USO Reviewed in The Financial Times
Catch a Fire, the orchestral collaboration between Urban Soul Orchestra, Jazz Jamaica All Stars and Brinsley Forde (of ASWAD), received critical acclaim during its national tour, including a write up in the Financial Times, which can be read in full here.
Reggae's raw-edged sentiments come with refined rhythms, warm harmonies and, in Bob Marley's case, a strong social narrative - even the love songs are contextualised by a history of slavery. This gig, fronted by Aswad's vocalist Brinsley Forde, got to the essence of the album's lyrics while maintaining musical subtleties that could easily have been drowned by the serried ranks of Jazz Jamaica's big-band brass and the eight strings of the Urban Soul Orchestra - the 80-strong Voicelab choir joined in the second set.
That it worked, at times brilliantly, was due to a rhythm section built from the bottom up, Brinsley Forde’s soul-searching vocals and canny Jason Yarde arrangements that kept the essence, fleshed out key ingredients and gave each tune a special stamp. There were chases and duelling violins, featured solos and a lovely acapella fade from the three backing vocalists...