top of page

MORE BLOGS & POSTS:

⭐⭐⭐⭐ in JAZZWISE

Updated: May 23

STRICTLY SMOKIN & FRIENDS

"Compelling writing, tear-away execution, and a bevy of star guests excelling: a shoe-in for my 2024 Top Ten."

North-East based trumpeter Lamb founded the Strictly Smokin’ Big Band in 2004 (see story in Jazzwise 295) and has kept it going ever since. Now comes this new release, the third in a series of crowd-funded albums and what a corker it is. None of the tracks recreate any kind of past glory: Lamb likes to emphasise ‘the element of surprise’ as the band (and their stellar guests) tackle a set of standards (and one original), each cleverly re-imagined.


The opening ‘Softly As In A Morning Sunrise’ sets the pace, as the trumpet collective shouts out the theme, partly a cappella, three of them including Lamb soloing brightly, with Lovat’s high-note finish the bravura touch. Stanley eases into ‘Cool Struttin’, the horns with him, the writing cushioning his chunky sounds, Toms clear-toned in his solo. Great to hear Stanley in this setting. Following a soulful reading of ‘Love For Sale’ by Gibbons, it’s Nightingale at his ribald best on ‘Sweet and Lovely’, assertive and blisteringly inventive throughout, the band on song behind him.


Adams has the very mellow ‘Pete Kelly’s Blues’ to himself: his cornet control and poise a delight to hear, as he ebbs and flows, tone, and attack just right. Strong is Sinatra-ish on an engaging ‘Devil May Care’ before Lockrane is heard on flute (not cornet as billed!) on George Duke’s funky ‘Daisy Mae’ and Alan Barnes sweeps all before him on ‘Airegin’ ahead of Booth’s spirited soprano on his own groove-built ‘Twitterbug Waltz’. Compelling writing, tear-away execution, and a bevy of star guests excelling: a shoe-in for my 2024 Top Ten.


Author: Peter Vacher

36 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page