Manins/Samsom/Benebig/Lockett: Shuffle (Rattle)

 |   |  2 min read

Hungry Pig Shuffle
 Manins/Samsom/Benebig/Lockett: Shuffle (Rattle)
First a word about the cover, and in fact all the Rattle covers.

Right from their first releases the cover art and presentation of albums on Auckland's Rattle label – which cover classical, jazz, taonga puoro and more – have been classy affairs: engaging artwork and design, useful liner notes and, after a few releases, the gatefold hardback format.

Their few forays into vinyl have been equally ambitious (but, one suspects, very expensive and probably money losers).

But they've never resiled from professional presentation – much credit to designer UnkleFranc – but we wonder aloud why they haven't been entered or won for cover design at the annual music awards.

The cover of this new jazz album is witty and makes amusing sense of you know the old Columbia record labels of the Sixties which, because it appeared on albums by the biggest names in pop, rock, blues and jazz, was a hallmark of quality.

When Springsteen re-signed his Columbia (aka CBS, now Sony) contract in '85 he sat down, surrounded by label execs and suits and started to reminisce about the label according to his manager Jon Landau.

At the heart of his reveries, Landau said, was the Columbia Records insignia, “You know, the old red label with the black type – he said he always loved that label”.

And that is what is referred to on this Rattle cover, an album featuring familiar Rattle jazz talents Roger Manins and Ron Samsom with revered US guitarist Carl Lockett (sessions and recordings with Jimmy Smith, Joey DeFrancesco, Jimmy McGriff, Chuck Mangione, Dakota Staton and many others) and New Caledonia-born Hammond organ player Michel Benebig.

This group played together in New Zealand in 2016 and these easy, slightly greasy grooves were recorded over a couple of days in Roundhead Studios.

Fitting the title chosen refers to the seemingly laidback sound and two of the pieces are penned by drummer Samsom who writes in the liner notes that the shuffle is sometimes referred to as the “flat tyre” for its distinctive rhythm but “The shuffle is the shit for me! It isn't just flat, it's broken, and that's where the music lies. It's so beautifully wrong!”

This is soul-groove jazz with a blues heart and on pieces like Blackwell (written by Manins, the title referring to drummer Ed who played with Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy and others?) there is a slippery swing which Lockett flies across the top with such consummate ease the he makes the difficult seem effortless, the steps back to comp while Samsom keeps a swirling undercurrent going as Manins takes flight.

Classic bebop swing.

Benebig's Dog Funk Walking goes right back to a blues-stroll, and three of Manins' other pieces all have shuffle in their titles: Shuffle One (Big Leg Shuffle), Gout Foot Shuffle and Hungry Pig Shuffle.

These titles alone – Samsom's are BB Gun (a moody stalking-after-midnight opener) and the finger-snap swing of Beep – tell you there is a real sense of shameless enjoyment being had here.

Just as that smart cover looks back with a sense of nostalgia and an iconic reference point so too do these tunes which should appeal to everyone from Grant Green and Jimmy Smith fans to those who have followed the extensive recordings of locals Manins and Samsom.


Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz articles index

Frank Gibson's Parallel 37 (Ode)

Frank Gibson's Parallel 37 (Ode)

Auckland jazz drummer Gibson has had a career that stretches back to the late 50s and he made his debut at age 8 on the stage at the Auckland Town Hall playing a duet with his drummer dad.... > Read more

Rahsaan Roland Kirk: Brotherman in the Fatherland (Hyena/Southbound

Rahsaan Roland Kirk: Brotherman in the Fatherland (Hyena/Southbound

Kirk, who died almost 30 years ago, was one of those musicians who divided jazz critics: some thought he was a showman-cum-charlatan (he could play three saxophones simultaneously) and others... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: University of Auckland songwriter finalist Doug Robertson

THE ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: University of Auckland songwriter finalist Doug Robertson

Every year many of the students in Auckland University's popular music course enter a Songwriter of the Year competition in which they perform their original songs backed by a professional band... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: Don McGlashan

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: Don McGlashan

What can you say about Don McGlashan, official Arts Laureate and Living Legend? That he has written songs which explore the dark underbelly of New Zealand life (White Valiant) but also those of... > Read more