The Quietus – 24 February 2021
Rum Music For February Reviewed
Jennifer Lucy Allan
“Put The Brakes On’ is a suite of imaginary spaces, the galactic Black Top electronics swirl in while Mitchener putters and yelps like a meteor shower, as Drake, Parker and Thomas’ driving rhythm section erupts.”
Black Top Presents: Hamid Drake/ Elaine Mitchener/ William Parker/ Orphy Robinson/ Pat Thomas – Some Good News
Some Good News is that this album is out and you can hear it too. All killer no filler line up here – quick cuts and slow fades between swaggering groove and fat jazz swing to angular free improvisation. It’s a 2CD/DL of two 50+ minute pieces recorded at a 2019 show at Café Oto, where Black Top (vibes player Orphy Robinson and pianist Pat Thomas) joined up with bass player William Parker, vocalist Elaine Mitchener and drummer Hamid Drake. ‘Put The Brakes On’ is a suite of imaginary spaces, the galactic Black Top electronics swirl in while Mitchener putters and yelps like a meteor shower, as Drake, Parker and Thomas’ driving rhythm section erupts. There’s a terrific spiky groove that Thomas locks into about ten minutes in, and a theme that settles into a sort of woozy lollop. If that piece has a galactic aura, title track ‘Some Good News’ is more of a smoky downstairs freak out, with echoes of trad that are totally rewired. It breaks to a beautiful pause, with a solo by Parker that prompts a u-turn in the mood and a whole different vista opens up – a jaw dropping moment.
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