Kavuma & The Banger Factory: Arashi No Ato

The trumpeter offers imaginative variations on the tradition represented by Ellington, Eddie Harris, Sam Cooke, Eubie Blake and others


The album that started it all was of course, trumpeter Mark Kavuma’s eponymously titled debut album (Ubuntu, 2018) swiftly succeeded by The Banger Factory (Ubuntu, 2019). This third release coincides with the launch of his own record label, Banger Factory Records, and was showcased in a Ronnie Scott’s concert reviewed by Thomas Fletcher.

The title track, a stately slow-burning ballad, features Kavuma on mellifluous trumpet and David Mrakpor on vibes all underpinned by sultry Hammond organ courtesy of Reuben James. The upbeat Eluid, by stark contrast, puts Kavuma’s tentet to good use, evoking reminiscences of Oliver Nelson or John Coltrane in his Blue Trane period. Brother James is a lyrical two-minute interlude showcasing Deschanel Gordon on piano.

One of the album’s standout moments is undoubtedly the extraordinary tuba solo rendered by guest musician Theon Cross on Love Will Find A Way written by Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle from the 1921 Broadway musical Shuffle Along. Cross’s ballad-like delivery, replete with elegant vibrato, is worth the entrance fee alone as he delicately traces the song’s melody.

The Eddie Harris-like groove of Hedz benefits from a deft ensemble arrangement, decorated by sparkling vibraphone and some engaging solos from Kavuma, Musshinghi Brian Edwards on tenor, and Artie Zaitz on guitar. The breezy David Danced, taken from Duke Ellington’s Concert Of Sacred Music (RCA, 1966), features extended vibes extemporisation throughout.

The album concludes with the emotionally charged gospel, One More River, where the regular band is augmented by guests including a choir with lead vocals by Ritchie Seivwright. By his own admission, Kavuma was obsessed with this song, listening to Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers’ version every Sunday. It’s an exhilarating climax to a well-balanced collection of tunes and appropriately reflects the collective essence of the band, as reflected on the CD cover, populated by a host of participants. There’s really not a dull moment on this captivatingly imaginative album.

(1) Arashi No Ato; Eluid; (2) Love Will Find A Way; (1) Brother James; Hedz; David Danced; (3) One More River (39.56)
(1) Mark Kavuma (t); Ruben Fox, Musshinghi Brian Edwards (ts); Trevor Edwards (tb); Deschanel Gordon (p); Reuben James (org, p); Artie Zaitz (elg); David Mrakpor (vib); Michael Shrimpling (b); Will Cleasby (d). (2) add Theon Cross (tu). (3) as (2) but add Dylan Jones (t); Misha Fox (tb, v); Deji Ijishakin (ts, v); Marcina Arnold, Megan Linnell, Livi Graham, Leena Chabula, Felicia Thandie Bhebhe, Django Booker-Roi Edwards, Ritchie Seivwright, Shayanna Harris (v). London, 15-17 December 2019 & 9 February 2020.
Banger Factory Records BF001