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Brassroots - Brassroots

  by Lisa Torem

published: 8 / 10 / 2009



Brassroots - Brassroots
Label: Brassroots
Format: CD

intro

Spirit and upbeat collection primarily of pop and rock reworkings on debut mini-album from jazz outfit Brassroots, the new band of acclaimed Texas-born and now London-based trombonist and musician, Jerome Haper


If you still harbour nightmares about your high-school marching band, snap out of it. Brassroots' self-titled debut, recorded in London, puts brass back up where it belongs. The band consists of Jerome Harper and Thom Wooley on trombones, Achilleas Anastasopoulos and Charlie Shuttler on trumpets, Charly Richardson on sax, David Aird on tuba, Graham Fox and Craig Boorman on percussion From the classic black and white photographed cover to it’s diverse assortment of tracks, each heralding a unique story, ‘Brassroots’ delivers an exciting jazz-funk experience. Globe-trotting Jerome Harper, born in New York, raised in Texas and now a favourite on the London music scene, executive produced and provided most of the arrangements – many which were originally executed by pop and rock vocalists. According to Harper, "I thought the flow of the album was crucial as they are all covers. We are quite a young band but had been asked to do some pretty big festival shows – Brassroots used the CD to promote ourselves to the huge crowds. We decided to just record covers on the EP and then release our first original as a single, which is coming soon by the way." "This CD really means a lot to me because it represents what Brassroots are capable of when we really buckle down and decide to work together as a group. I’m extremely lucky to work with a group of incredible musicians and arrangers that take so much of the hard work off of me that I’m unable to," he adds. The tracking order was deliberately thought through – mellow, strong, melodious, funky - ‘Liberian Girl’ was the final single from Michael Jackson’s ’87 album ‘Bad,’ ‘Seven Nation Army’ was off alt.rock the White Stripe’s’ release ‘Elephant.’ And ’Karma Police’ was drawn from Radiohead’s ‘Ok, Computer’ album. But, ‘Misirlou’ has it’s own history. This Greek word references a ‘Muslim-Egyptian woman’ of "cross-faith." It was first performed by Michalis Patrinos in 1927. But, in 1941, Greek-American composer Nick Roubanis popularized it as a jazz instrumental arrangement Though it’s been played numerously at world-wide celebrations since then, ‘Brassroots’ puts its own twist on this standard – making the oriental-tinged ‘head’ just a little more salsa-inflected and bringing the underlying party theme upfront with a resounding chorus from the players. ‘Gemini Rising’ has an irresistible melodic line and the ‘Good Life’ immediately shows off the ensemble’s ability to work side by side. Percussion overall is tempestuous when necessary and courteously respectful when the brass steps it up. Though the seven-track CD is purely instrumental, there’s somehow a temptation to sing along. Maybe it’s because, though the arrangements are highly-textured, rich and often comical – there’s a spaciousness that exists here – even when several lines occur simultaneously. The resulting ensemble work is concise, creatively punchy and devoid of prima dona preponderance. I expected a sad ballad at some point, but was actually happy that none appeared. ‘Brassroots’ is a happy, spirited album and anything melancholic would have been a definite buzzkill.



Track Listing:-
1 Seven Nation Army
2 Gemini Rising
3 Occupation
4 Liberian Girl
5 Good LIfe
6 Karma Police
7 Misirlou



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