20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
A true Godsend and underrated jazz classic,
This review is from: Best - The Greatest Hits (Audio CD)
What masquerades as teeny pop fun is one of the great underrated jazz works of the last thirty or forty years. Not many people know that Paul Catteract began his music career under the wing of Hank Antoniuk, the legendary New York jazz saxophonist, before his move to Iceland in the mid-80s where the original SC7 line-up was forged (in fact the group was named for the Sahlin Club in Paris where Catteract cut his teeth, recording with Max Stein, Aimée d'Ontario and The Bloomswood Quintet among others). You can hear traces of Antoniuk's groove in the early club recordings (cut on vinyl only I'm afraid kids!!) when SC7 were cutting a swathe through the London circuit with their understated sax play, sultry percussion and electrifying solos, especially with Jonny Lea cutting up the vibe on bass like a modern-day Ron Carter. This hits compilation is a true Godsend because you can trace the development of this insanely complex group from their earliest Jazz Café days (S Club Party, Reach) thru the late 90's, when Tina was pushing the limits of conceptual jazz with a Barney Kessel-inspired vivacity that had even the likes of Bireli LaGrene penning her into their phonebooks (Don't Stop Movin' being the real iconic track of this period). In my opinion the collection sinks a little into their more recent Buddy Richmond years, with so-so hits like Love Ain't Gonna Wait For You and Alive lacking some of the tenor of their earlier achievements, but it picks up sharpish with Everybody Get Pumped, possibly the sharpest piece of post-Jimmy Squeal jazz psychedelia since Tony B Burlington's legendary set in Toronto. Like all the best geniuses of jazz, the Club knew when to move on, just at that moment when the musical ambitions of each member were beginning to be constrained by the whole: no little surprise in Raquel Stevens being the best of the bunch, her album Come And Get It challenging all those detractors who spent most of the 90s arguing that she was nothing more than a poor man's Lennox Wilson - more Tammy Tanworth that Cold Coffee I might add!!