This one came out of left field and put me down for a nine-count! Maricle’s T-Bone Special had me reeling. I mean, I’ve heard a few all-girl bands over the past year – at times I thought they were going to take over the jazz world and, with this disc, maybe they have!
A breakaway group from the world-renowned DIVA Jazz Orchestra the quintet comprises DIVA’s rhythm section and two of its foremost soloists. In less enlightened times smart-arses would claim they could tell, on a blindfold test, whether the players were black or white/American or European. I wonder how they’d fayre on this one? Male or female? or would they just shrug and say that this is fantastic and who cares?
Recorded live at the Firehouse Stage in Johnson City, a small village in New York State, it’s swing, it’s hardbop, it’s everything I want from a band. The pre-Trump administration State Department also agreed that it was what they wanted and, in 2013, sent the girls on a diplomatic mission just as, years ago, they’d despatched, Satchmo, Dizzy, Duke, BG, Brubeck and others. In 2013, Five Play performed in Vietnam.
France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Germany, Israel and Japan also had the pleasure of hearing my new favourite band – maybe, one day, the UK will be on their touring schedule.
All five are outstanding soloists; Reichman blows tenor like Dexter and clarinet like Benny but no, I’m wrong – Reichman blows like Reichman. Dauber is lyrical on flugel and a belter on trumpet. Ohno is merely super-terrific, Uedo, melodic as well as rhythmic – just hear what she does to Nancy’s laughing face whilst leader Maricle sets the standard many drummers can only dream about!