Friday 21 July 2023

'Moko Jumbie' by A Plane To Catch

'Moko Jumbie' marks the debut full-length release from A Plane To Catch unveiled through the Danish label, April Records.

The fantastic five-piece deliver a fantastic statement of intent through their celebration of a multitude of styles as far-ranging from Ethiopian compositions to classic 60s soul and 70s funk.  And throughout their eight-track 'Moko Jumbie' project, A Plane To Catch strive to find the positivity - those rare glimmers of hope - from the difficulties continually engulfing the world.  An album created to uplift and inspire in spite of the extraordinary set of circumstances that resulted in the project's creation - the not-long-forgotten days of social distancing, quarantining, home schooling and excessive amounts of hand sanitizer that kept musicians outside of studios and stages until regulations deemed it safe to venture outside again.

But as challenging as that period was for millions around the world, the Danish quintet unveil 'Moko Jumbie' not to lament the losses of that period but to celebrate the very nature of resilience and the hope that followed.  Theirs is an album that conveys its message through high-energy, dance-floor catharsis looking to the unbridled joy of a post-quarantine era.

Comprised of saxophonist Andreas Toftemark, trumpeter Rolf Thofte, guitarist Mads Nørgaard, Anton Langebæk on bass and David Besiakov on drums, A Plane To Catch openly wear their influences on their sleeves with this album enthusiastically paying homage to a quintessential, groove-riddled, horn-heavy interpretation of funk and soul music.  Boasting a strong selection of diverse and versatile numbers, highlights come in the form of the Ethiopian-inspired, and aptly named, 'Ethiopiques', the somewhat understated 'Douche Boy', the low-key funk of 'Almost There' and the dare-you-to-sit-still nature of 'Shake Your B'.

Despite proving to be something of a departure for April Records - who have become perhaps best known for their commitment to contemporary jazz acts including sensational groups like Little North, Kosmos Trio and OTOOTO - A Plane To Catch still represent a brand of cutting edge and pioneering Danish acts which is undoubtedly April's overarching ethos.

'Moko Jumbie' is very much an album that is a product of the times it finds itself created within - although reminiscent of a tumultuous period, it will always be A Plane To Catch's goal to inspire listeners towards positive and uplifting experiences in spite of potential hardships.

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