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Bebop Spoken There

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Born This Day
Louis Armstrong and Steve Andrews.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

CD Review: Byron Wallen - Portrait

Byron Wallen (trumpet, flugelhorn, shells, piano, percussion); Rob Luft (guitar); Paul Michael (bass guitar); Rod Youngs (drums); Richard 'Olatunde' Baker (congas, talking drums - tracks 2, 4, 10); Plumcroft Primary School Class 3G & 3H (vocals - tracks 8, 9, 11)
(Review by Russell)

Portrait is Byron Wallen 'meditating on identity, culture amd what it means to belong.' Inspired by the sights, sounds and peoples of Woolwich, London, Wallen's trumpet and mellow flugelhorn suggest his compositions - twelve in total - were created over time, perhaps revisiting sites over and over again, at least in his mind if not the actual locations. 

Helping Wallen create this Twilight Jaguar Productions' album is an ace band - Rob Luft, guitar, Paul Michael, bass guitar, Rod Youngs, drums, and, on tracks 2, 4 and 10, Richard 'Olatunde' Baker, congas and talking drums - and class 3G and 3H from Plumcroft Primary School. The primary school's website states: Our school population is made up of a number of different traditions and backgrounds...

Traditions and backgrounds certainly inform the music heard on Portaits - the jazz is drawn from Caribbean influences, jazz-funk and soul with a nod to Chameleon-era Headhunters and Bitches Brew-era Miles. The contribution of the school children infuses the album with a refreshing optimism. 

Rob Luft, one of the busiest guitarists on the contemporary jazz scene, delivers, as do Michael, Youngs and Baker on a feel good album which is rather apposite for these times. 
Russell

Portrait by Byron Wallen is available on Twilight Jaguar Productions' label (cat. no. TJCD3). 

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