Len 'Boogsie' Sharpe - Bridge Over Troubled Water
2004 has begun on a bright note with the release of recordings by
ace pannists. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” is one although,
correctly, it is a re-reissue of Len 'Boogsie' Sharpe’s 1997 solo CD
“Moods of A Genius”. The earlier title is more indicative of the
artistry of displayed on the CD. The thirteen tracks are in a
different sequence than before and the overall pan sound is more
crisp and modulated to the other instruments.
This recording has many notable features: Boogsie’s calypso
arrangement of “How Great Thou Art” and the jazzy improvising of “I
Had A Little Monkey” spawned many ‘me too’ pan recordings.
Superblue’s “Ethel” and “Sa Sa Est”, a la Sparrow, demonstrate a
superb balance of pan and voice. The Lydian Singers under the
direction Pat Bishop add the dimension that sets this compilation
apart. It put down the formula that others were to follow judging by
how common it is now to have pan jazz recordings with voices.
“Honey Child” and “Sunny Isle” are two other standouts. The first,
for its relaxed pace in a small combo setting with a strong bass
that does not overpower the pan melodies. And the second for the
true pan solo – Boogsie and the pans, alone; it is sunny, intricate
and calm. Taken as a whole “Bridge…” is cool, composed, and