Jean Toussaint Allstar 6tet, Live at the Jazz Cafe 091218, Lyte

The opener taken from Brother Raymond is dedicated, Jean tells the Camden Town audience in the recording, “to the great Barack Obama. This is entitled ‘Amabo’ which is ‘Obama’ backwards....

Published: 6 Nov 2019. Updated: 3 months.

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The opener taken from Brother Raymond is dedicated, Jean tells the Camden Town audience in the recording, “to the great Barack Obama. This is entitled ‘Amabo’ which is ‘Obama’ backwards. When I Googled it, it means ‘I Shall Love’ in Latin. I mean how perfect can that be?”

Live at the Jazz Cafe 091218 marks what would have been Art Blakey’s 100th birthday – the anniversary falling on 11 October and day of release – the recording was made at the end of a Brother Raymond promotional tour.

With Jean, a former Jazz Messenger from a vintage edition of the band in the 1980s when Terence Blanchard was in the front line with him: are Byron Wallen (Mulatu Astatke Step Ahead band) on trumpet; Dennis Rollins (Maceo Parker) playing trombone; Andrew McCormack (Kyle Eastwood band, MY Duo) on piano; Daniel Casimir (David Lyttle 3) on the double bass; and Shaney Forbes (of Empirical, Wave) at the kit in pride of place.

Lyte Records signed Toussaint back in 2013 and released his first record as a leader since 2010’s Live in Paris and London in February 2014.

Toussaint’s first album for Lyte was Tate Song, the title of the album took its name from Jean’s son, a Woody Guthrie and Townes Van Zandt-influenced folk-blues singer and guitarist.

The St Thomas born London based Toussaint made his name with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in the 1980s appearing on such records as New York Scene and Blue Night, and as a leader Toussaint’s own albums include The Street Above the Underground, which won the prestigious best album category at the first BBC Jazz Awards.

A benchmark hard bop album distilled in the tradition and played with great skill and taste.