Toph-E & the Pussycats
M'Bubba Music 10052
October 26 Release
Clifford Carter-piano / keyboards
Will Lee-bass & vocals
David Mann-tenor / soprano saxophones Chris Parker-drums
Now in their 10th year, Toph-E and the Pussycats is a group of well-respected and professional musicians (Clifford Carter, Will Lee, Ralph MacDonald, David Mann, and Chris Parker) who share a great love for rhythm and bluesand play it in an experimental jazz context. Based in New York City, they share an impressive list of credits and career connections.
As a band, Toph-E & the Pussycats play an eclectic mix of original jazz, written by Parker, Carter, Lee, and Mann. Without a doubt, the hits of Ralph MacDonald are perennial band favorites along with reinterpretations of jazz standards by Monk, Miles, Herbie Hancock, and Duke Ellington as well as Pussycat contemporaries like Richard Tee and Don Grolnick.
A musical philosophy" or the direction" for the band should be called R & B-Bop," since the approach to the material comes from collective jazz, funk, and rhythm and blues influences.
The omission of a guitarist is deliberate and a nod to the great quartets and quintets led by Art Blakey, Horace Silver, and Thelonious Monk. It's a way to keep the focus on the rhythm section and the interaction between drums, percussion, and bass. Without a guitar there is more solo space for piano, tenor sax, bass, and percussion. Subsequently, the dynamic range is enveloped by the volume limitations of mostly acoustic instruments.
The Pussycats are the softest, warmest, most affectionate players a drummer could hope for and these guys positively 'purr' on stage or in the studio and their musical personalities are stealthy, reactive, and feline! Their new studio album, No Ordinary Day, is musical confirmation.
About Toph-E & The Pussycats
Chris Parker, drums, has been a member of the Brecker Brothers, Stuff, Joe Cool, and NBC's Saturday Night Live. He has toured with Bob Dylan, Bette Midler, Joe Cocker, Boz Scaggs, and Paul Simon. Chris has recorded with Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, Ashford and Simpson, Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, James Brown, Salt'n'Pepa, Miles Davis, Lionel Hampton, Joe Farrell, Freddie Hubbard, David Sanborn, Joe Beck, Michael Franks, and Cher.
Will Lee, on bass and vocals, hails from the Late Show with David Letterman on CBS, and The Fab Faux. He has performed and appeared on numerous recordings with Frank Sinatra, Bette Midler, Barbara Streisand, Mick Jagger, Steely Dan, James Brown, Ivan Lins, Pat Metheny, Chaka Khan, George Benson, and Spyro Gyra.
Ralph MacDonald, percussionist and Grammy-winning songwriter, started with Harry Belafonte when he was only 16 and went on to have Grammy-winning hit records of his songs recorded by Bill Withers, ("Just the Two of Us"), Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack, ("Where is the Love"), and Grover Washington, ("Mister Magic"). Since then, Ralph has performed on countless recordings with artists as varied as George Benson, Tom Scott, and Jimmy Buffett.
Clifford Carter, on piano and keyboards, has been the pianist with Patty Scialfa, James Taylor, and Art Garfunkel. In addition, Cliff has toured with Bryan Ferry, Betty Buckley, Chris Botti, saxophonist Bill Evans, and Brethren Crazed Man and the Wildlife Ensemble.
David Mann, tenor and soprano saxophones, has released solo albums (his most recent is, Finding My Way Home with his brother, bassist Ned Mann), as well as producing other artists such as Nelson Rangell, Rachel Z, and the late Waymon Tisdale. David's recording credits are extensive, including Tower of Power, James Taylor, Luther Vandross, Jeff Lorber, Paul Simon, and Bob James.