IMAGINE NATION HSR 109
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Without a doubt Darren English is an adventurous, resolute new voice on the scene and will unquestionably leave his imprint on the world of jazz
in years to come. - Russell Gunn
IMAGINE NATION is the debut CD by Darren English, a young trumpet player, composer and arranger who is already building an international reputation. Hailing from Cape Town, South Africa, English has performed extensively in his native country and around Europe. He currently lives in Atlanta, GA, where he went to school and where he now performs regularly, attracting the attention of the top jazz talent in the region, some of whom join English on this project.
IMAGINE NATION comprises ten tunes. English composed a suite of three tunes that pay homage to Nelson Mandela and the struggle to end apartheid. He also composed “Bullet in the Gunn” that pays tribute to Grammy-nominated trumpeter Gunn.
The other tunes on the album are well known standards that English truly makes his own. Take for example his rendition of “Body and Soul.” He creates a completely different vibe by playing the opening chorus without a mouthpiece. The breathy sound he engenders is complemented by Thornton’s arco bass playing, setting up an atmospheric mood that carries through the rest of the song. Although it is one of most widely performed songs in the jazz oeuvre, English’s heartfelt rendition stands with the best.
English is also a student of bebop and includes two standards of the genre: Ray Noble’s “Cherokee,” on which English trades solos with Gunn and Grandsen, and Dizzy Gillespie’s “Bebop.” Both tunes showcase English’s incredible trumpet chops and his ability to play shoulder to shoulder with musicians who have many more years of performing experience under their belt. Bradford lends her inimitable voice to the swinging “What A Little Moonlight Can Do (To You)” and the lovely “Skylark” on which English demonstrates his wide-ranging ability to create different moods with his sensitive and subtle accompaniment to Bradford’s silken voice.
Darren English, trumpet
Kenny Banks, Jr., piano
Billy Thornton, acoustic bass
Chris Burroughs, drums
with special guests:
Greg Tardy, tenor sax (5,6,9)
Carmen Bradford, vocals (4,7)
Russell Gunn, trumpet, (10)
Joe Gransden, trumpet (10)
All arrangements by Darren English
Original compositions (1, 5, 6, 9) by Darren English, BMI