CD Review: Mark Cherrie Quartet - Joining the Dots,
Mark Cherrie (steel pan); John Donaldson (piano); Mick Hutton (bass); Eric Ford (drums) + Dominic Grant (guitar); Dave O'Higgins (tenor); Nigel Price (el. guitar); Sumudu (vocals).
(Review by Lance).
The steel pan isn't an instrument normally associated with jazz and, had I not spent some time with Newcastle's Chilli Road Band I wouldn't have known a steel pan from a frying pan. Fortunately, that period of my life opened up my eyes to the capabilities of the instrument although it took this CD by Mark Cherrie to realise its jazz possibilities.
The sound is quite unique - somewhere between a Fender Rhodes and a vibraphone without being close to either.
Trinidadian Cherrie is a fluent improviser and he made a point of recording a jazz album rather than one that reflected his Caribbean roots. He's certainly done that.
Donaldson on piano impresses as does Sumudu's vocal on one of Cherrie's compositions, Just Like Lovers Do. A tune worthy of any of the GASbook masters. The other guests make cameo appearances but this is Mark Cherrie's moment. He's played steel pans for 40 years and if there is a better player - show me.
The album is launched on January 10 at the 606 Club and goes on general release on February 2.