‘Down on Bond Street’ compiles 20 tracks from 1966-1968.Like Roland Alphonso did while leading Clement Dodd’s own Soul Vendors outfit (with organist Jackie Mittoo), McCook and the Supersonics cut several instrumental sides, focusing on groove-heavy beats and tasty horn and organ solos. Trojan’s Down on Bond Street brings together 20 of these gems, ranging from late ska cuts like «A Yellow Basket (A Tisket a Tasket)» to early reggae sides such as «Second Fiddle.» Focusing primarily on rocksteady material, McCook also delves into some updated Jamaican R&B («Heatwave (Moving)»), several choice covers («Ode to Billie Joe»), and a few breezy originals («Real Cool»). Showing off his considerable jazz chops, McCook is ever present with his vaporously tart and sinewy tenor lines (he turns in impressive flute work on a handful of cuts as well). Also part of that select crew of Jamaican jazz musicians, many being fellow Skatalite alums as well, the Supersonics featured alto saxophonist Lester Sterling, trumpeter Johnny «Dizzy» Moore, trombonist Vin «Don Drummond, Jr.» Gordon, guitarist Lynn Taitt (whose Jets found work with producer Joe Gibbs), and organist Winston Wright. While Heartbeat’s fine Tribute to Tommy and a few albums with the Aggrovators cover ska and reggae ground respectively, this McCook title is one of the few, if not the only wide-ranging collection of the saxophonist’s instrumental output during the ’60s. Highly recommended.
The Bankesters is one of the most sought after new bands on the bluegrass scene. Gorgeous sister harmonies set them apart from the rest (sister Emily Bankester was recognized this year with International Bluegrass Music Association’s Momentum Award for Vocalist of the Year) and the band’s Do It Yourself release of Looking Forward has been turning heads in the bluegrass community, leading to the album’s title track claiming the #1 spot on the Bluegrass Today singles airplay chart in February of this year.