ALBUM REVIEW: Shuffle And Bang – Island Bop (Pirates Press Records)
Since it was formed in San Francisco in 2005, Pirates Press has become one of the best-known labels specialising in street-punk and Oi! Records.
It’s best known for releasing records by established acts like Rancid and Cock Sparrer, as well as classy represses of long out-of-print releases, and helping new, up and coming bands get their music out on vinyl.
But now they have taken a step into the unknown by releasing their first-ever jazz record, featuring reggae musician Korey Horn and his dad Pops, who’s a jazz player.
Drummer Korey’s name might ring a bell because he’s played with many artists over the years, such as The Aggrolites, Tim Timebomb, Suedehead, Sharp/Shock, Hepcat, and many more.
Pops’s background is in classic jazz, and they merged the son’s deep vested love for dub and reggae with his father’s tenure as a traditional jazz singer.
They’ve enlisted the help of a gang of musicians who have played with the likes of The Aggrolites, Rhythm Doctors, Suedehead, The Original Wailers, and Stevie Wonder.
Fans from all walks of the reggae, dub and ska worlds will love this as much as folks into more traditional jazz,
I won’t pretend to know enough about jazz as a genre to write an informed review, but I surprised myself by making all the way through the album several times!
The band themselves term it ‘Jamaican jazz’, but there’s enough of a reggae element to songs like Insane and Take My Sugar To Tea to keep me interested, and who wouldn’t enjoy Pops’s rich, soulful voice?
Let The Good Times Roll is the sort of big band number my dad listened to on Sunday afternoons when I was a kid, while reggae-lovers are rewarded for their perseverance with the closing Drum Song, a deliciously-dubby take on Gorillaz’s Clint Eastwood.
All in all, this is a record that takes the word bluebeat back to its original early ’60s meaning, blending folk, calpyso, R&B and jazz into a collection of sounds with real heart and soul. It’s available on three different vinyl variations direct from Pirates Press HERE, or to download from the usual streaming services.
PS Does listening to jazz and not hating it mean I’ve grown up at last, or that I’m suddenly getting old? 7/10.