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NY Panyards 2005

In Review

By Sherwin Thwaites



When asked to review   Panyards  2005,  at first I was very  apprehensive.   As a musician, (particularly  an  arranger)  we tend to become  attached  and very  protective  of our piece  of work.  Therefore, it becomes  hard to accept  criticisms  from outsiders  who don’t know the work from it’s inception.

            First, I would like to extend my sincere  appreciation  to Basement Recordings  for their ongoing effort to keep everyone  in the pan fraternity abreast  to the happenings  and the sounds of pan in the US and abroad. 

            Now let’s review.   The great thing about  Panyards  is that the bands  are playing  at nice slow to medium tempos .  Therefore, it makes  it easier  to hear  each  section  with clarity .  I’m not sure if the recording was mixed  in Pro Tools or some other high-end  recording medium , but  audibly  it is pristine.   I think the technique  used is called the ‘box in one technique’.  This technique  makes  each section  sound clear  and still gives you that  grumble  of a big band  without  harming  the integrity  of the recording.   Playing with a lot of steelbands , I’ve come  to understand  how  to maneuver  them for recordings  and amplified  outdoor  events.   Steelbands  usually  have  their own overall  balance  depending  on the make up of instruments .  Therefore, under normal  circumstances  an  engineer  could  just do an overall  miking  and be able to get  a good representation.  However, in this case Panyards  exemplifies  steelband  recordings  at its best by taking  it  to another  level. Placing mics on just  about  everything  all the way down  to the drums and still able to reproduce  the sound  of a 60-90  member  steel orchestra  is a feat in itself.  

            Now the bands.   Remember this review  is of the recording and not the arrangements .  Each band performed  exceptional  for the recording  and each  arranger  should be commended on their  work.  

Patonic- Clive  Bradley ……..need I say more. He’s a master  at orchestration, harmony  and motivic  development.   For him to give  Desperadoes  one arrangement  of Oba’s Action  that was worthy  of high marks in Trinidad, and then to come  up with a completely  different  arrangement   for Tonic only speaks of his genius.  Not to mention the drummer  is incredible ( my younger brother Sheldon ) I just  hope  that  all you pannists  that  play Mr Bradley’s music  really  analyze  and learn from him so there will be some young  Bradleys’ to come.  Can’t wait  to see what’s up his sleeve  for next  year.  

D’ Radoes- Clive Bradley  again.  He took John King’s Dahlin and made  it musical  enough that  it was Panorama worthy .  Interpretation   A+, Harmonic Development   A+,  D’ Radoes A+.

 Pan Sonatas- Yohan  Popwell  has proven that  he’s a force to be reckoned with in the panorama  arenas  worldwide.    He has single -handedly   brought  Sonatas back to prominence   with his arrangements.   His use of harmony  and motives  is excellent.  His interpretation  of the Latin  rhythms  would  make  Tito  Puente  proud.   Tonal  quality  A++++. Birch Kelman  need I say more.

    CASYM- Ardin Herbert  is a prime  example  of when an arranger  has good players , he can  arrange  at his peak.  This band and arranger  are one,  similar to Phase II and Boogsie.  They understand  and execute  his style  with ease. This performance  is probably  one of the faster tempos  on the recording .  They handle  all of Herbert’s arrangement  with no problems.  Being  a Phase II myself ,  I can tell he’s from the West and understands groove.   His interpretation  A+,  Harmonic  Development   A+, Balance  A+.

 Crossfire- Brian “Bean” Griffith- Another West arranger  that  exemplifies  groove.  Griffith maneuvers  through Trini Gone Wild  with ease.  Wonderful use of his own composition of Trini Know How To Party in the intro.  That was a genius  way to  play on the title.  This band deserves  the most  improved  award.  They are  20 players away  from a Panorama  title.  The music is definitely  happening.  Crossfire A+.

Marsicans Pelham Goddard- I didn’t think it could be done, but Pelham proved me wrong.  Pelham made Shurwayne  Winchester’s Dead or Alive panorama  worthy.  He used the main motive  like a genius would.  His use of modal  harmonies  had me feeling like I was back in the old wild West.  The use of crescendo’s and diminuendo’s  was excellent.  It’s a very classical style arrangement.  Pelham  is the Leonard Bernstein  of arrangers.  If you know good music you know who that is.  Marsicans A+.

Sesame Flyers- Freddy Harris Jr. & Andy Aikiko-  Young and upcoming  arrangers to be reckoned with.   This is the future, believe  me.  The first counter  melody  is SICK!!! It’s Charlie Parker, Coltrane, Bud Powell, and Boogsie rolled  into one.  So many  be-bop  lines!!! Nice to know that people  listen and  see the similarities between Calypso  and Jazz. Harmonic  Development   A+,  use of be-bop  motives  A+++++++. Keep going fellas, I’m sure we’ll battling  for that top spot in NY and Trini Panorama’s for years to come.

In closing,  it has been a pleasure  to listen and enjoy  pan music at its highest  level  musically  and audibly .  Thank  You  Basement  Recordings . 


Look  out  for me and my brothers (The Thwaites  Brothers)  all through out  the pan scene  in the US and worldwide.  Check us out and Lauryn Hill’s next album  due out sometime  next year.  Check out our website


Peace and Pan

Sherwin Thwaites

Listen to audio samples of New York Pan Yards Recording



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NY Panyard 2004 DVD

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Pantonic Live!!!  Five-time New York Panorama champions show why they are the best in the North America... 
Clive Bradley at his best..
review by Frankie McIntosh




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