Mix musicians and long-time collaborators Sam Eastmond and Ben Greenslade-Stanton with stellar musicians from The Mighty Mocambos, Spike Orchestra, The Snitch, The Get Up and you’re guaranteed something magical. This debut proves that from the off, beginning with the mesmeric, funky ‘The Slam Down’, a bevvy of brass over an underpinning baritone pattern boasting a horn solo introducing a secondary theme which drives the tune to soaring heights. Meanwhile, the title-track muscles its way through in orchestral style until a heavy riff breaks the spell, allowing sax and bass to develop a swinging theme, interrupted by an exorbitant trumpet solo.
Gray's deep-end propels throughout buoying a distinct latin feel. ‘Red Sea’ is gorgeous – a bewitching rhythmic exploration using horns, drums and some great sax and guitar work. ‘Kurzzig’ sets a crazy rhythm against the punctuated horn harmonies crashed by a soaring trumpet interlude. The rest of the album follows suit with swinging, grinding horn sections, through contrapuntal rhythm changes and intricate, devilish structural shifts to the web of variation which is ‘Ajebutter’. This is an absorbing album. Looking forward to the next one. Sammy Stein