Well when star players of THIS calibre get together, it really is just a question of how good the material will be. Because here we have stellar drummer and currently with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers no less Mr Steve Ferrone – I am pretty sure that on the Average White Band’s When Will You Be Mine he hits the incredible snare fills that make this insistent funk nugget sound so crisp and exciting. Then Molly (Malcolm) Duncan on tenor saxophone..greasy, fluid, never far from a haunting melodic figure or bluesy croon. Who could possibly sing and play guitar with these cats? Answer – one Hamish Stuart. The very man who brought his snappy axework and raspy voice to Ronnie Wood’s great celebration of the US Chess label, at our Apollo. AWB DNA, indeed….
Other players include Steve Pearce on bass, Ross Stanley on piano, Adam Phillips on guitar and more. One Emma Stuart sings on a couple of tracks.
Mighty Fall (parts 1 & 2) is a cool relaxed groove to start with, all meandering bass and wah’d guitar. It seems to be about Muhammed Ali. Players this accomplished can bring a story song to life. It has to be said this has a very AWB sound. Phillips is up for a solo @ 2:34 and a slinky bitch of a break it is, too. It floats off into the bridge. The drum work on this is icily exact and funky.
Put Your Hands To The Sky is a snaky item, heavy pumping bass upfront. A cautionary tale initially, with a message of encouragement. The horns circle the tune like lilies on a pond. A real late night / bedroom sound. Wordsworth has folky lilt to it and the horn figures have a regal tinge. A measured vocal avoids anything but subtlety. It ain’t about the poet, more about communication.
Loose Change – now ain’t that a Maceo kinda tune title ? this is a tropical piece with fine percussion and almost dub bass. The breeze blows through the number. On To Love & Learn and this has an almost eerie ambience but then the laidback funk beat starts and the feet tap. Reminds me of Earl Klugh, no bad thing? Cherry Blossom Time is an understated jazzy ballad, could almost be a nod to the late Al Jarreau and a nice interlude.
Some Other Time takes that relaxed route, damped guitar flicks and a slow tempo. One of those songs that could be forty years old or brand new. The delivery is pretty much Brook Benton in delivery, a good listen; Too Hip really swings along on the sax figures and slightly chorus’d guitar, an emphatic bass line to the fore. The lyric seems to lament the march of tech progress. The warp-up cut Just For A Thrill is a late-night croon with a warmth swimming around it. The piano sound is fabulous, here and the world-weary vocal just gets to you.
Rather more laid-back material here than I anticipated, brilliant and non-competitive playing by all. The lead cut is the cherry on this funk cake, imho. Masters at work, whichever way you look at the project.
(Thanks to Stuart)
The 360 Band’s debut album ‘Three Sixty’ is out now on 3MS Music.
You can purchase the album on Amazon UK here: http://amzn.to/2xlBVcY