Isolation Emancipation from Mace Francis Plus 11

Album:  Isolation Emancipation
Artist:  Mace Francis Plus 11
Label:  Self-Released

Trombonist and bandleader Mace Francis celebrates the virtuosity and uplifting spirit of big band music with his latest endeavor Isolation Emancipation.  Joining Francis is Plus 11, comprised of 11 musicians who stoke the embers of swing jazz, a timepiece that Francis believes is a bygone era though he proves its principle idioms transcend the ages.  Adorned in catchy rhythms and attractive harmonies, the music's appeal is noticeable from the start, crafting a slew of subliminal, melodic passages.

The sinewy bursts of the brass and woodwinds, constituted of saxophones, trumpets, trombones, and Tahlia Denn on French Horn is bountiful, thrusting ardently while delightfully splayed across the title track.  Harry Mitchell's piano keys bolster a gleeful prance as the steady drumbeats of Bronton Ainsworth are partnered with the bopping pumps of Alistair Peel's bass.  The ballroom style elegance of the piece has a nostalgic flare with a modern jazz glint.  

Vocalist Lucy Iffla reimagines the classic American cowboy anthem "Home on the Range," penned by Dr. Brewster M. Higley, with a feminine touch.  Her smooth resonance accentuates the floating sensations of the horns as Mitchell's keys twine gracefully through the melody.  Francis's rendition of the iconic Old West theme is a gorgeous tribute.

Keeping to the feel good motif, "Jolly Good" is an uplifting tune with trapeze-like swirls and swiveling toots scrolled by the trumpets.  The instrumentation has a vaudeville-tint that one could imagine being heard during the Tin Pan Alley days of Broadway theatre.  The breathy timbres of Iffla's vocals in "I'm in the Mood for Love," the 1935 international hit by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields, brandish a radiant luster that pronounces the effortless strokes of her delivery.  With a talent for elevating the listener, Iffla displays a siren-like command reminiscent of the stirring performances of Lisa Kelly of Celtic Woman fame and Elaine Paige, who played Grizabella in England's premier adaption of the Cats musical.

Francis's astuteness for detail and his penchant for harmony is perceivable, reeling in the audience from the start.  His arrangements pronounce an uplifting spirit that enshrouds listeners in a slew of feel good, melodic passages, which is a desirable place to be.

Vocals:  Lucy Iffla
Saxophones:  Gemma Farrell, Jayden Blockley, Jemima Mills
Trumpets:  Marty Pervan and Ricki Malet
French Horn:  Tahlia Denn
Trombones:  Mace Francis and Steve Bickley
Piano:  Harry Mitchell
Bass:  Alistair Peel
Drums:  Bronton Ainsworth


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