Get your dancing shoes on because the 15 up-tempo tracks of this 33-piece orchestra bring all the fun, energy and playfulness of their live concerts to the CD.
Ska is the precursor to reggae music, incorporating elements of calypso, jazz, rhythm and blues, and it is nigh on impossible sit still when listening.
The big band MSO is all about fun and, under the direction of front man Nicky Bomba, this album is no exception, entertaining with a quirky cover of television’s Get Smart theme through to the catchy sounds of their newest single, The Diplomat which gave name to their recent national tour.
The sound is full bodied, brassy and lively; how could it not be with six trumpets, four trombones and nine saxophones accompanying the drums, guitars, piano and other instruments? Bomba provides the vocals for some songs, as do Pat Powell, Rebecca Ari and Steve Montgomery. A classy black and gold hardcover book holds the CD and a glossy 24-page black and white booklet which includes the lyrics and plenty of photos.
The classic and modern selections of reggae and ska include Lygon Street Meltdown, Paradiso, The Best Things in Life are Free, Papa’s Got a Brand New Ska, and Learn to Love Again. It’s easy to hear why this exceptional orchestra has recently picked up an Aria award nomination alongside their nomination from Music Victoria for Best Global or Reggae Act.
The self-titled album from the Melbourne Ska Orchestra is out now on CD through the MSO website, on vinyl from JB Hi-Fi as a double LP with bonus tracks, or digitally through iTunes. It’s a winner in every way and sure to become a favourite.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis