The Magnificent 7 Jazz Band present.....
"A Jazz Odyssey"
Irthling Records - IRMAG002
Amy Roberts - flute, clarinet, alto sax; Richard Exall - clarinet, alto sax, tenor sax, vocals and arrangements; Ben Cummings - trumpet, vocals; Ian Bateman - trombone; Craig Milverton - piano; Bill Coleman - double bass; Nick Millward - drums, vocals
Recorded at Ian Riley Studios, 2015
There may be a little hubris in the band name but when you consider that each member of the group has performed across the world as musicians in the bands of Chris Barber, Acker Bilk and Kenny Ball then you realise that this is a justified label.
For their second outing on CD since forming in 2013 Richard has assembled a set of tunes that acknowledge the band's former employers and showcases newer material in an attempt to broaden the palette of their audience.
After an introduction by Richard Strauss, the album settles down into a great selection of jazz that showcases the melodic and solo chops of the band. Ian Bateman evokes a true Ellingtonian trombone sound in his rendition of Caravan with a stunning solo from him and pianist Craig Milverton. This tune, amongst others features an excellent bit of arranging from leader Richard Exall. The sudden pairing of this tune with Oyo Como Va jars a little but any fears are put to rest by Amy Robert’s magnificent flute playing. Ben Cummings is not only a great trumpet talent but sings with a soul and control that many first study vocalists would be envious of. Georgia and My Girl are swinging and entertaining in equal measure.
The rhythm section of Milverton, Coleman and Millward is sublime in the accompaniment nowhere more so than Tanga. A Dizzy Gillespie composition, it features a bright tempo and beautiful chord changes that the horn players negotiate with skill and delicacy.
For me the standout track though is But Beautiful. Bateman again shows his chameleon-like qualities with a J. J. Johnson inspired sound for the melody and his solo. Then again, as a trombonist myself I am incredibly biased.
That there are 7 in this jazz band and that they are magnificent is just fact. That you should check out their recorded and live performances is merely compulsory in my opinion. The Magnificent 7 is entertaining, skilled, slick and swinging.
The album is available via their website http://www.bookajazzband.com/mag7.html and of course at their live gigs.
Reviewed by Andy Derrick
Magnificiant 7 Jazz Band's debut album - THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY! (2014)
1. Magnificent 7 Theme (1:28)
2. Dippermouth Blues (3.:29) Solos - Exall, Cummings, Bateman.
3. Midnight In Moscow (3.01)
4. Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby (4:33) Vocal - Exall. Solos - Bateman, Cummings.
5. Avalon (4:47) Solos - Exall/Roberts, Cummings/Bateman, Milverton.
6. Benny's From Heaven (4:55) Vocal - Cummings. Solos - Roberts, Cummings, Milverton.
7. Brasileirinho (2:20)
8. In A Persian Market ( 3:06) Solo - Exall
9. Creole Love Call (6:16) Solos - Roberts, Coleman.
10. Minute Waltz ( 4:37) Solos - Exall, Milverton, Cummings, Roberts, Bateman.
11. So Do I (4:43) Vocal - Cummings. Solos - Exall, Bateman, Cummings.
12. Serenade In Blue ( 4.38) Solos - Bateman, Exall, Milverton.
13. Mona Lisa (3:51) Vocal - Exall. Solos - Exall, Bateman.
14 Chimes Blues ( 4:59) Solos - Exall, Coleman, Milverton
15. Ice Cream (3:57) Vocals - Exall, Millward, Cummings. Solos Milverton, Millward
Jackie Flavelle, musician, DJ, radio personality and outstanding bass player has written the sleeve notes:
To name a jazz band the Magnificent 7 may appear on the face of it, rather ostentatious. However, in this case the title aptly describes this outstanding collective. Co-led by internationally acclaimed Richard Exall and award winning Amy Roberts, the personnel are all recent or current alumni of the three great British revivalist bands of the 1950's. This debut recording acknowledges the works of Chris Barber, Acker Bilk and Kenny Ball, recreating the hits that defined the genre. The bands' repertoire is as exciting as it is eclectic, weaving a carefully tailored course through the world of improvised music. Paying homage to the early pioneers Oliver, Armstrong and Ellington, plus a little latin for added colour. The Magnificent Seven Jazz Band works as a team, with sparkling contributions from all the musicians, which ensures an amazingly powerful sound with a broad commercial appeal. Quite simply The Magnificent 7 Jazz Band truly are magnificent!