Review: Pete Thomas & The Horns A Plenty – BIG

Posted on: Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013

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Pete Thomas & The Horns A Plenty – BIG

(Mermaid Records)

The title ‘BIG’ is well suited for the new album by Pete Thomas; for this is a raucous, roaring ripsnorter of an album from the bright and breezy, swinging sounds of the big band era to the sharp suited, hip swinging, lip dangling cigarette cool of the sixties.

From a studious background at Leeds College of Music where Pete gained a first class Diploma he went on to become head of Jazz and pop performance at Southampton University where he also taught saxophone and composition. One of his first professional ventures was to play in Fats Dominos’ band on his European tour of nineteen-ninety one, from there; he went on to work with Joe Jackson cementing a future in playing professionally and teaching.

Assisting Pete; saxophones, clarinet, piccolo and alto flute are ‘The Horns Aplenty’ who consist of; Bob Tinker, Evan Jolly, Raul D’Olivera and Guy Barker; trumpets and on trombones; Annie Whitehead and Tom White, bass trombone; Ashley Slater.

Most of BIG is devoted the varying types and style of the big band sound, from the swinging Andrew Sisters flavoured “Sunny Day,” featuring the ‘Dirty Blondes,’ on vocals, (Laurie Stras, Cindy Stras and Suzanne Noble,)  to the Benny Goodman sounding “Swing King,” highly evocative horn swinging jungle rhythms beat under a lively driving clarinet. One number that does surprise is the late seventies funk workout “TLC,” a mixture of rich sensuous picking guitar and purring, mellow grooving horns.

There is a definite south of the border feel with the Herb Albert influenced “Walk the Talk,”  the cool purring trumpet motors along with a  keen blasting sax above the  infectious backing vocals.  A more punching Latin feel is experienced on “Long Hot Summer,” a carnival/calypso mood is felt, with pulsating percussion and enticing whirling horns and just for good measure exuberant piercing whistling, a similar carnival holiday mood is experienced on “Hot Sauce,”  which features bouncing horns in conjunction with a lively caressing flute throughout.

Big & Bad,” has the feel of Nelson Riddle upon this lowdown creeping sixties xylophone and  flute led atmospheric spy theme starring beautiful burbling and honking saxophones and co-starring tempered trilling trumpets, magic!

“Brat Trap,” has a similar sixties Riddle feel with pulsating trumpets blaring against the sweetly murmuring saxophones while the drums provide a heaving wall of sound.

The big finale is an alternate version of “Brat Trap,” which is a strutting funkier version with driving handclaps, bristling, swinging horns, pounding drum work and pulsating infectious vocals.

Recommended!

BRIAN HARMAN

www.petethomas.co.uk

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