most successful of the singers and little wonder then, that there should be two examples of her craft, with the hit reworking of ‘What A Difference A Day Makes’, formerly a hit for Dinah Washington in the early 1960s, and closing the anthology, the classic cover of Gil Scott-Heron’s ‘Home Is Where The Hatred Is’. A separate anthology of the work of Esther Phillips will shortly be reviewed in these columns. Nina Simone recorded a one-off album for CTI and the title track, ‘Baltimore’ has stood the test of time remarkably well and with the reggae-tinged undercurrent one hears Simone in an altogether different light. It is a pity further albums were not recorded with her because this easily rivals anything that Ms. Simone recorded in the rest of the decade. A couple of further vocal tracks indicate that CTI/Kudu was not averse to new trends in black music with ‘Could Heaven Ever Be Like This’, by Idris Muhammad, a classy take on the disco idiom, while George ‘Bad’ Benson never sounded funkier than on ‘Supership’, which is fully deserving of a musical reboot. He turns up as an instrumentalist of some repute in a guitar-flute duet on the lovely ‘Flute Song’.

Some of the major instrumental pieces that CTI became rightly famous for are included such as Freddie Hubbard’s ‘Red clay’ and Stanley Turrentine’s ‘Sugar’, while keyboardist Bob James enjoyed several hit albums of which the instrumental ‘Westchester Lady’ is but one example and one of the most sampled and loved among younger listeners. The decade ended with the super collective Fuse One featuring Stanley Clarke, John McLaughlin, Tony Williams and a host of others. Keyboardist Ronnie Foster penned ‘Grand Prix’, featured here.

There are a few absences which would have enhanced the selection as a whole. However, these are but minor quibbles to the wider panoramic view which is provided. Randy Weston recorded just one album for the label in ‘Blue Moses’ and an example of that would have added to the wider picture, with Grover Washington Jr. on saxophone. Furthermore, maybe the contributions of Airto Moreira from this era is deserving of a compilation as a leader in his own right to offer more of a Latin jazz perspective, or at the very least a pairing of two of his classic CTI albums. Likewise, Milt Jackson cut two excellent albums for the label of which the tracks ‘Sunflower’ and ‘Olinga’ have rightly become club favourites. Otherwise, a fine overview of the label’s more dance-oriented output and a useful starting block to explore the label more generally.

Tim Stenhouse

Daniel Toledo Trio & Pianohooligan ‘Atrium’ CD/DIG (For Tune) 5/5

Let’s be honest. It would be fair to say that there are many piano/bass/drums jazz trios out there. I don’t have a clue what the numbers are, but in recent years a week doesn’t seem to go by without a batch of new releases seeing the light of day. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining because there are a lot of these that I love. But there are also a few too many that just don’t quite cut it for one reason or another. So what makes a great trio? Well, to my mind, the answer can be narrowed down to this; either the music needs to be highly original, with a fresh slant giving new life to this well-loved genre, or the trio of musicians need to be so intuitively and collectively in tune with one another that the music they create together becomes something special. And I’m pleased to say that the latter definitely applies to this release.

On “Atrium” Ecuadorian bassist Daniel Toledo has teamed up with Swedish drummer Paul Svanberg and Polish pianist Piotr Orzechowski (Pianohooligan). The three musicians are a perfect match for one another, creating some highly engaging music on a level that would suggest the threesome have been working together for years. In fact, this is their first recording together, one which shifts effortlessly from light to dark, from moody to playful, from atmospheric to expressive.

The jazz performed on this session is melodic, lyrical, thoughtful and skillful. All three musicians have to take equal credit for the music they are making. And surely that is the essence of a great trio. There are a few influences that spring to mind whilst listening to this album. “Abridged Perspective” reminds me of the Bobo Stenson Trio, deceptively light, gradually revealing hidden depths of breathless beauty. There are touches of Marcin Wasilewski Trio as I listen to the gorgeously cool and sumptuous romanticism of “Horyzont”. And “Margins” enjoys a definite Keith Jarrett Trio in playful mood feel to it.

