Loose Tubes Säd Afrika
Despite the multi-layered pun there’s no sadness to speak of in the title track, which is very much a celebration of South African activism as it stood when this recording was made at Ronnie Scott’s in 1990.
A follow-on from the previous archive disc Dancing on Frith Street, this is again as lively a package as you might expect. The band’s whole prankster thing I could always take or leave, but one great attraction of its sparse recorded output is the way this encourages proper attention to some brilliantly capricious compositions. Their orchestrations (‘arrangements’ seems a bit too pedestrian) reinvented the whole big band idiom, in a field which traditionally held the work of Frank Mantooth to be rather daring. Here, though, we have a set touching on various indigenous music styles as well as jazz, all handled with panache. The sound is nicely on the clean side of ‘atmospheric’.