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G.R.A.S.S. On Fire by G.R.A.S.S.

Featuring a stellar cast of Brooklyn-based musicians, G.R.A.S.S.—the Gowanus Reggae and Ska Society—take on the challenge of reworking the classic sounds of Bob Marley and the Wailers. Their self produced release, G.R.A.S.S. on Fire brings an instrumental, jazz leaning perspective to Marley's 1973 major label debut Catch a Fire.

Although void of lyrical content, the ensemble, led by electric bassist J.A. Granelli and keyboardist Nate Shaw, captures the essence of Marley's politically charged message. Trombonist Mark Miller puts forth strong lyricism on the opening "Concrete Jungle," as do saxophonists Ohad Talmor and Paul Carlon in tight harmony on "Slave Driver." The three horn men get into a New Orleans-type mood toward the end of "Stop That Train."

A disc highlight occurs in the middle of "400 Years," with a free-form, high-speed chase featuring guest saxophonist Michael Blake. Other memorable moments come from special guest David Barnes as he kicks up a flurry of excitement with his harmonica on "Baby We've Got a Date" and the household Marley anthem "Stir it Up."

Positive vibes abound from this one-of-a-kind society of kindred spirits. Liberties are taken without sacrificing an ounce of groove. If anything, the results showcase the timeless spirit of Marley's music.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: G.R.A.S.S.
  • CD Title: G.R.A.S.S. On Fire
  • Genre: World Music
  • Year Released: 2011
  • Record Label: Self Produced
  • Rating: Four Stars
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