“Atrium” is a classic example of three excellent musicians coming together to make music that could be said to be better than the sum of its parts. A lovely album well worth discovering.

Mike Gates

Lou Donaldson ‘Four Classic Albums’ 2CD (Avid) 4/5

If anyone personified the mid-late 1950s Blue Note sound, then alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson would surely be a prime candidate. His laid back style that effortlessly took on board blues, bop and Latin flavours proved irresistible and endeared him to a wider public, especially those that might have heard his 45s on the jukeboxes of the day.

This value for money four LPs on two CDs does not break any new ground, and most are available elsewhere, but collectively they add up to a representative portrait of Donaldson between 1957 and 1961, and in a variety of guises. As ever with Avid re-issues, the original vinyl notes plus full discographical details make for unbeatable offerings and the music is certainly up to scratch.

If any album was definitive Lou Donaldson then ‘Blues Walk’ would probably beat the rest and the relaxed blues feel allied with a Latin undercurrent courtesy of percussionist Ray Barretto permeates the entire album. The title track makes for essential listening and testimony to Donaldson’s own compositional talents. Three of the five pieces are originals with ‘Play Ray’ and ‘Callin’ All Cats’ the perfect jazz to achieve hipsterdom. Three years later, ‘Gravy Train’ would take the Latin and blues influences a step further, with Alec Dorsey on congas this time round and a stunning take on ‘South Of The Border’, which became a hit on the dance floors again in the mid-1980s when it was re-issued on the first of the ‘Blue Bossa’ compilations. Nothing quite tops that number but ‘Avalon’ and ‘Candy’ are fine melodic numbers.

The second CD goes back to the bop era with the 1957 album, ‘Takes’ Off’ featuring an extended brass section of Curtis Fuller and Donald Byrd, with Donaldson rediscovering his love of Charlie Parker on a cover of ‘Dewey Square’. Trumpeter Byrd is in inspired form and blows hard on Gillespie’s ‘Groovin’ High’, while pianist Sonny Clark plays a largely supportive role. For the beginnings of the funkier side of Donaldson the 1961 album ‘Here ‘Tis’ impresses with ‘Baby Face’ Willette on Hammond organ and Grant Green on guitar. A relaxed take on ‘A Foggy Day’ contrasts with the mid-tempo groove of ‘Watusi’. The original title track has that timeless quality that one always associates with Lou Donaldson’s early period output. Nothing revolutionary, but tasty sounding music all the same,

For a later and altogether funkier pairing of Blue Note albums, why not consider the following for a future re-issue together: ‘Alligator Boogaloo’/’Everything I Play Is Funky’/ ‘Hot Dog’/ ‘Say It Loud!’.

Tim Stenhouse

Stephen McCraven ‘Killing Us Hardly’ (Private Press) 4/5

If you look at Stephen McCraven’s CV, he has pulled almost every single thread on the ball of twine of jazz that it’s more of a tumbleweed. From gospel to fusion, to funk to blues, he has applied himself and his kit to most with a progressive vigour, but with the rare ability to still be largely accessible and inclusive. This more mosaic, rather than genre-railroaded, approach is the best way to look at Killing Us Hardly. Press release cynicism and mockery is one of my favourite hobbies, aside from watercolour, but I was left a little unsatisfied with the rather helpful adjectives used in the one for this record. The phrase “psychedelic fresco” seems to capture this record rather well, but perhaps I wouldn’t look for too much weirdness in the psychedelia, more a sincere enthusiasm and maniacal grin.

The core of Killing is McCraven’s versatile handling of the drumming and steady leadership of the grooves. Pleasantly, and confidently, placed as the governing but unobtrusive band leader, slightly behind in the mix, McCraven could be said to be back-seat-driving all the way. This I mean as a benefit to the record rather than an insult. The ambitiously large range of musicians on show throughout the twelve tracks would at first seem to be a gargantuan task in creating cohesion, resisting show-boating or sacrificing elements to mere vignettes, but McCraven and the producers have managed it. Each track has a definite sense of itself and each works as a part of an identifiable whole.

