Album reviews

Kinetika Bloco – ‘Legacy’

Kinetika Bloco Legacy

(Banger Factory Records. Album Review by Adam Sieff)

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This album is a homage to the Kinetika Bloco carnival group who are celebrating their 21st Anniversary, and especially to its founder and guiding light, Mat Fox, who died in 2014. This is in every sense an in-house project featuring past members of the group led by Fox’s son, the saxophonist Ruben Fox, and produced by trumpeter Mark Kavuma who is releasing the album on his Banger Factory Records label. The result is a joyous big band party that captures the international musical essence from Brazil to Brixton via Africa, New Orleans and the Caribbean.

The line up shows just how important this South London based music charity has been in helping develop some of the young London musicians who have gone on to revitalise the city’s jazz scene. As well as Kavuma and Fox, (who’s album Introducing…Ruben Fox is one of my best of the year), there’s guitarist Artie Zaitz, saxophonist Nubya Garcia, The tuba and trombonist Cross Brothers – Theon and Nathaniel, trumpeter and bandleader Sheila Maurice Grey and singer/pianist Reuben James.

The music is fat, phat, brassy and turbo tuba powered creating an instant carnival atmosphere with a storming version of Caravan arranged by Emmanuel Franklyn Adelabu. The first single Remedy, a tribute to Brixton written by Fox and drummer Sam BlueAgard, has an infectious groove and features fine soloing from Garcia, trumpeter Ife Ogunjobi, trombonist Richie Seivwright and steel pan player Marlon Hibbert.

Another key member and mentor of the group is the South Africa born trumpeter Claude Deppa who contributes the song Commanders Call with its Brazilian Maracatu rhythm. Giving some respite from the uptempo proceedings, the poignant Honesty composed by Emmanuel Franklyn Adelabu, is sensitively performed with a powerful Ruben Fox arrangement.

Following The Ted Williams Villanelle – a short Wendy Cope poem read by Andy Grappy, come four compositions dedicated to the founder. Starting with Papa Fox by Kavuma with a fine, slinky Artie Zaitz guitar solo, before three of Mat Fox’s own compositions that finish with Echoes of Palmares, one of the high points of the album and perhaps the track that defines the whole Kinetika Bloco musical identity.

This album achieves what it set out to do as a celebration of Mat Fox’s legacy. It’s played and presented with love and deep respect. And it will also make more people aware of the work Kinetika Bloco do, helping young people to progress from absolute beginners to successful professional musicians and dancers. Buy this record on Bandcamp and send it to your friends, this is positive and uplifting music, and something we can all benefit from.

Release date: 10 December

LINK: Legacy on Bandcamp

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