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Saturday, December 10, 2016

CD Review: New York Brass Band - Hardcore Horn


(Review by Lance).
A familiar sight on the streets of York and at weddings and corporate functions in and around the ancient streets of that renowned cathedral city - not to mention festivals further afield - the New York Brass Band bring a taste of present-day New Orleans to present-day North Yorkshire.
It's soulful and swinging, pulsating and percussive. I first heard them at the Cumberland Arms back in 2013. Then, I was informed, they were banned by the council from busking on the streets of their hometown because of causing traffic congestion. I don't know if the ban was ever rescinded - I can understand both sides of the argument - but I think it's fair to say that, wherever they play, they're going to draw a crowd.
On this disc, they're bumped up with several guests including Alan Barnes who plays a blistering solo on Better Get Hit in Your Soul which is the same number, with the added
H, as the Charles Mingus tune!
You Got the Love has a vocal by Grace Lancaster - lots of Lancasters in this Yorkshire band - and more super saxing, this time by Adrian Cox.
Al Morrison lays down some earthy guitar blues playing on Chico's Time paving the way for Jack Davis on trumpet.
These are just some of the delights, there are more. Alan Barnes' Crackers, written especially for the band, features the composer on soprano and Charlie Lancaster on trombone. Another is Tim Hurst's vocal on Easy (like Sunday morning). He does Lionel Ritchie proud and Adrian Cox's tenor break does no harm either.
Stuart Macdonald is best man at The Wedding, his poignant alto capturing the flavour of the Abdullah Ibrahim opus before the band segue into township mode for Lancaster, James', African Highlife. Dan Webster blows trumpet and Alan Barnes plays alto.
Grace L takes on the mantle of Amy W for Tears Dry on Their Own - The House of Lancaster is a truly noble dynasty although it is Tim Hurst who takes the trombone ride-out.
Strasbourg St. Denis features Jack Davis blowing lyrically and Al Morrison back on guitar in  a superb arrangement by Jack Lancaster of Roy Hargreaves' well-known composition.
Sweet Dreams are Made of This is perhaps as perfect an example as any as to how songs of more recent vintage are as jazz-friendly as GASbook items.
Title track, Hardcore Horns, has les tout ensemble, sans guests, blowing and soloing with wild abandon. A party showstopper.
Grace brings things to a close with Call me Al - quite an album!
Lance.
James Lancaster (sousaphone); John Settle (drums); Stuart Macdonald (saxes); Charlie Lancaster (trombone); Tim Hurst (trombone/vocal); Jack Davis, Dan Webster (trumpets) + (on various tracks) Al Morrison (guitar); Alan Barnes (saxes); Grace Lancaster (vocals); Andrew Cox (tenor); Simon Dennis (trumpet).

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