A welcome rediscovery from 1975, with a promisingly cheerful title. Barbados-born Harry Beckett (1935-2010) had one of the most beautiful trumpet tones I’ve ever heard. It was firm, but soft at the edges, with a chuckle lurking somewhere inside. Joy Unlimited isn’t typical of its time, or of anything except itself. All six tracks are Beckett compositions, tuneful, spirited and attractively arranged. His own solo playing is quite astonishing.
In the first piece he takes off at terrifying speed, hitting some high notes that may interest your dog. This is to make sure you’re paying attention. After this, the gorgeous sound, on both trumpet and flugelhorn, takes over, notably in Rings Within Rings. There’s one brief but enchanting slow piece – a duet with guitarist Ray Russell, Changes Are Still Happening – and a wonderfully rolling Caribbean-flavoured number, Glowing, featuring Brian Miller on keyboards.
The rhythm throughout is the immaculate work of bassist Darryl Runswick, drummer Nigel Morris and Martin Davis on congas. There’s a good-natured feeling of togetherness about the proceedings, an aura that seemed to follow Beckett around, and which probably helped them record this whole album in one day.