jazz & fusion...
the great vocals featured on fusion albums from back in the day...thanks for the idea lance
Deodato - Prelude / Deodato 2 / Whirlwinds / First Cuckoo
Been ignoring this page at the site, haven't I? Thing is that, by the time I have finished responding to folks who want to find this album or source an image etc, I can still be sitting here well into the afternoon. I was going to pen this piece on Monday. Today it's Friday. I will definitely get back to everyone who gets in touch. I even responded positively to guy who called me a moron! LOL Guess he must have been having a bad day!
Deodato? What a funny bloke he is. He has had so many strings to his musical bow, that Robin Hood would be jealous! The man hit the charts at his musical 'beginnings' with his version of '2001' (Also Sprach Zarathustra') way back in 1972. That was on this 'Prelude' album shown above here. Mean and moody he looked on the inner liner sleeve as well. He was signed at the time to Creed Taylor's CTI imprint. Ahead of it's time? I guess it was. That album also featured Hubert Laws, Airto, Stanley Clarke and Billy Cobham. Emuir, also used to hang with John Tropea. That was a huge collaboration in what was to follow.
By the time 'Deodato 2' was released, a year later, Emuir had a penchant for 'Struts'. This time round it came in the form of 'Super Strut', a fabulous stomper that infused jazz and fusion impeccably. Very popular a decade later in the birth of Acid Jazz. Deodato wasn't afraid to experiment. In many melodies, within these for albums, I would bet that the musicians must have looked at their songsheets in disbelief, before the recordings commenced!
'Whirlwinds' has the man smoking on the rear cover. He was probably enjoying his latest 'Strut', the 'Havanna Strut'! Not as stronger set as the last album. More of a progression in many ways. Nice version of Steely Dan's 'Do It Again' here however.
The last of this quartet is the album 'First Cuckoo'. By this time the 'latest Strut on the block' came in the form of 'Watusi Strut'. One hell of a long piece that must have had the guys exhausted at the end of recordings! At this point in time, you can sense a change in direction. Tracks such as 'Funk Yourself' (very much his business! LOL) were to indicate where the man was musically headed. This set was, probably his last real Jazz / Fusion offering. I loved his orchestral take on Delius's musical masterpiece title track. I like Delius a great deal. Goes to show that all form's of music have their relevancy.
A year later, in 1976, Deodato was 'full on the Funk' mode with tracks such as 'Peter Gunn' hitting the Soul Charts. A couple of years later, and the man was 'full on Disco' with the likes of 'Whistle Bump' and 'Skatin'.
By the end of the decade, he was producing the likes of the, more pop orientated, Kool and the Gang and Kleeer.
These albums are the building blocks of a man who has helped many folks further their careers. More power to his elbow!
Ornette Coleman - At The Stockholm Circle / The Empty Foxhole
There is an interesting story as to how I came to own these two jazz albums. These are the original Blue Note albums from 1965 and 1966 respectively, vinyl etc.
When I was a kid in the 1960's (10 years old in 1966), our neighbours in the flat upstairs were all from the U.S., studying over here.They were doing their own thing, smoking dope and playing music really loud, as I guess everybody was at the time. They played some weird stuff, however, on each trip back to see their families at home, they would pick up an album or two and bring it back to the U.K. If you weren't in to whatever the Beatles or Stones were doing, you would be into Jazz. At the time, the face of Jazz had changed. The ownership of the more industry presentable side of the genre was represented by the likes of Sinatra or Tony Bennett. Miles, John Coltrane and Ornette were doing their rebellious own thing. After a few years and, developing a skill for drawing, I worked for the last remaining tenant of the flat, drawing up plans for a refurbishent upstairs. He was now the owner. Really nice guy who lectures in Economics at Kingston University. He speaks fluent Russian. A very great person. Eccentric and intelligent. A good friend. After I completed his project he said to me he wanted to pay me, to which I replied that I would rather be paid 'in kind'. He said that he had all of these old albums that he didn't want anymore and would I be interested? I agreed and down came some forty albums from his flat. I did point out that these may be valuable. Being the decent person he is, he said, 'You've helped me out, now these are yours'. In amongst the pile (some albums are over 50 years old) were these two original Ornette Coleman offerings from the mid Sixties.
