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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

Mike Carr’s Blue Note Band

Stevenson’s Rocket

  Birdland MC502

  1. Blues for Dizzy
  2. In the Groove
  3. Birdtime
  4. Milt the Magnificent
  5. Stehenson’s rocket
  6. Trinidad
  7. Lovely Summers day
  8. Soul Sister
  9. Tiny’s Theme
  10. Bird Dance
  11. Lefty’s Tune

Mike Carr – Hammond Organ/Grand Piano/Electric Piano/Vibes
Steve Kaldestad – Tenor
Steve Fishwick – Trumpet
Matt Fishwick – Drums
Robert Ahwai – Guitar 6/7/8/10
Simon Morton – Percussion 6/7/8/10.
Recorded August 5 & 6, 2002

All the compositions are by Mike Carr except Lefty’s Tune, which is a Gary Cox theme based on the changes of ‘Strike Up the Band’.

I have always enjoyed the Organ playing of Mike Carr, but on many occasions when I have heard it, the Hammond has completely obliterated the solos of every other member of the band! Thankfully that is not the case here and as well as his excellent work on Organ, we also hear Mike on Piano and Vibes. I have heard the Fishwick twins in Frank Griffith’s Nonet, but Steve Kaldestad is new to me on Tenor, I understand he is from Canada.

This is a bebop album all through and through, the tracks are dedicated to Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Milt Jackson and they are worthy of those famous names. Personally I always have time for another album which is reminiscent of the great Blue Note records of the 50’s and 60’s.

Mike Carr has been around the UK jazz scene for a long time; having originally come to fame with the Newcastle on Tyne based Emcee Five. The other musician’s would be less than half his age, but the group works well. The complicated ensembles are beautifully played, which says a great deal for the technique and total ability of his young charges. The compositions could easily have come from the bebop era.

There is another dedication in the title of the album; Stephenson’s Rocket is dedicated to the late Ronnie Stephenson, who was also a member of the Emcee Five. Ronnie was one of the finest drummers the UK has produced and whether he was working with Big Band or Small Jazz Group, Ronnie was always a star.

The empathy between Steve Kaldestad on Tenor and Steve Fishwick shows, both are excellent soloists and that goes for Drummer Matt Fishwick as well. The addition of Percussion on some tracks brings them even further into the Gillespie Bebop perspective.

Don Mather



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