Wednesday 8 January 2020

'Beast From The East' by Wild Card

'Beast From The East' not only serves as the excellent new album from jazz trio Wild Card, but it also boasts the distinction of being the group's landmark fifth album.

With each passing project, Wild Card seem to continually garner more praise and notoriety: their last effort, 'Life Stories' released in 2018, proved a definitive critical success with plaudits flooding in from mainstream publications and international radio.  And as fervent live performers, their reputation also grows - through their countless performances at London's revered Ronnie Scott's jazz club as well as venues and festivals around Europe.

With a core trio comprised of guitarist and band leader, Clement Regert, Hammond organist Andrew Noble and fresh off her wonderful contribution to Yazz Ahmed's 'Polyhymnia' on Ropeadope Records, Sophie Alloway on drums.  Having initially played together in 2011 at a club where Regert hosted a residency, the chemistry proved undeniable and the trio have - thankfully - remained together ever since.

The British conductor Charles Hazlewood once said "Music is about communication" and that chemistry between musicians is an invaluable quantity.  And while Wild Card albums, or in fact their performances, demonstrate that inspiring chemistry between its three main players, it's also one that can masterfully adapt and skilfully incorporate additional players.  When reviewing 'Life Stories' previously, we referenced Wild Card as a band that thrives on collaboration and 'Beast From The East' certainly features some wonderful collaborations with some masterful players made all the more special by the fact that the music presented here was recorded live over three recording sessions over the course of two years.

Fresh off the release of her own 'Rosie's 5ive' project with Jazz Re:freshed, Trombonist Rosie Turton guests on three of the album's tracks including strong album highlight 'The Saga of Harrison Crabfeathers' with Emilia Martensson on vocals, Incognito vocalist Imaani provides awesome lead on 'The Struggle' and then there's the return of long-term collaborators Graeme Flowers (trumpet), Denys Baptiste (tenor saxophone) and Will Fry (percussion) rekindling their magic as they have done on past Wild Card releases.

And as an added bonus for the project, while 'Life Stories' featured the excellent cover of The Rolling Stones' 'Paint It Black', 'Beast From the East' seeks inspiration from another classic, this time from the Motown vaults, with The Temptations' 'Papa Was A Rolling Stone' which serves as the brilliant album closer.

Wild Card's blend of high energy, funk-filled and Latin-laced jazz is once again on full display on 'Beast From The East' - they've become a band that continually find ways to out do themselves and raise the bar with each release.  Looking forward to album #6!

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