To the regular UK jazz fan a line-up of Trumpet, Trombone, Alto, Tenor,
Sousaphone and Drums would not be what any of us were expecting, it is only
when you realise that the Michael Foster Project combine Night Club appearances,
with the role of a traditional New Orleans Street Band, that everything starts
to fit into place. After all the well known Dirty Dozen have already made
the street band into an art form!
The first four tracks are all Michael Foster compositions, each is tuneful
and well suited to the band. As all of the musicians involved are highly
trained and well qualified, you would expect a quality performance, but it
is the obvious enthusiasm of the band that makes this CD exciting. The jazz
influences range from the Delta to Coltrane and beyond, there is no limit
to what these guys can do. Frank William's trombone solo on It ain't my fault
was particularly well constructed and interesting, although all the soloists
have something worthwhile to say.
Michael Foster has some mighty "chops" to get round the Sousaphone the way
he does, most of the time he plays the base line but uses the instrument
in the front line on most ensembles. The band have appeared at many jazz
festivals in the USA and I would recommend them to European Festival Director's,
as a band who can play anytime anywhere, there is a shortage of good band's
of that type on the UK scene anyway.
I was particularly intrigued by the way the band tackled funky numbers, without
the usual rhythm section this can sound lumpy and stilted, these guys can
do it. Their repertoire is very varied and on the CD three traditional tracks
Bourbon Street, Down By the Riverside and When the Saints Go Marching In
are played with the same enthusiasm as the original compositions.
Personally, I have not heard a lot of this kind of music, there are not many
New Orleans Marching Bands in Coventry! If they play any where in the Midland's
in the future, I will be there to hear them, for sheer enthusiasm they are
Don Mather plays Tenor Sax and Clarinet and runs a Big Band in