Friday, 5 June 2009

Soul flutes

Anyone who has read the seventh issue of Your Heart Out, the teasingly titled The Archaeology of An Abandoned Soul Single, will hopefully have picked up on the fact that Herbie Mann and Tommy McCook have one way and another contributed to a ridiculous amount of wonderful music down the years, and are very definitely heroic figures.

I am a real soft touch when it comes to flutes in pop/soul/jazz, so Herbie's got a bit of a head start. But he's been involved in some pretty special things, from working with the likes of the divine Chris Connor at Bethlehem in the '50s to his early championing of the bossa sound to doing the whole of Anthony Newley's The Roar of the Greasepaint, his more full-on r'n'b works like Memphis Underground, the more mod jazz flavoured LP with the beautiful Tamiko Jones, and so on.

Tommy McCook is something of a saint for the many, many great records he has been involved in with the Skatalites, Supersonics, Aggrovators and as a session player on so many of the great Jamaican ska/rocksteady/reggae discs. With the ever increasing enforced leisure time available to many of us there are worse things to do than skip around YouTube and discovering all those old ska and rocksteady tracks he played on.

And yes all of this is heading towards the fact that in the mid-'70s Herbie Mann and Tommy McCook recorded an LP together, which was called Reggae and features Mick Taylor on guitar among other guests who help mix things up in a wonderfully odd fashion. If you're like me and think the world's made a better place by there being 18 minute workouts of My Girl on a jazzy reggae rock theme then you'll be wanting to hear this and the rest of the record.

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