Now Ornette was doing what a lot of the artists were doing at the time. A kind of 'freestyle' Jazz. It seems as if the performers have the music to various different songs going on all at once. Ornette was keeping the music 'Black'. By rebelling in the same way Miles did via his later 'Bitches Brew' project. Not something to listen to if you have a headache! LOL Having said that, these are highly important milestones in the fabric of Jazz. If you understand where you have been, you understand where you are going. I must thank my neighbour for keeping these albums in a mint condition. Not sure what you guys will make of these melodies. All part of the rich tapestry of Black Music. Not so much Fusion, just the pure form of the art. The melodies, by the way, are 'The Riddle' (only a small section) from the 1965 album and the title track from the 1966 album.
Ben Sidran - Free In America / The Doctor Is In
Ben Sidran is a very talented artist. On these two Arista albums from 1976 and 1977 respectively, he pooled together an amazing line-up of recording artists. In the starting line-up were the likes of Phil Upchurch, The Brecker Brothers, Master Henry Gibson, Richard Tee, David 'Fathead' Newman, Larry Carlton and Blue Mitchell amongst others. It is these guys input who have made me include these albums within this section at the site. You could argue that Ben may be more at home in the 'Blue Eyed' section here, although, when I bought these albums a few years back, I had him, bang centre, within the Fusion scheme of things.
Ben has an almost spoken delivery and, today, his newer product can be found in the 'smooth jazz' section of your local store. In many ways these type of albums are where 'smooth jazz' is trying to position itself thesedays, but with more focus on cover versions. Two years ago, it was a saxophone played over an uninteresting background. This is where the companies wanted the 'cutting edge' Fusion artists of the Seventies to position themselves nowadays. Today, bereft of idea's, they are now trying to find a new Harry Connick Jnr and guys like Rod Stewart, Robbie Williams, George Michael, Jamie Cullum and Michael Booblay (or whatever he spells his name as) who are now being encouraged to churn out similar fodder. How many times do we have to listen to a version of 'I've Got You Under My Skin'? These two albums showcase where the industry ought to be headed today. Cutting edge Jazz musicians, new songs and not covers of Frank Sinatra's Forties and Fifties tunes.
If you can get your hands on these two sets, do listen to 'Let's Make A Deal' from 'Free In America' and 'Song For A Sucker Like You' from 'The Doctor Is In'. Like a breath of fresh air from 28 years back. As Punch might say 'That's the way to do it'! Do check his earlier 'I Lead A Life' album as well. Very underrated artist and hard for the majors to pigeon-hole. More power...
Tyzik - Prophecy / Radiance
Jeff Tyzik is an accomplished trumpeter and songwriter, who recorded several 'straight ahead' jazz albums, however, in the early eighties he dabbled with soul and fusion, with the end result, these two excellent albums from 1981 and 1982 respectively.
'Prophecy' was released in 1981 and is sought after for the fusion tune 'Florentine'. Unlike the 1982 outing, this album is purely instrumental. Of the other tracks on offer 'Birth Day' is a really lushly orchestrated downtempo number that is really pleasing on the ears. A nice album. 'Radiance' followed in 1982 and is a much more soulful affair. There are some great vocals from the excellent Lani Groves on the opener 'Sweet Nothings' (a tune that was all over soul radio on the albums release). For me, this track represents Jeff Tyziks finest moment. Of the other tracks on show here 'Far Away' reminds me of the playing of Freddie Hubbard, however, Jeff's technique is so flexible, he can move between various styles, at times sounding very much like Maynard Ferguson. 'Better And Better' has a very nice groove, whilst Lani pitches in with some nice vocal touches on 'Circe'. A very satisfying album, worth the purchase for 'Sweet Nothings' alone. Both sets were released on Capitol Records, by the way.
Sonny Stitt - Never Can Say Goodbye / Gabor Szabo - Memorabilia
Two artists here that have one thing in common. They both died in 1982!
