Big Chief: "Live At The Bull": reviews

In addition to being a fan of blues and R&B I'm also a big jazz lover, so I was delighted to hear this album. The band name implies New Orleans and, sure enough, there are numbers from Fats Domino, Huey "Piano" Smith and the Neville Brothers. On the jazz side, there are two numbers from the wonderful South African pianist and composer Abdullah Ibrahim and a great version of Horace Silver's Song For My Father. The band has been around for 30 years and play a beguiling mix of jazz, blues, soul and funk all delivered with dexterity and foot-stomping enthusiasm. Opener Compared To What features great piano from Adrian Paton and tasty trumpet from Edward Benstead. Yellow Moon gets a loping reggae treatment and excellent trombone from Chris Fry. Soweto adds a touch of South African township jive/jazz to the mix and swings in joyous fashion. The musicianship is exemplary throughout with an excellent rhythm section topped off with trumpet, trombone, saxes, guitar and keyboards. John Fry handles the vocals with relaxed aplomb and good humour. Freedom Sounds takes us into ska/reggae territory featuring great work from all the horn players.

Sadly The Bull in Barnet is no longer but this album is a terrific reminder of an immensely enjoyable and entertaining gig. Happily the band live on and continue to make music that will put a smile on your face. Listen, enjoy and be happy.

Blues Matters (Dave Drury)

Louis Borenius & Coup D'Etat: "Last Of The Aztecs": reviews

The team at Coup D'Etat must be a happy lot, at least when they play together. This album is a collection of upbeat tracks in the Latin genre, with Borenius exhibiting skilful solos on the Simmons Silicone Mallet (a xylophonish instrument). There's more than a touch of humour in tracks like Waltz With a Wooden Leg and Roland Perrin contributes some nice fingerwork on Carnival and Jon Lee... Gill Manly scats over a couple of numbers and the whole thing is held together by ex-Incognito drummer Richard Bailey. Nice one guys. Keep making music.

The Chaser (JFR)

Salsa, Calypso and Afro-Cuban influenced jazz outfit, featuring Louis Borenius on MIDI vibes. They're a regular feature on the local jazz groove circuit, and anyone who has enjoyed their accessible but open-minded and improvised approach will be pleased to hear about their new album "Last Of The Aztecs" (Loose Tie). It's a lively and enjoyable hour of music, with some fine contributions by tenor saxophonist Greg Heath and vocalist Gill Manly; plus of course, Borenius' own compelling tuned percussion.

Rhythmic N1

I must declare an interest. Whenever Coup D'Etat saxophonist Greg Heath takes a gig with a more prestigious outfit (usually some top jump jive ensemble), I get to play with Coup D'Etat on a small cramped stage for almost no money. So why would I want to give this a good review? Because it's a thoroughly jazztastic, instantly accessible collection of memorable Latin tinged grooves. There are great solos from Greg Heath, on sax, bandleader and composer and arranger Roland Perrin on piano. With Richard Bailey on drums and bright spark Gary Hammond on percussion and guest appearances by Gill Manly this is a fine account of a great live band, heavy on the tabasco. Available from the perennially optimistic (Why?) Louis Borenius himself.

Musician - March 1997

Louis Borenius, sage of the silicon mallet, leads an eclectic and versatile group honed to professionalism by hundreds of club gigs.

Jazz (Jack Massarik)

Although percussionist Louis Borenius has worked in all manner of bands playing all manner of music since leaving college in the mid seventies, this is his first CD under his own name. Despite many of the odd-sounding titles, the music the album contains is essentially Latin in nature, the exception being 20th Century which is a blues with the words supplied by the tiny voiced Gill Manly.

The leader's high-tech sounding instrument, the Simmons Silicon Mallet, bears a strong likeness to the vibraphone or marimba and blends well with the rest of the group. The focus, however, of most of the pieces is Greg Heath's earthy tenor underpinned by a fine rhythm section firmly anchored in place by drummer Richard Bailey.

All the numbers are of interest but I liked Too Serious on which we hear the leader's instrument in a rare solo context and the bouncy Carnival with its strong West Indian feel. Jon Lee boasts a very dramatic opening after which Greg Heath's tenor slips into overdrive once again aided and abetted by the excellent rhythm section.

All the compositions, incidentally, are by the leader on what is a very thought-provoking debut album.

Stan Wooley

A jazz album that offers a fair slice of quality from every angle sees percussionist, Louis Borenius, pull in a host of talented musicians to produce this debut set. Borenius may not be a household name - only the hardened jazz fan will recognise - but he has played with the likes of Champion Jack Dupree, Stan Webb, Chicken Shack, The Chevalier Brothers and Sister Sledge, which will give you some idea of his pedigree and the status in which he is held and the sheer diversity of his musical talent absorbing musical styles such as blues, funk, jazz, salsa, and pop-soul.

Former Incognito drummer, Richard Bailey, appears throughout on the album which kicks off with the excellent title track. If Louis gets the recognition he so very much deserves, you will hear the standout cuts on various playlists on the specialist radio programs nation-wide - these being the saxophone-led Herbs and the stunning Waltz With A Wooden Leg which will do more than lift your spirits. Certainly worthy of closer inspection.

Benjamin Mynott
Rating: 7+