The Jazz Passengers Reunited

The Jazz Passengers Reunited
This is the first new recording from the stylistically eclectic NYC combo in a dozen years. They received attention earlier in their career via the frequent presence of Deborah Harry on their recordings and at concert dates. She returns on a couple of cuts, including a new version of Blondie hit "One Way or Another," while Elvis Costello and Marc Ribot (their original guitarist) up the celebrity quotient. Costello helps kick the album off with a nice vocal turn on "Wind Walked By," while Ribot's fluent fretwork is featured on the first six tracks. He shines on a vibrant version of Radiohead's "National Anthem." Not that the Jazz Passengers need to rely on outside help; they have musical chops to burn, and they come up with inventive arrangements juxtaposed with the R&B feel of tracks like "Button Up" and a reworking of Peaches and Herb hit "Reunited." Roy Nathanson co-wrote four numbers and blows cool alto and soprano sax, while the trombone work of Curtis Fowlkes is similarly strong. They, along with comrades Bill Ware and Brad Jones, also contribute vocal turns. The Jazz Passengers are well worth taking a ride with. (Justin Time)