Jean Toussaint All-Star 6Tet Shine Bright At Ronnie Scott's

 Tous1

'All-star' is a term mostly out of fashion these days. But Jean Toussaint's 6Tet make a convincing case for its reinstatement. This storming gig from the Virgin Islands saxophonist who relocated to London via New York in the 1980s after a stint with Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers features a frontline of volcanic energy – trumpeter Byron Wallen and trombonist Dennis Rollins – as well as an eruptive rhythm-section – pianist Jason Rebello, double-bassist Alec Dankworth and drummer Shane Forbes – that calls to mind the heyday of small groups with big sounds, epitomised by Toussaint's former boss. The spirit of Blakey is strong throughout the two sets as several of his trademarks, from heraldic, stirring themes to bluesy unison passages and potent soloing across the whole band, are present and correct.

Furthermore, as he emphatically demonstrates on the group's studio debut, Brother Raymond, Toussaint has injected a bold, robust Afro-Caribbean pulse into much of the music that is further enhanced by the horn players all hitting cowbells, shakers and agogo, just as Blakey's men did on the breakdown of 'A Night In Tunisia' in their hard-bop heyday. Pieces such as 'Amabo' – a tribute to Obama – have a driving, snapping vigour that has real dancefloor appeal, as do a number of other pieces with a similarly punchy, strident dynamism. The bright chording of 'Major Changes' belies the downward cast of its subject matter, Brexit, while the evening's finale, 'Mandingo Brass', is an utterly hypnotic calypso in which the resonant clang of the percussion provides a piercing, entrancing rotation into which drums, bass and piano are drawn before the horns skip heartily into action. Inspired by a band he was in during his formative years in the West Indies, the song has the energy of what is known in the locality as a 'road march', meaning that the sub-text of people letting go to 'jump up' is well to the fore. Joyous as the ensemble playing is, the detail in the individual performances really counts, chief among them being Rollins' enticingly round, bulbous tone that evokes as much the lineage of great latin players such as Raoul De Souza as it does the American titan Curtis Fuller. Then again, Rebello's comping, full of fleet, fluttering, percolating lines, often judiciously filling the breathing space between the horn phrases, serves the important purpose of providing a full spectrum of colour for music that conveys all of the wine-yuh-down abandon of carnival.

Tous2

Having said that, the introspective side of Toussaint the composer also marks the evening. 'Interlude For Idris' and 'Letters To Milena' are gently charming ballads in which the noble whisper of Wallen's trumpet seals the underlying reverence of the music. Yet Toussaint, whose finesse of tone and well-paced, patiently graduated solos, are a reminder of what Blakey heard in him all those years ago, is entirely clear in his mission statement – an evocation of the spirits of 'Buh', Mingus, Monk, Duke and Caribbean and Cuban legends such as Ray Barretto. The result is a statement of modernity borne of tradition that strikes a parallel with the work of The Cookers on the other side of the Atlantic. Those two bands on one bill would be a very hot ticket.

Kevin Le Gendre
Photos by Carl Hyde

 

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Breaking News

McFerrin Moves Estonian Voices To Jubila…

The second half of Tallinn’s 10-day Jazzkaar festival was particularly...

Read More.....

Herbie Hancock, Terri Lyne Carrington an…

The line-up for this year’s EFG London Jazz Festival is...

Read More.....

Williams And Mancio Find Home With Subli…

  Kate Williams and her distinctive Four Plus Three, that’s her...

Read More.....

McBride, Porter, Reeves and Jazz At Linc…

Although it is a respected cultural event throughout the Caribbean...

Read More.....

Major unreleased Tubby Hayes Fontana alb…

Christmas comes early for fans of the late, great Brit-jazz...

Read More.....

Ripsaw Get Rolling

Baritone saxophonist Cath Roberts and guitarist Anton Hunter take their...

Read More.....

Cello Fellows Honsinger, Dixon & Lon…

The fifth annual Chicago Jazz String Summit took place at...

Read More.....

Bristol Jazz Fest launches Crowdfunder l…

The Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival has launched a...

