The Brass Monkeys: Lullabite

Brass outfit featuring trumpeter Charlotte Keeffe and French horn man Jim Rattigan range through jazz, blues, reggae, folk, country and more

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A number of bands are playing under this moniker, so to be clear, you can find out more about this group on their website, 8brassmonkeys.co.uk. They describe themselves as an “eclectic, improvising, wild bunch”, and accordingly, a variety of influences can be heard in their music, drawing on but not limited to jazz, blues, reggae, folk, country and free improvisation.

Listening to the album and watching clips of their live performances on YouTube, they remind me of a brass-band version of the entertaining and creative Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain. As well as tight but swinging ensemble pieces, Lullabite features snippets of musical exchanges in duo and trio format, which can break up the flow and connection across the album as some tracks are fleeting and sound unfinished.

There is certainly a nice mix of styles – lilting jazz rhythms one minute, a more military – Elmer Bernstein – feel the next. Brass bands are, like any combination of instruments, a matter of personal taste. At times the sound texture reminded me that I associate brass bands with plodding melancholy and wet Sunday church parades from decades long ago. But I enjoyed the variety and the skill of the playing.


Discography
Sparkle; Poll; Lullabite; PostPoolonk; Barbados; Little Big Man; Dem Bones; How Long?; Man In Astrakhan; Snake Music; Whispers; Simultaniety; Now Is The Cool Of The Day; Charlie M. (65.00)
Chris Dowding, Charlotte Keeffe (t, flh); Jim Rattigan (frh); Annie Whitehead, Kieran McLeod (tb); Paul Jolly, Rob Milne (ts); Ben Higham (tu); Olly Blackman (d). London, 27 June, 5 July, 28 August 2022.
33 Jazz Records 33Jazz295