1. Izo’s Mood
3. Baby Steps
5. Blue Mazooka
Andy Narell – Tenor, double second, triple guitar,
tenor bass and bass steel pans, iron
Luis Conte – Congas, timbales, percussion
Mark Walker – Drums (tracks 1-3, 6)
Jean Philippe Fanfant – Drums (tracks 4, 5)
Mike Stern – Guitar (tracks 3, 5)
David Sanchez – Tenor sax (track 4)
story of the steel drum is a wonderful example
of necessity being the mother of invention.
In Trinidad in the thirties and forties, poor
Trinidadians made their own musical instruments
out of waste materials. They discovered that
old oil drums could be hammered out to make
tuned percussion instruments which became
known as steel drums, steel pans or just pans.
Steel bands can now be found all over the
world, and steel drums have been used in jazz
groups led by the likes of Monty Alexander.
Jaco Pastorius and Ahmad Jamal.
New Grove Dictionary of Jazz says that
the best-known exponent of the steel drum
in jazz is Andy Narell, and this album shows
why. Andy plays a multiplicity of steel pans
– 22 in all, recording one at a time and overlaying
them through the wonders of overdubbing. Thus
he generates a whole steel band. If you have
prejudices about steel bands, prepare to shed
them when you hear this CD. Andy creates a
wonderfully chromatic mix of rich harmonies.
He is aided by two fine drummers and well-known
percussionist Luis Conte, who underpin the
harmonies with vibrant rhythms. Guest guitarist
Mike Stern is brought in for a couple of tracks.
His electric guitar floats lyrically above
the backing in Baby Steps and Blue
Mazooka. David Sanchez adds his mellow
tenor saxophone to Tabanca, gaining
in expressiveness as the track continues.
the real genius on this album is Andy Narell,
whose arrangements conjure up the warmest
sounds you may ever hear. His solos are intelligent
and beautiful as well as jazzy, and he often
makes the steel "orchestra" play
jazz lines. Even if you have never liked steel
bands before, I implore you to try this album
– and then go back to Andy Narell’s previous
CD The Passage, where he was joined
by the 30-piece Parisian steel band Calypsociation.
You should also sample his albums with the
small group called Sakesho. Andy Narell is
well worth getting to know.