Monday, 9 February 2009

Allstars Collective - All About The Music

Crazy Beat records are very enthusiastic about this CD – they recommend you simply click the purchase button! I am very sceptical of any claims made until I have heard the set for myself, but having already heard it I can totally agree with their statement. This UK collaboration which features none other than Alan Gorrie and Hamish Stewart of the Average White Band as well as Jim Mullen, Matt Clackett on Sax, Guy Phethean on keys and vocals from Mary Pierce and Cutty Williams. This is no mock Incognito or the like; they are a wonderfully vibrant, fluid yet tight knit ensemble with their heads and hearts in the right places. All the music you will hear on this album is recorded, I presume, live and the atmosphere is full of verve. If this was a bottle of wine, I guess those in the know would call it fruity, cheeky and an instant vintage. Musically, instant vintage, is a very apt phrase to use. I am drawn back to the earthy days of the early 80s with this set. Its soul with more jazz than anything else – and even a stab at Reggae on their “On My Mind” track.
The set really does get into your face with such joviality that it cannot be ignored or dismissed. The superb opening track is called “Sometimes”, the summery vibe and soulful female lead is passionate and tinged with glee. This is a track that would be perfect for a hot summer's day (something we singularly lacked this year!) Lovers of Mojazz should connect with many songs; the guitar work reminds me of a bluesier George Benson / Norman Brown and the male vocals courtesy of the wonderful Hamish Stewart, even the horns are reminiscent of Jerry Hey at his best. What a mixture! “Star” is an instant winner for me, the flute and Benson-ish guitar win out here, and the Incognito-ish “Satisfied” adds more positivity to the proceedings. This is one CD that bases itself on hope, positivity and optimism. It radiates warmth, and the rhodes and soulful vocals do nothing but solidify my deep appreciation for what the collective are about.
am reminded of a jazzier, more lose Impromp2 with “Hey, Listen Up”. The dreamy keys and warm guitar are nothing less than sublime. I will definitely be dragging this track out whenever the suntan lotion needs to be slapped on next summer. “Treading Water” is a song with interesting lyrics. The situation being addressed suggests stagnation in an affair but the positivity and energetic rhythm along with some clever song writing exude positive state of mind and looking at life from a different – and lighter – perspective. At least by treading water one is not sinking! “Beautiful Day” speaks for itself, but the set closes on a very poignant note with the thoughtful, yet not barren, reading of the world today and all the troubles we all face. This is what I call a wholesome, holistic approach to music. The Allstar Collective are their own thing, and they have proved to be more than worthy of inclusion in my collection.

Barry Towler

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