Sonny Stitt's album has become something of a, highly sought after, fusion classic. On Cadet from 1975, the tune most jazz fans have gone for is the excellent 'Slick Eddie'. The set has been on many 'wants lists' for several years now. 'Slick Eddie' has made it to a couple of fusion compilations recently so there should be little difficulty in obtaining a copy. That tune is, in fact, the only original melody on show here, the rest are cover versions of some very wide ranging songs. You have the Barbara Striesand tune 'The Way We Were', the 'Theme From The Godfather II' and Aretha's soul classic, 'Spanish Harlem'. The pick of the crop here, for this scribe, is one of my favourite soul tunes, 'Never Can Say Goodbye', of which Gabor's version reminds me a little of the Gato Barbieri instrumental, 'I Want You' (written by the excellent Leon Ware). This album is well worth tracking down.
Hungarian born, Gabor Szabo is perhaps best remembered, probably, by fusion fans for his 1976 version of the Bunny Sigler tune, 'Keep Smilin'. That album had some fine moments as does this set on Impulse from 1982. I must confess that I bought this album just for one track and, on skipping through the other melodies recently, I guess that this is still the case, although there are many tracks on show here that may appeal to the discerning fusion punter. As with Sonny's album, this set is constructed mainly from cover versions. You get Gabors version of the Dionne Warwick standard 'Walk On By' along with his version of the 'Love Theme From Spartacus' (covered beautifully by Terry Callier a few years back). I made a bee line for one of the two collaborations with Bobby Womack here, namely Gabors version of 'Breezin' (the other is an uptempo version of Bobby's song 'If You Don't Want My Love'), a track made famous by George Benson several years earlier. Gabor treats the tune with delicacy and simplicity and the fruits of his efforts work beautifully. My only complaint here is the tune is only three minutes in length. Gabor passed away in Hungary, during February 1982, at the young age of 45.
Afro Blue - Dee Dee Bridgewater / Now That I've Got Your Attention - Lesette Wilson
Dee Dee Bridgewater has cut some very powerful sides of music over the years. To my knowledge, this is her first outing. 'Afro Blue' was released on Trio Records, in 1974, and has a very minimalist sound to this fine collection of melodies. Dee Dee certainly doesn't want in the vocal stakes as can be highlighted by the seven minute title track. I know that 'Little B's Poem' is a particular favourite of deejay Gilles Peterson and I can only concur with that opinion with this track being as finer piece of jazz that any punter would want to hear. 'Love From The Sun' is another favourite, along with her mellow version of the evergreen 'Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head'. The whole show finishes off nicely with a drop dead slow version of 'People Make The World Go Round'. This album demands an asking price of £100 plus (around 150$) thesedays and I can see why.
Lesette Wilson is a personal jazz favourite at this site. Her latest offering 'Living In The Zone', I reviewed here in all it's glory a couple of months back. I would really recommend any of her 3 major label outings and we are going to focus on the first of the trilogy here. 'Now That I've Got Your Attention' has become a 'rare groove' on these shores, mainly due to the highly catchy 'Caveman Boogie', which is available on one of the Mastercuts series. There are six, long tracks, that comprise this fine outing, with Lesette performing all the vocal duties (a task that she passed on to others on later sets). This album came out on Headfirst Records and was recorded in White Plains, New York State in July, 1981. Lesette performs on 5 different sets of keyboards, which highlight the talent of this remarkable musician. On this album, I want to focus on one of the vocal tracks, namely 'No Matter What'cha Do', which is beautifully delivered by Lesette and does make this listener wonder why she doesn't pitch in with more vocal workouts. A really nice tune, this one, and an album I recommend unreservedly.
Sit On It! - Jimmy Smith / The Main Man - Eddie Jefferson
Both of these albums arrived on these shores, from the U.S., during the summer of 1977.
