COMPOSERS: Courtney Pine
ALBUM TITLE: House of Legends: Courtney Pine
PERFORMER: Courtney Pine (saxophone), Mario Canonge (piano), Miles Danso (bass), Rod Youngs (drums), Cameron Pierre, Dominic grant (guitar), Rico Rodriguez (trombone), Michael ‘Bammi’ Rose (flute), Eddie ‘Tan Tan’ Thornton (trumpet)
CATALOGUE NO: 77721028867
The sending of a few timely socio-political messages via a CD that’s not just a jazz album but also a musical checklist of styles is a demanding idea. Happily, Pine’s good at this, not least because, through a mixture of upbringing and research, he’s genuinely conversant with the entire gamut of indigenous musical styles referenced on this disc. This includes Caribbean styles such as ska, zouk-love and merengue. ‘Tico Tico’ is the one standard, which Pine pokes and jabs at mischievously.
The album bravely opens with a respectful ballad inspired by the fate of Stephen Lawrence, with subsequent tracks standing for other significant individuals and ideas, but the mood is mainly celebratory.
The recording loses a star for a rather clangy piano sound on the first track and occasional airlessness elsewhere, but Pine’s pin-sharp soprano, which he plays exclusively here, is a joy throughout.