Read More.....

Marcus Miller, Tim Garland and Leïla Mar…

The full line-up for this year’s Manchester Jazz Festival has...

Read More.....

Joshua Redman And Sosa Electrify Spirits…

After last year’s swelter, Cheltenham Festival offered a more temperate climate for...

Read More.....

Friedlander Frames Family Memories At Ka…

  If many contemporary jazz festivals opt for maximum numbers, gigs-wise...

Read More.....

Bonsai band bounce out for album and UK…

Progressive jazz five-piece Bonsai – formerly known as Jam Experiment...

Read More.....

Prieto Exhibits Latin Prowess, While Med…

This 30th edition of the Savannah Music Festival featured a...

Read More.....

Jazz 625 BBC4 Live broadcast and Free St…

With Cheltenham Jazz Festival set for a busy six days...

Read More.....

Steam Down Collective, Sons Of Kemet, Ca…

This year’s Jazz FM Awards ceremony took place at Shoreditch...

Read More.....

Ribot Leads Revolutionary Call At Jazz E…

Portugal’s premier experimental jazz bash, Jazz em Agosto, adopts a...

Read More.....

Cinematic Orchestra, Friday Arena and Ba…

The organisers of this year’s Love Supreme Jazz Festival, which...

Read More.....

John McLaughlin & The 4th Dimension …

  Kicking off this evening’s set with a high-octane crash through...

Read More.....

Terri Lyne Carrington, Joe Lovano and Lu…

This year’s EFG London Jazz Festival, its 27th edition, runs...

Read More.....

Stanley Clarke Captivates With Crowd-Sur…

As Return to Forever bass legend Stanley Clarke (pictured above) opened...

Read More.....

Bro, Seim and Gustafsson amid the Scandi…

  As a snapshot of the great charm of Vossa Jazz's...

Read More.....

Laura Mvula, Melt Yourself Down and Alin…

  Love Supreme continue to expand the brand by bringing an...

Read More.....

Empirical get set for Distraction Tactic…

Multi-award winning London four-piece Empirical release the second part of...

Read More.....

Thrice is the charm for APA Cole Porter …

Say what you like about America (and I frequently do)...

Read More.....

Blue Note President Don Was To Receive P…

Don Was, the President of the iconic Blue Note Records...

Read More.....

Brad Mehldau finds Gabriel on Biblical n…

Revered US pianist Brad Mehldau is set to release his...

Read More.....

Tommy Smith and the SNJO dazzle with a m…

The world premiere of Norse Myths took place at Aberdeen...

Read More.....

David Sinclair 1935 – 2019

David Sinclair, one of the most insightful and affectionately-regarded photographers...

Read More.....

Kinch and Siegel lead the collective sto…

Ousted from its Colston Hall home by the builders, the...

Read More.....

Mark Nightingale's Big Band Go Large At …

  Trombonist Mark Nightingale is the most accommodating of virtuosi. He’ll...

Read More.....

Open letter leads protest at cuts to Rad…

Over 500 leading musicians from across the jazz, folk and...

Read More.....

Guinness Cork Jazz Festival director’s ‘…

The Irish jazz world has been shaken by the sudden...

Read More.....

George Coleman, Jimmy Owens and Frank Lo…

The Annual SAM Benefit concert will be held on 13 April...

Read More.....

Cécile McLorin Salvant, Makaya McCraven …

The first names have been unveiled for this year’s EFG...

Read More.....

Turville's Quintet Dare To Dream At Brig…

This is the last show in the tour and there’s...

Read More.....

Durrant At The Double With Duo Of Improv…

Phil Durrant and Martin Vishnick (pictured) launch, Rifinitori di Momenti, their forthcoming...

Read More.....

Making The Cut Mpu 300x500px

Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

McFerrin Moves Estonian Voices To Jubilant Heights At Jazzkaar https://t.co/BoQa4k808s @Jazzkaar @bobbymcferrin https://t.co/5mIzqrdQ1Y
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
@TicklePolyester I'm literally Creeping Death
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA