Annie Whitehead

Mix Up

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Mix Up was British trombonist Annie Whitehead's first solo LP (reissued on CD in 2001 by Jazzprint). She is accompanied by Louise Elliott (saxes and flutes), Laka Daisical (piano), Simon Edwards (bass), and Roy Dodds (drums). The lady's whimsical writing had already reached a commanding level, making this a very enjoyable debut. Half of the tracks are songs drawing on the Canterbury jazz-rock-pop heritage. Whitehead's voice is not the find of the century, but she has a pleasant tone and puts a lot of energy and fun in her delivery. The other pieces are hot jazz-funk numbers with an occasional worldbeat flavor (before it became fashionable, one might add). Highlights include "Pigeon Post," the feminist song "Freedom Marching," and "Mambo III," the latter a very entertaining instrumental. The music walks the line between the immediate straight-ahead and the quirky. The fact is, considering all the clinical, intellectual, cold-sounding jazz-rock that was recorded in 1984, Mix Up comes through as particularly warm and listener-friendly. It does not have the scope of some of her later efforts, like Naked, but it is nonetheless recommendable.

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