Various Artists, Jump-Up Carnival/Calypso Tent

Chris Nickson

By Chris Nickson

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Feel the sweat, feel the heat.

If you've never attended the annual spectacle of Carnival in Trinidad, but wondered what all the fuss is about, this is the perfect introduction. Engineer Emory Cook beautifully captures all the facets of the pre-Lenten celebration, from the lyrical incisiveness of Lord Melody's calypso to the sophisticated jazz of the Caribbean. It all begins with a lengthy soundscape of the Carnival procession that puts you firmly in the crowd as the acts pass, including some glorious steel bands. There's plenty of good-natured calypso to entertain, like "Taxi Driver" or "B.W.I.A.," and it all finishes as it should with "Carnival in Trinidad 2," where the steel pans provide an expansive underpinning to jazz, bringing many of the elements together. There's a trademark sonic clarity to Cook's work here; this isn't an armchair experience, by any means. You feel the sweat of the musicians and the heat of the calypso tent around you, the best kind of travelogue.