You are here:Home>CD Reviews>Soul / Funk Jazz - CD Reviews>Live on the QE2 by Junior Mance and the Floating Jazz Festival Trio / The Lo

Live on the QE2 by Junior Mance and the Floating Jazz Festival Trio / The Lo

The cruise ships, Queen Elizabeth 2 and until recently the S/S Norway, offer Floating Jazz Festival joy rides somewhere out in the Atlantic Ocean with top grade jazz musicians. It's a nice concept: lots of sun, buckets of available food, miles and miles of ocean horizon, endless rows of sunglassed tourists tucked in their deck chairs peering at the passing people parade, and jazz. Very good jazz in a very relaxed atmosphere. With such amiable surroundings can Mance and Donaldson capture the grittiness and funk of an urban landscape to which their music is generally accustomed?

"Mance" features Junior Mance with bassist Keter Betts and drummer Jackie Williams with walk-on (how does that work?) appearances of Arturo Sandoval, Lou Donaldson and Etta Jones. Jobim's "How Insensitive" is a beautiful piano piece highlighted by an occasional funky and assertive bass. Donaldson and Sandoval soon join Mance's trio on two Charlie Parker standards. One of them, "Confirmation," is a rich and joyful jam with a very appreciative (and vocal) audience. Sandoval nearly blows out one of the ship's smokestacks. Mance takes "Willow Weep for Me" down a notch and plays it as a gorgeous and elegant rolling blues. Etta James adds a wailing sauciness on her blues tune, "I Got a New Daddy."

In a similar vein, "Live on the QE2" features a lineup consisting of Donaldson, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Randy Johnston and Danny Burger. Donaldson's solo on Parker's "Marmaduke" is glorious in handling the knotty twists and turns of the composition. As he puts it, it is "not recommended for fusion or confusion musicians." Dr. Smith is featured on "Midnight Creeper." He gives a very funky rendition whose organ mimics a big band sound. Payton triumphs on his nuanced and delicate take on Gershwin's "I Can't Get Started" which includes subtle quotation from "Girl from Ipanema."

So how does the song like "Harlem Nocturne" work while floating on ship that has the dimensions of a suburban mall wearing flip-flops and shorts and a belly full? I seriously don't know, but it's a concept I'm willing to explore. But if you can only settle for the music without the ocean, it's worth a trip.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Junior Mance and the Floating Jazz Festival Trio / The Lo
  • CD Title: Live on the QE2
  • Genre: Soul / Funk Jazz
  • Year Released: 2000
  • Record Label: Chiaroscuro
  • Musicians: Mance: Junior Mance (piano), Keter Betts (bass), Jackie Williams (drums), Arturo Sandoval (trumpet), Lou Donaldson (alto saxophone), Etta Jones (vocals) QE2: Lou Donaldson (alto saxophone, vocals), Dr. Lonnie Smith (organ), Randy Johnston (guitar), Danny Burger (drums), Nicholas Payton (trumpet).
  • Rating: Five Stars
Login to post comments