The AllStars Collective
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The AllStars Collective

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Believe it or not to receive a daily supply of the music that you love from all over the world through your letter box has its disadvantages. This debut album from the AllStars for example has been sitting in a large pile of Cd's waiting to be reviewed since early september but it took the perseverance of both the group and there promoter to find its way to the top of the pile. It is of course virtually criminal of me to neglect an album of this quality for such a long time but I am sure that you understand the pressures that I am under!



For a long time London was the centre of 'blue-eyed soul' and raw soulful jazz and the AllStars are born out of that mold. Formed in 2004 they are the cream of Europe's session musicians with the added talent of amongst many AWB's Hamish Stuart, soul diva Jocelyn Brown and legendary jazz guitarist Jim Mullen. The class is evident across the board from the production through to the playing and the tunes themselves which are all easily accessible in a pop/soul manner that moves easily into jazzier fields on most tracks, gospel on a few others and even on the album's least appealing track reggae.



Starting strongly with the brass heavy summery 'Sometimes' the vocals of Mary Pearce lay down the standards of what is to follow. Hamish Stuart has given us some wonderful soulful solo albums since his days with the Average White Band and his style is ALL over this set and not just as producer. With 'Remedy' he takes the lead vocally and immediately you are taken back to 'Atlantic Avenue' days with some smooth guitar work from Jim Mullen. But the album's standout for me is 'Star' which conjures up the whole project in one track. Firstly, you have the soulful baritone vocals of Cuttie Williams where every word can be clearly understood and phrased perfectly in order to explain the songwriter's message, then you have the musicians playing real instruments properly culminating in yet another superb guitar solo in Wes Montgomery mode from Jim Mullen and finally the tune itself which starts off ias a slowful chugger and builds into a latinesque brass romp. Wonderful!



Overall the album sets out to create a happy vibe and 'Beautiful Day' and Jocelyn Brown's title track 'All about the music' lead the way in this respect. However, as mature musicians they also tackle issues that concern us all and the thought provoking lyrics of 'Time will Tell' are a perfect end to a very strong debut album from the AllStars.



So strong that it will feature in my 'best' of 2007 or shall I make that 2008? Delays for whatever reason can sometimes work in one's favour!



A JL REVIEW.

- JL Jamz


Crazy Beat records are very enthusiastic about this CD – they recommend you simply click the purchase button! I am very sceptical of any claims made until I have heard the set for myself, but having already heard it I can totally agree with their statement. This UK collaboration which features none other than Alan Gorrie and Hamish Stewart of the Average White Band as well as Jim Mullen, Matt Clackett on Sax, Guy Phethean on keys and vocals from Mary Pierce and Cutty Williams. This is no mock Incognito or the like; they are a wonderfully vibrant, fluid yet tight knit ensemble with their heads and hearts in the right places. All the music you will hear on this album is recorded, I presume, live and the atmosphere is full of verve. If this was a bottle of wine, I guess those in the know would call it fruity, cheeky and an instant vintage. Musically, instant vintage, is a very apt phrase to use. I am drawn back to the earthy days of the early 80s with this set. Its soul with more jazz than anything else – and even a stab at Reggae on their “On My Mind” track.

The set really does get into your face with such joviality that it cannot be ignored or dismissed. The superb opening track is called “Sometimes”, the summery vibe and soulful female lead is passionate and tinged with glee. This is a track that would be perfect for a hot summer's day (something we singularly lacked this year!) Lovers of Mojazz should connect with many songs; the guitar work reminds me of a bluesier George Benson / Norman Brown and the male vocals courtesy of the wonderful Hamish Stewart, even the horns are reminiscent of Jerry Hey at his best. What a mixture! “Star” is an instant winner for me, the flute and Benson-ish guitar win out here, and the Incognito-ish “Satisfied” adds more positivity to the proceedings. This is one CD that bases itself on hope, positivity and optimism. It radiates warmth, and the Rhodes and soulful vocals do nothing but solidify my deep appreciation for what the collective are about.

I am reminded of a jazzier, more lose Impromp2 with “Hey, Listen Up”. The dreamy keys and warm guitar are nothing less than sublime. I will definitely be dragging this track out whenever the suntan lotion needs to be slapped on next summer. “Treading Water” is a song with interesting lyrics. The situation being addressed suggests stagnation in an affair but the positivity and energetic rhythm along with some clever song writing exude positive state of mind and looking at life from a different – and lighter – perspective. At least by treading water one is not sinking! “Beautiful Day” speaks for itself, but the set closes on a very poignant note with the thoughtful, yet not barren, reading of the world today and all the troubles we all face. This is what I call a wholesome, holistic approach to music. The AllStars Collective are their own thing, and they have proved to be more than worthy of inclusion in my collection.
- Barry Towler


I loved them to the bone. It may be cold and raining outside at the moment especially here in Brum, these songs are filled with sunshine and amazing musicality. At long last the AllStars Collective should get the props they deserve. I will be playing all three tracks on SoulFood this Saturday night most definitely - DJ Ayo


The AllStars just proves that LIVE music is where its at and the UK know exactly how to present and produce it. If that Feel Good Factor is what you want then take the AllStars album and play it EVERYDAY!!! Something for everyone" - Mighty MP


The AllStars Collective constitutes some of the best Soul performers on the scene today. Produced by the Average White Band's Hamish Stuart, this is about as good as it gets in the U.K. today. Each track features a few domestic familiar Soul names. Jocelyn Brown, Hamish himself, Jim Mullen to name some of the team sheet. There are some, simply, very strong song led melodies, some quite remarkable in their own way. 'Remedy' has featured on Peter Young's (Smooth FM)'s Saturday evening show, 'Star' is a great song, whilst my current favorite 'Hey, Listen Up' is absolutely gorgeous. One of this years finest songs. Essential listening. - Toby Walker


Classy soul set featuring vocals from Hamish Stuart formally of
the Average White Band and distinctive vocals of Jocelyn Brown
my favorite cutz being "Sometimes & Star" I give this set 7/10
- Cee Gee


Discography

'All About The Music' Specific Records 2007

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Bio

The AllStars Collective:

Since their creation in the spring of 2004 The AllStars Collective has brought together the cream of Europe’s session musicians, taking the back-room talent responsible for some of the best known music in the world into the spotlight.

Between them, The AllStars Collective have live and recorded credits with many of the world’s biggest artists, including Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, George Michael, Amy Winehouse, Stevie Wonder, The Eurythmics, Madonna, Rod Stewart, Elton John, Chaka Khan, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, and many more.

They use all of their experience to create live music to a truly world class standard, creating bespoke music for major events. In 2007 they have recorded their debut album featuring some stellar guests.

These unsung heroes have been described by the major record labels as a unique concentration of talent and are very much at the core of perpetuating the UK’s reputation as one of the global centres of excellence in popular music.

The album ‘All About the Music’:

The Long-awaited debut album of original material from The AllStars features a unique array of talent; produced by and featuring Hamish Stuart (Average White Band, Paul McCartney, Chaka Khan) as well as Soul Diva Jocelyn Brown, legendary Jazz guitarist Jim Mullen and of course the musicians from The AllStars itself.