Monday, 23 February 2009

Beggar & Co Feat.The Funk Jazz Collective - Brass Strings 'n' Things

How timely this release comes, hot on the heels of the superb Light Of The World re-release “Round Trip” album on EMI Gold (recently reviewed.) That album contained 7 tracks from this SUPERB live set, and made it doubly worth the time and effort to purchase, but don't for a moment think that because you have the teasers that you don't need this set! Oh, far from it! Recorded live at the wonderful Jazz Café in London. The performance is tighter than a mosquito's tweeter, as it has been said, and it is only the odd snatch of audience appreciation that belies the fact that this is NOT a studio set! Now, there's talent for you! The funk really is on fire throughout the set. It's pedigree runs like a streak throughout the set and what a phenomenal reading of Roy Ayers' classic “Evolution” to kick off the set; Orphy Robinson filling Roy's shoes effortlessly. Billy Osborne and Camelle Hinds underpin the set with their solid and stoical drumming. The excellent “Cosmic Lust” has long been a meat 'n 2 veg inclusion for the gang and the magic is definitely still there. In fact, the atmosphere is tangible – it feels like a lot of joy, love and dedication went into this performance. Miss them at your peril. “I Like It” hits you with all the force you would expect, the brass punches, the bass does it's job and the sax licks at you and has you caught up with the crowd – all from the comfort of your own home! There's a guitar rhythm to die for on “Pete's Crusade” which would make the Blackbyrds proud! Fans of brass will love the Kool & The Gang-like version of Tom Browne's classic “Throw Down” and the trumpet solos really enhance it too, along with tortured and edgy sax. “I'm So Happy” - a classic – is given a real good workout with a reggae twist , and Camelle Hinds steps forward to deliver Central Line's evergreen “Nature Boy”. This is a gentleman who can sing, and his beautiful vocals over the muted trumpet allows the Latin piano rhythm and flute to whisk you away. As you would expect, “London Town” features and the vibes are delicious! The boys really are at home on this groove and the infectious rhythm still gets you as much now as it did way back in 1980. Not being a fan of live sets, part of me didn't relish this set but the proof of the pudding was definitely in the hearing. An excellent act, excellent music and an excellent venue. All captured on one CD. How good is that?!

Barry Towler