The Jazz Project

May 2019

193

So Hot •••
Johnny Brit, trumpeter
One of the best tracks from Johnny Brit’s new album is the soulful and jazzy “Highway 10,” with the trumpeter romping on the flugelhorn, trumpet, keyboards, Moog, strings, bass and programming. Drummer Marcus Williams and percussionist Sean Lawson help drive the funky rhythms and guitarist Nils and tenor saxophonist Bobby English add a vibrant bouquet of harmonies. The album is the trumpeter-singer’s first smooth/contemporary jazz outing, offering eight instrumentals and four vocal tunes. The disc features eleven of Mr. Britt’s originals along with a sensual revision of Minnie Riperton’s lovestruck “Loving You” sung by the horn man. Along for the session is seminal urban-jazz saxophonist Najee who dials up the heat on “Hot Fun In The Summer.” Mr. Britt utilizes the album to introduce his 20-year-old son, Josh Britt, who plays acoustic guitar on “Loving You” and muted trumpet opposite his father’s flugelhorn on the song inspired by his birth, “Heaven Sent.”

The Search For Peace •••
BT ALC Big Band
This 19-piece Boston big band boasts a 13-piece horn section and it is obvious on its latest album, “The Search For Peace,” which is anything but peaceful. The bombardment of funk and jazz, written by trombonist Brian Thomas and trumpeter Alex Lee-Clark and produced by Alan Evans (Soulive), seeks to breathe new life into big band and music education. After researching big band recordings of the 1960s and 70s, Mr. Evans decided on an old-school approach to capture the high-volt energy of BT ALC Big Band’s live performance. He propped up one omnidirectional microphone in front of each of the three horn sections – five saxophonists, four trumpeters and four trombonists – in the same studio as the rhythm and melody players, letting them rip through the seven compositions that comprise “The Search For Peace.” The result is an organic sound that jukes and jives, harnessing the vim and vigor of the powerful posse. The album encapsulates the group’s vintage brand of rhythms and grooves they call “big band funk,” an explosive mashup of Duke Ellington and Count Basie meets James Brown and Parliament Funkadelic. Listen closely and you’ll detect some African funk and reggae inflections on this set as well.

According to Mr. Lee-Clark one of their goals is updating the music they play when they are teaching young musicians. “Most of us started out in a band like this in school,” he explains to us, “and it played a huge part in igniting our passion for music. We firmly believe that the best way we can keep igniting that passion is not just to teach them to play every standard big band chart with precision and good intonation, but to show how they themselves can create new music, how they can push the art forward. We want The Search For Peace to be a springboard for us to help bring big band music and music education into the present day. The album contains the following songs: “Soft-Shoe,” “Dance,” “Make It Your Job,” “The Search For Peace,” “Tune For Lou,” “Live 9,” and “Paging Dr. Cooperman.”

The album encapsulates the group’s vintage brand of rhythms and grooves they call “big band funk,” an explosive mashup of Duke Ellington and Count Basie meets James Brown and Parliament Funkadelic. Listen closely and you’ll detect some African funk and reggae inflections on this set as well.