Jimmy Smith's album was his first outing for Mercury after a long association with Verve and Blue Note. This meant that he could experiment with newer jazz styles and, as the jazz funk scene was coming to fruition, he constructed this great set of fusion tracks. On show here are two vocal tracks, one being 'Born To Groove / From You To Me To You', the other being a version of the Earth, Wind & Fire tune 'Can't Hide Love', both ably sung by Afreeka Trees (what a great name, by the way). 'Can't Hide' was a huge dancefloor hit on this side of the pond. Jimmy really pulled out all the stops with his rich cast of accompanying jazz musicians. On show here are Herbie Hancock, Lenny White, Abraham Laboriel, Ernie Watts and George Bohannon. This is a very solid set of tunes from the master of the hammond.
Eddie Jefferson's set came out on Inner City records and became highly sought after for the track 'Jeannine', which was set for later stardom via the Jazz Juice album series. During the late Seventies he struck up a close working relationship with saxophonist Richie Cole, a relationship that would bear fruit with the jazz classic 'New York Afternoon' a few years later. On this set is the aforementioned 'Jeannine' along with a fine rendition of 'Freedom Jazz Dance'. There is a crazy version of 'Summertime' and the, almost obligatory, jazz standard 'Moody's Mood For Love', duetting with jazz singer Janet Lawson. Altogether an album to seek out, pick up and treasure.
Mark Winkler - Jazz Life / Ben Sidran - Lover Man
Back in the late Seventies and early Eighties, if you wanted to buy an album from the Far East, you would be looking at taking out a second mortgage!! The exchange rates were so poor that you could easily be looking at forking out £30 ($45) for a single album. So what did you get for your money? Well, you got a beautifully packaged album that was pressed as well as could be expected. These two albums are no exception to the rule and both appeared towards the latter stages of the high cost, Far Eastern, vinyl importing to the U.K. CD's soon took the place of the vinyl and, thesedays, cost about the same as the records did some 20 years earlier.
Mark Winklers album I first heard on Jeff Youngs stint, on Saturdays, on Radio London back in 1985. The album came out on the Japanese Morning label. When I first heard it I thought his voice was quite unusual, however, having picked up several of his subsequent albums, his voice suits the genre very nicely. I believe this is his first album and a very fine outing it is, too. I guess these days Mark's product is slipped onto the record shelves in the 'Smooth Jazz' section. He is, however, different enough to make this soul fan pick up his product. Best track, well it has to be the title tune, which you can hear in all it's glory just below these writings. An artist not too dis-similar to Ben Sidran......and just by co-incidence..........
..........here's Ben! Now, if you have visited these pages before, you will know that Ben Sidran gets the proverbial thumbs up from this scribe. On any album that he has ever released, there is always something fresh and witty that draws in the listener. Robbie Vincent (also of Radio London) played this album on its release back in 1984 (on Japanese CBS Sony) and I rushed out to buy it for Ben's unusual take on Billie Holidays 'Lover Man'. In fact this version is so different, you might think this was a new track all those years ago. The intro lulls you into expecting a nice little 'dinner jazz' number, however Ben kicks in with a funky drum beat and things take off from there. You can check all 7 minutes of the tune by clicking on the link below. I don't think that this is the last we will see of Ben Sidran on these pages. A fine artist.
Pat Metheny - We Live Here / Santana - Marathon
Here are two artists that might appeal to Rock, Soul and Jazz fans alike.
Pat Metheny's 1995 outing 'We Live Here' is, perhaps, in his lengthy career, his tour de force. For the years prior to this release I had purchsed several of his albums and seen this 'tea totalling' artist in concert a couple of times. One thing that you can say about Pat Metheny's sound is that it is wholly distinctive, totally recognisable and despite the complex artistry contained within, highly listenable. The title track has a very 'Marvin-What's Going On' feel to it's arrangement and could be described as Pat's most commercial moment set to vinyl..........sorry CD? 'Red Sky' was the track that Jazz FM in London ran with, however, for these ears the 11 minute 'To The End Of The World' is the peach of a tune here. Metheny does love playing with volumes and this tune is no exception. A highly disciplined tune that begins quietly and builds to a cresendo only to return from whence it came towards it's latter stages. A very, very good track and the rest of the album is not that bad either. Later releases have been, by and large, disappointing. One other observation is that picture of an airplane on the sleeve does send a chill down the spine since the awful events of the 11th September earlier this year.
