In the past couple of weeks, I’ve not had anytime to write any music reviews or in fact find time to do anything particularly constructive, due to the birth of our first child, Dylan. Instead of working, writing and general hell-raising I’ve been trying to keep a newborn child happy and relatively quiet, whilst running up and down stairs to every beckon and call of the wife and child alike.
It would seem that my son is already something of a music critic, we flick through the multiple channels of musical tripe on Sky and he screams his head off to the over-commercial pop crap that dominates most of airtime, however when we stumbled upon Scuzz his crying immediately subsided and he listened intently to the sounds of Iron Maiden’s Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter, hoping that his musical tastes could be broadened from the metal of Maiden, we decided to play him all manner of albums in a multiple of genres to varying results.
So where does The Preseter John Sessions fit into all of this, well in a very early bid (thirteen days old) I decided that the boy needed a little bit of culture and it would seem like the jazzy-dub-funk of Gogol Bordello bass man Tommy T Gobena’s solo album is an early favourite for both little Dylan and myself.
We found ourselves bonding over the wonderful 70’s organ led jazz funk of the opening track Brothers, the elastic dub of both The Call and the otherworldly Oromo Dub (Cushitic Dub), a shuffling goove-laden ska/dub opus.
Elsewhere African roots collide with Western jazz rock fusion on the stunning horn-fuelled instrumental East-West Express. Tribute To A King ups the ska jazz angle further, mixing a delicious combination of bouncy hypnotic rhythms with a chorus of wailing horns to create a mesmeric masterpiece, that kept both father and son happy and smiling (or perhaps that was just wind in Dylan’s case).
The beautiful warm jazz horns and crackle of September Blues wouldn’t sound out of place on a John Coltrane album, the call and response saxophones creating a lovely break from the funky bass lines of previous handful of tracks, whilst the down tempo chilled-out Eden mixes a laid back bass groove with those ever expressive horns and the calming vocals of Gigi creating a lush exotic mix that would calm the most savage of beasts (or restless child).
The album is completed in fine style with the bouncy reggae meets balkan gypsy folk, Lifers, a fun, frantic beat friendly bonus track featuring fellow Gogol Bordello main man Eugene Hutz on crazed lead vocals.
The Preseter John Sessions is a brilliant and diverse combination of clashing genres and cultures, Tommy T has produced a genuine, innovative and intoxicating release that’s crying out to be heard.
Rhythm & Booze Rating 10www.myspace.com/tommytonline