Before a more detailed glance over the tracks on show, I would like to state that the vocals and lyrics on Killing are not all to my taste. I personally found almost all vocals to distract me from the music. If one is looking for something more esoteric, conceptual and thought-provoking, I would offer the suggestion to not listen too hard to the lyrics. For an example, however, of how uninitiated (and rather foolish) I wondered if “B M F” stood for “Bromsgrove Motor Factors” (a splendid second-hand dealership in the midlands), before I realised the entire track was a sort of homage to Isaac Haye’s “Theme from Shaft”. This is merely a taste thing. There are clear messages of freedom, community and sense of belonging. Indeed, the international feel of the vocal performances is a fine part of the record, giving a noble sense of a global effort, but I often felt that I wanted to get to the breaks and back to the grooves. The exception for me is the fusion-croonin’ on the tracks “Chloe” and “Berlin”, which are odd, simple and smooth.

Musically, however, it is hard to give an effective summary due to the wealth of content on offer, but I will give it a go. A stand-out thread is the Hammond by Jean Wende and the late Tom McClung. I have a slight fondness for the sound of Hammond when done well, and certainly both players smear and stab their way through any track they are on (see “Same Ol’ Deal”). Often it is hard to pick the percussion apart from McCraven’s kit, but this is an effective and successful thing. The rhythmic bond is at times joyously busy (see “We Can’t Stand It”). The bass guitar stays fairly steady, but is let loose wonderfully on “Elisa”, which is unto itself a sort of space-luau lounge affair. The whole track reminded me of the 1904 classic “Come Take A Trip In My Airship” sung by Welsh baritone JW Myers (but that might just be me), but with far more sass.

There are a lot of great moments on Killing, diving between funk, blues, fusion, jazz and then more expansive and freer parts (the stand-out final track “Bad Rabbit”). But there is constantly the looming presence of McCraven’s sometimes intense, sometimes laid-back, sometimes sparse and sometimes bustling drumming. Always there, but never dominating or over-shadowing other players. This is the record’s success; a great example of collaborative playing, a wide-ensemble working well, and considering the scope (and my own picky cynicism) there’s so much to find you’re bound to love some and love some less. One, however, cannot help but enjoy and celebrate the cheerful, enthusiastic and chock-full-of-musicianship that Killing Us Hardly is.

Thomas G.J. Sharpe

Charlie Byrd ‘Sixties Byrd: Charlie Byrd Plays Today’s Great Hits’ CD (ÉL/Cherry Red) 3/5

Guitarist Charlie Byrd takes the easy listening route on this relaxed set of mid-late 1960s Columbia album selections with the emphasis firmly on covering pop tunes. Byrd first came to prominence as one of the early jazz musicians to embrace the bossa nova craze in Brazil and that is not forgotten here with a faithful take on, ‘The Girl from Ipanema’, with plucked strings intro and a bossa drum beat. Further gentle bossa outings here include the evergreen, ‘Meditation’, and a relaxed strings laden interpretation of, ‘Corcovado’.

The Beatles were beginning to score big in the United States and Byrd takes on a double dose of Lennon and McCartney, with ‘Michelle’ featuring a string quartet, while, ‘Norwegian wood’, includes flamenco guitar, brass and voicings. Folksier influences emerge on guitar and delicate brass phrasings to Simon and Garfunkel’s tour de force, ‘Scarborough fair’, and to a compilation highlight of, ‘A taste of honey’, with a solo guitar intro that breaks into an orchestrated pop beat. Classical hues are tastefully deployed by Byrd on, ‘Sunday Mornin’.

Sometimes, the pop formula is too syrupy as on, ‘Galveston’, and, ‘Up, up and away’, but in fairness Charlie Byrd can and does make up for this on the Latinized drums and vibes of the melodic, ‘Who is gonna love me’, with intricate guitar work and on the haunting, ‘Lullaby for Rosemary’s Baby’. a piece taken from a then hip Roman Polanski film soundtrack and featuring piccolo and flute. Jazz fans may wince at some of the titles covered, but Byrd is a fine guitarist and one who can lend his ear to practically any tune and make something tasteful out of it. Composer Jimmy Webb was clearly catching Byrd’s ear for he further attempts, ‘Wichita Lineman’, and, ‘By the time I get to Phoenix’, the latter performed as a ballad, with a duet between guitar and flute. The non-specialist will find much to enjoy here and even guitar aficionados cannot fail but be impressed by Byrd’s subtle arrangements.

Tim Stenhouse

Binker and Moses ‘Journey To The Mountain Of Forever’ 2LP/2CD/DIG (Gearbox) 4/5

Binker Goulding and Moses Boyd burst onto the jazz scene in 2015 with their debut album Dem Ones (Gearbox Records). This exciting young saxophone and drums duo hail from either side of the river Thames. Having met eight years ago, the duo toured extensively as part of Zara McFarlane’s band, and it was during the on-stage sound checks with McFarlane that Binker and Moses started developing their duo improvisations, eventually bringing the idea of recording them to the attention of Gearbox Records, the vinyl-led label and vinyl mastering studio.

The release of “Dem Ones” earned the duo a string of awards including Best Jazz Act at the 2015 MOBO awards, and two wins at the Jazz FM Awards 2016. The album showed much promise, with an energy and freshness to it that captured the duo’s improvisations extremely well.

“Journey To The Mountain Of Forever” has lost none of the previous release’s exuberance and energy, but there is an added maturity to this, their second album. There is a more varied musical approach to this session, with a wonderful inventiveness and spirit that harks back to the heady days of Coltrane’s musical explorations, whilst at the same time brimming with new life and confidence, undoubtedly reaching out to old and new jazz audiences alike.

A double album, record one is a duo set, whilst record two expands outwards with special guests including legendary saxophonist Evan Parker and trumpeter Byron Wallen. Also featured are Tori Handsley on harp, Sarathy Korwar on tabla, and Yussef Dayes on drums.

The album opener “Departure” is a stunning piece of music. Displaying all of the duo’s skill and prowess, it is rich in melody, whilst still retaining its improvisational qualities. Throughout this set the interplay and understanding between the two musicians is exemplary, and the groovier, funkier “Intoxication from the Jahvmonishi Leaves” has an infectious feel to it that is impossible to ignore. The creativity is quite startling at times, and there is happily no let-up from the duo as they continue to impress, especially on the tracks “The Shaman’s Chant” and “Leaving The Now Behind”.

The second set is a little more exploratory and certainly no less expressive. Some of the collaborations however, work better than others. “The Valley of The Ultra Blacks” floats with excessive energy as the drums set the scene for some burning rhythms and wildly beautiful improv. There’s a gorgeous graceful air to “Gifts from the vibrations of light”, the harp playing being particularly worthy of note. “Ritual of the root” has an almost trad feel to it to begin with, it’s bluesy overtones soon shaken to the core by the sax and trumpet duelling. “Echoes From The Other Side” is also a fabulous piece, with its spiritual atmosphere one to savour.

Complete with resplendent sleeve artwork, reminiscent of the late 60’s/ early 70’s Jazz/rock fusion era, this is definitely an album that does more than laying down a marker for Binker and Moses, it shows just how seriously good this duo are, and how much more they still have to offer. Can’t wait for the next instalment.

Mike Gates

Ms. Irene Renee ‘Ubiquitous Soul’ CD/DIG (D.A.P.) 4/5

The laser flicker has been working overtime on this modern long player since it landed, and in places it really is superb. Let’s go straight to the real meat then. “Court of Love” is worth the price of the album alone, think Ursula Ricks’ “Sweet Tenderness” and your bang on point, with regular club plays this is destined for anthem status and could quite easily take over Soul Radio, 2 step strolling at its heavenly best. Dropping the pace with “Unpredictable” perfect for an RnB rub then watch it fly. Lovely interaction between the lead and the male harmonies. The meandering “Runnin” is a sunny Sunday afternoon play, it’s the type of tune the wonderful Regina Bell would have embraced, which really showcases Ms. Renee’s voice, so much space in the mix to fill with this superb voice. I’ve also fallen for the toe-tapper, “Shinin Bright”, which when turned up loud impresses greatly. The sound is synth dominated and bassy but all done with class, you know me – synths don’t exactly get me going, but there are the occasional exceptions.

“I’d Rather” offers up a different sound, slight jazz influences, and the rim of the skins being the percussion you hear the most, this is a real grower with subtle muted horns popping up, the pace picks up slightly and the whole tune morphs into a very classy dancer.“Smile” carries on that subtle groove and offers up a classy head-nodder.

The rest of the album hits the spot in places, a couple of interludes waste time and space but that’s a small price to pay. An excellent album and I’ve no doubt she will be back with another. Born in Detroit and having been dubbed the ‘Princess of Soul’ now residing in New York, she’s been likened to an array of established names in the soul/RnB world, when I listen to this album I don’t here anyone else in her voice which in 2017 is a very good thing, drop the comparisons girl and just do your stuff; you are good enough. Available in both digital download and a physical cd at various on-line outlets.

Brian Goucher

Hyeseon Hong Jazz Orchestra ‘EE-YA-GI’ (MAMA) 4/5

Hyeseon Hong is a native of Seoul, South Korea. A Jazz arranger and composer, she has been living in New York now for several years, and “EE-YA-GI” is her debut album. Blending Korean and Western cultures, together with her Jazz orchestra she successfully mixes elements of classical music, modern big band jazz and traditional Korean music to create a compelling and rich tapestry of sound.

This project grew from a jazz orchestra rehearsal that Hong leads. The orchestra meets regularly and has grown steadily over the years. The album features an 18 piece orchestra comprising some of the finest musicians in New York. As an admirer of Maria Schneider’s music, Hong was thrilled to have two of Schneider’s leading performers join her for this recording. Acclaimed musicians, saxophonist Rich Perry and trumpeter Ingrid Jensen are featured performers throughout the session.

“EE-YA-GI” means “stories” in Korean, and each of the seven compositions are self-contained stories. Although many of the tunes are inspired by traditional Korean stories, the resulting music is perhaps surprisingly American-sounding. There are natural elements of cross-cultural themes within the music itself, but overall one might think Hong is more of a native New Yorker than a native Korean. That said, one can’t fault the skill and depth of the whole project, with very strong compositions at times exuding beauty, elegance and no shortage of excitement.

This engagingly expansive and original album begins with “Harvest Dance: Story of Thanksgiving”, a piece inspired by a traditional Korean rhythm played by farmers who performed it to stimulate the flow of heavenly and terrestrial energies in hopes of a good harvest. One of the strengths of the recording is the quality of the soloing. Always in keeping with the melodic mood of the music, the performances are extremely strong from all involved. “Friends or lovers: story of youth battling with love” is a swing tune that captures well the energy and complexities of youthful love. There’s a distinctive Latin flavour to “Para Mi Amigo Distante: Story of long lost friends”, whilst “Boat Song: Story of my heritage” is a richly rewarding tune that plays on lovely melodic folk traditions. “Disappearing in Foam: Story of girlhood” is based on a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, and “Trash Digging Queen: Story of Nica the dog”, is one of my favourite tracks on the album, being enjoyably playful and very inventive. “Love Story: Story of first love” is warm and graceful and makes for a soft, thoughtful end to the album.

Whilst Hong’s writing is solidly based on the big band swing tradition, she manages to create a modern twist here, and this is an enticingly colourful and energetic debut.