Santana have released very many albums over the years and I am ashamed to say that I only own 3 of them. 'Caravanserai', 'Abraxas' and this set 'Marathon'. Going back to the last years of my schoodays, Santana were very popular amongst those who were into their Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Yes. I was getting into what Stevie was doing with Tonto's Expanding Headband and what General Johnson and the Chairman were producing. Santana just seem to miss me for some reason. Different strokes, I guess. Well, this album was one such outing that, by and large, is full of other tunes that miss this old souler, however, track three I found myself going back to. A really haunting melody from Carlos and the boys that goes to prove that, even someone whose music you have never really been into, can produce something that makes you sit back. Try it out for size right and take her for a ride right here. I hope you will see what I mean.
Donald Harrison - The Power Of Cool / Hiroko - Moments
These two albums came out in the mid nineties and showcase where 'smooth jazz' should have gone, but didn't.
Donald Harrison is an excellent alto saxophonist. This set hails from 1994 and was released on the famous CTI label. There are several excellent vocalists and musicians here whose number include Sharon Bryant, James 'D Train' Williams, Chuck Loeb, Larry Coryell and Vaneese Thomas. Many of the tunes here were penned by Chuck Loeb and they include my favourite track here, 'Shadowbrook'. With it's partially sung hook this is 6 and a half minutes of pure jazz heaven and is worth the purchase of this CD on it's own. Other fine tracks include Sharon Bryant and James 'D Train' Williams' version of Gamble & Huff's 'Close The Door' and Jimi Hendrix's 'The Wind Cries Mary'. A good release.
It has been nearly 20 years since those trips I used to make to the local record store and hand over my weeks earnings for one of those Japanese import albums. I look at the price stickers, on those records today, and they still seem pricey! Well this CD came out a great deal later in 1996 and showcases the piano skills of Hiroko Kokubu. The album was recorded, mainly, with Japanese musicians, however, there are some other, non Japanese, artists here including Ivan Lins and Paulinho Da Costa. Solely an instrumental outing this set sounds fresh as a daisy, with my personal favourite 'Listen To My Heartbeat' sounding really summery. Another CD well worth looking out for.
Nelson Rangell - In Every Moment / Alex Bugnon - This Time Around
Two more albums that feature fine vocal contributions from, none other than, Syreeta Wright and Regis Branson respectively.
Syreeta's vocal contribution to Nelson Rangell's 1993 set is the mid-tempo 'Someday'. This is indeed a fine tune and highlights the abscence of this fine singer from the soul scene. Syreeta penned the lyrics, whilst Nelson weighed in with the melody, the collaboration resulting in near soul perfection. Great to hear her again. It is a shame that there is so little product around from her thesedays. At the time of this release, she was signed to Najiyah Records. Come on guys, get your fingers out!
Alex Bugnon's album came out the same year and featured vocal contributions from Regis Branson, whom, I believe, partnered the excellent Howard Johnson on their 'Johnson & Branson' set from 1989, (good album that one, too). On this album Regis weighs in with three tracks that are of a very high standard. 'This Time Around' and 'With This Heart' are beautifully delivered, however, I am going to go for the optimistic 'So, So Happy', which...well......if this doesn't cheer you up, nothing will!! The album also features background vocal contributions from Will Downing, Audrey Wheeler, Donald Byrd and Rahni Song amongst others. Good stuff.
Universe - Universe / Dan Siegel - The Getaway
Todays smooth jazz market does get to grate on these big ears from time to time. The situation is summed up by a joke that Rev Tim sent me from the U.S. which goes:
Kenny G and a friend are in a hotel, on tour, when they get into a lift. Kenny turns to his friend and says 'Boy, this place sure is rocking'!!
Well, ten years ago, the days before fusion went 'smooth', jazz fusion albums had a little more of a cutting edge and, usually featured a guest vocal track from a major soul artist. The Universe album is, essentially, a vehicle for the vastly underrated Dexter Wansel. Mainly instrumental, the featured vocal track is 'Love Is Beautiful (When It's Right)' which is 'beautifully' delivered by the excellent Jean Carne. Worth looking in those bargain bins for.
