James Morrison releases brand new album
Posted on 23 Jan 2012
Alberts composer and Australian jazz extraordinaire, James Morrison, releases his long awaited album "Snappy Too" tomorrow.
Twenty-one years ago Australian jazz legend and Alberts composer James Morrison recorded an album called Snappy Doo - he was joined by three legendary musicians; bassist Ray Brown, guitarist Herb Ellis and drummer Jeff Hamilton. James and his heavyweight sidemen created a seventeen piece big band together through the magic of over-dubbing. James ended up playing four trumpets, four trombones, five saxophones and piano.
It was tremendous fun and the album went gold becoming one of his most successful and much loved recordings. James knew he wanted to do a ‘sequel’ at some stage but it has taken over two decades to finally get around to it. “Sadly, in the meantime we have lost Ray and Herb” says James. “So when the time came to choose musicians for this recording I had a decision to make – do I replace them (who could?) or do we stick with the original band…meaning Jeff and I alone?”
“No one could ever replace Ray or Herb, so I decided it was in the spirit of a true sequel to go with Mr Hamilton and myself. This meant pulling out my acoustic bass and brushing up the guitar chops – and while I was at it I added a banjo and just a touch of clarinet where appropriate. Of course, in addition to this I still played the trumpets, trombones, saxes and piano as I did last time.”
After many laughs, a few tears and a lot of writing, blowing, strumming and plucking, James Morrsion now has the long awaited “Snappy Too” - a seventeen piece big band album where you only have to get two autographs on the cover to have the whole band!
“Last time (Snappy Doo) we started with the rhythm section and then layered the brass and saxes on top. This time I started with a single trumpet and gradually built up all the horns until we had thirteen. Next I added the bass, then guitar and finally piano.” When James says finally, that was all at his studio in Sydney – the recording then shifted to Los Angeles where Jeff added the drums and James played a few of the improvised solos along with him. “ It was really something to see a man who is arguably the world’s best big band drummer sitting there playing away on his own – while listening to sixteen ‘other’ guys who weren’t in the room!”
The album is a mix of well known standards as well as some Morrison originals.
You’ll notice that apart from the big band tracks there is ‘Sad Blues’ which is a traditional six-piece Dixie band consisting of trumpet, trombone, clarinet, banjo, bass and drums, ‘Before He Goes’ a duet of trumpet and piano and ‘Rhythm of Life’ a brass ensemble with three bass trumpets, two trombones and acoustic bass.
The opener is the well known standard “All Of Me” – how very appropriate. The recording starts with the crackle of a needle being dropped into the groove of a 78RPM record, the sound of a dixie style band coming out of a gramophone speaker…and then the sound explodes with the expanded brass ensemble arrangement.
This is an amazing display of James Morrison, the multi instrumentalist, the gifted arranger and the outstanding showman.
Digital Release of SNAPPY TOO on iTunes or through James Morrison official website.