Mike Gates

Alpha Steppa ‘3rd Kingdom’ (Steppas) 4/5

‘Outernational’ as a word cannot be found in most official dictionaries but it is a vital concept to Dub music. Two key elements of Dub which drew me in decades ago are borderless and that other worldly element. It can sound like something from out of space and yet can sound so earthy when rooted to sound system culture. Alpha Steppa is one lucky youth. Having spent the last year touring the world he comes back with his new release bringing together people from different parts of the globe who he had encountered whilst making ‘3rd Kingdom’. Dub comes from everywhere now more than ever. It’s a real worldwide force and Alpha Steppa takes it forward through the tradition of the music with some influences of dubstep and world music. 12 tunes and 12 dubs on the double CD release keeps you busy selecting through the night and there are some mighty collaborations as well. ‘Jah Jah Creation’ is one of them. I was fortunate enough a few weeks ago to spend a day with the humble giant of a mic chanter known as Ras Tinny reasoning on his plot of land, which he farms in Bally Castle, County Mayo, Ireland.

Tinny, originally from Surinam, has one of the most original voices and vocal deliveries heard in ages and he smiled when I mentioned ‘Jah Jah Creation’ the tune he is featured on alongside Jonah Dan and Dan Fe. Having spent that day with him, I must say the lyrics on this song ring true to his daily life on that beautiful land overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. ‘Liberation’ is the most experimental tune on the LP. Building up into an alternative bass-heavy groover. It shuffles along with all kinds of sounds and samples, a chicken perhaps, a dog breathing, bells clanging and the odd kind of syncopation leads you back to the top for another play (I have to figure a way to drop this into a DJ set somehow).

‘Heart Made of Stone’ is based around The Viceroys’ classic and is covered well by Sista Iwa. But this is also a slight weakness of the release. While this cover works well having a charm of its own, some other songs tend to rely on familiar melodies which don’t work as well vocally. Also while experimentation is good, the dips into dubstep tend to sound a bit mechanical and processed – i.e. ‘Soulfire’. But ‘Prophecies Unfold’ featuring Cologne balances things out a bit more. It is experimental as well but in a different kind of organic and minimal way, which draws you into drop the dub version as well and venture more forward on the galactic journey.

Haji Mike

Pablo Moses ‘The Itinuation’ (Grounded Music) 4/5

His prominence is probably accepted as being between 1975-1983, yet Pablo Moses has released well over a dozen albums during his career, his first being of course ‘Revolutionary Dream’ (arguably his most famous) back in ’75 on Jigsaw, followed by album releases on Island Records in 1980 and other labels during the 80s & 90s.

When I listen to Pablo’s vocal deliveries I’m also drawn to the vocal deliveries of Culture and at times Mikey Dread, indeed in my ‘back-in-the-day’ vinyl album box I would have had those three artists beside each other.

So what do we have here? This brand new offering released on the Grounded Music label last month is an album entitled ‘Itinuation’, and for me, this is a summer album to let run without interruption from start to finish, a sound backdrop to a small gathering of friends on one’s terrace, whilst chatting and enjoying whatever takes your fancy, and exactly what we did whilst first listening to the releases. A nice easy varied tempo that won’t set the reggae world on fire, yet tracks like ‘Living In Babylon’, with its retro 70s synth hooks & stabs, and ‘Murder’ demands one’s ears as the chatting on our terrace subsides for a few minutes allowing the bass lines to arrive through the air and soothe the party atmosphere.

There are varied moods and tempo’s on this release, there’s a song on this album for everyone, the saxophone playing on the track ‘Attitude’ is wonderfully entertaining, the title track of the album ‘Itinuation’ has an anthemic quality to it – the show closer at a gig one might say. Then there is the album closer, ‘Open Your Minds’, with a personal message from Pablo combined with a music score giving us a real dancing foot tapper Caribbean party vibe. The band are having fun.

This 12 tracker would make a bigger impact on me if it were trimmed down to say 8 or 9 tracks. I felt 4 tunes on this release were filler cuts and there are a couple of average tunes too, but that doesn’t mean they will feel the same for you. It’s actually entertaining, a lovely backdrop to an evening with friends. It lacks that ‘little something’ from days of old… but we mustn’t live in the past, those late 1970s true reggae sound recordings are great for a reason, and we can’t have everything can we?

Gibsy Rhodes

travelling the spaceways since 1993