Come Around
The Senior Allstars
Skycap Records-Rough Trade
February 23, 2008

Track list
  1. 25Cent
  2. Rome
  3. Boombay
  4. Gunshot
  5. Five To Nine (a.k.a. Funky Reggae)
  6. Wha'ppen
  7. Bemshaswing
  8. Come Around
  9. Wrongnumber
  10. Wrongdub
  11. T-Birdskank
  12. Shade
  13. Land'send
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Lead Instruments : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3/4
It is still hard to suppress putting Dr. Ring Ding in front of The Senior Allstars as in the ten years he was their frontman together they made their mark on the international ska scene, not only for their energetic, entertaining and skilled live performances, but also for their five albums, numerous singles and the two albums on which they backed legendary Jamaican veterans Doreen Shaffer and Lord Tanamo. The first releases of The Senior Allstars as an instrumental band were already made before the split up with Dr. Ring Ding, when on Münster's Grover Records their 12" "Sniff" was released in 1999, followed by the album "Nemo" in 2000 and the 7" "Three Coins In The Fountain" b/w "Jammin'" in 2001, followed by a longer pause before returning in 2006 with the strong "Red Leaf". And now Skycap Records releases their latest (and in my opinion best) album so far, "Come Around", a completely instrumental album, which only lets its truly fine qualities be uncovered after listening to it several times.

Guitar, organ & piano player Markus Dassmann (who composed 8 of the 9 tracks featured on this album), saxophone player Oliver Wienand, organist and pianist Lars Grundmann, (also H-Blockx) bass player Stephan 'Gudze' Hinz and drummer Thomas Hoppe take you on a musical trip with stops at the very early UB40 instrumental reggae reminiscent opener "25Cent" with Oliver Wienand in the role of Brian Travers and an un-UB40-like swinging organ taking the lead as well, Miles Davis when he recorded "Tutu" in 1986 thanks to Bernd Westhoff's fabulous trumpet playing on "Rome" and the instrumental 'Far East' reggae interpretation of reggae's legendary melodica-player and producer Augustus Pablo on "Boombay". The funkiness of the organ-dominated "Gunshot" impresses and is followed by the even funkier and aptly titled "Five To Nine (a.k.a. Funky Reggae)", before another tune seems to be made in memory of Augustus Pablo with a slight jazzy feel sippling true in the heavy bass driven dub of "Wha'ppen" where the saxophone alternates taking the lead with the melodica as 'King Tubbys meets the Senior Allstars uptown'.

"Bemshaswing" is the only non-original on this album, as the Senior Allstars deliver a brilliant take on legendary jazz pianist Thelonious Monk's 1956 tune, before the title tune "Come Around" takes you a couple of steps further ahead in time (but only a few, not too many) for the vibes of Ernest Ranglin's and Lynn Taitt's early jazz influenced guitar contributors to Jamaican music. The great musicianship of The Senior Allstars is once more very well shown in "Wrongnumber" and its excellent accompanying dub workout "Wrongdub" on which the early UB40 (instrumental) vibe is thoroughly felt once more, before Bernd Westhoff joins the band again for the very fine "T-Birdskank". A melancholic jazzy approach of reggae can be heard in "Shade" before this truly magnificent instrumental reggae, ska, jazz and funk album is closed with the extremely beautiful dubby "Land'send". This is an album that must be heard by anyone with even the faintest interest in instrumental reggae or weakness for jazzy and/or funky reggae and ska.