The Dan Siegel album is pretty much constructed in a similar vein although this one is notable for a rare nineties vocal performance by the great Billy Griffin. Billy is ably supported by the excellent Perri Sisters, who, together, make this CD another one to look out for. We just don't hear enough of this fine vocalist thesedays. Other featured artists here are Boney James and Dave Koz, who have 'smoothed' out all their cutting edges thesedays! Shame.
Webster Lewis - 8 For The 80's / Welcome Aboard
Webster Lewis is one of those rare artists whose albums all have something really worthwhile contained within each albums musical walls. These two albums are ones that are 'lesser sought after' than, say, 'Touch My Love' or 'Let Me Be The One', but are fine releases in their own right.
'8 For The 80's' actually came out in 1979! I guess Webster was looking forward to the new decade with optimism. Little did he know that we were about to have The Maggie and Ronnie Show about to ruin our lives / jobs etc......!! This album was produced by Webster in collaboration with Herbie Hancock. At the time I wanted to get this set for the majestic 'The Love You Give To Me', with it's fine female vocal and Herbie Hancocks fine keyboard playing, however, that is not the only gem inset here. The track 'Give Me Some Emotion' is a fine mid-tempo number that Webster lent to Merry Clayton who recorded it and titled her 1980 album, 'Emotion', after it, additionally. The other track of note here is the fime 'Heavenly' sung by the vastly underrated D.J.Rogers. Great set, on Epic by the way.
Webster moved on to 1981 to Barry White's Unlimited Gold label and gave up the production reins to Barry himself. The result is a very different, crisp sound with Barry's catchy riffs off-setting Webster's and his songwriting skills nicely. At the time, the track that all the jocks went for was the rousing 'Lift Your Voice And Say (United We Can Live In Peace Today)', which also was released on a twelve. The album is part sung and part instrumental with the title track being a mixture of the two and this is the one I am going to go for on this set. I guess when Barry wrote this track he must have been at the Stretford End the Saturday before!! The rhythm is right off the terraces. Barry took that rhythm added a simple female led lyric and produced, what must be, Webster Lewis's catchiest moment. Really infectious stuff.
Jimmy Messina - Oasis / Ben Sidran - The Doctor Is In
Two 'blue-eyed' soul / jazz sets from the seventies. Jimmy Messina's album received a great deal of airplay on the soul stations in London on it's release in 1979. The album came out on the Columbia label and it is a testament to the track 'Love Is Here' that it made the soul compilation 'Soul Souveniers' a few years back. That compilation consisted of mainly rare seventies soul releases from the label. A great track with an infectious bassline.
Ben Sidran is a vastly underrated singer songwriter with a style not dis-similar to Michael Franks with a slightly 'tougher' delivery. Sidran has already appeared on the pages at this site, with something worthwhile on most of his outings. This album was released on Arista in 1977 and the track I am going to go for here is 'Song For A Sucker Like You'. Really nice arrangement with Ben's witty delivery making this album one to look out for. The album featured the musical talents of Phil Upchurch, Richard Davis, Blue Mitchell and Larry Carlton.
Gary Bartz - Love Affair / Oneness Of Juju - Space Jungle Luv
The Gary Bartz album is one that gets overlooked by many, as his most sought after album seems to be 'Music Is My Sanctuary', these days. Must admit that when I bought the set, it sat on my shelves for a while. It was only when a friend asked me to put a fusion tape together, for a doo, that I dug it out of mothballs and went, track by track, through the album until I got to the final track. This is a really fine interpretation of John Coltrane's 'Giant Steps'. Really summery, flowing track that is worth the purchase alone. On Capitol from 1978, by the way. Bartz never really received / receives the recognition that he deserves.
The Oneness Of Juju album came out a few years before their dance hit 'Everyway But Loose'. It was, originally, recorded and released in 1976 on the Black Fire label. It was re-released a few years ago, which is when I picked it up after hearing it being played in Soul Jazz's store here in London. The track that was on the decks was 'Love's Messenger', which is sung quite beautifully by a female lead over a gentle swaying jazz backing. Only complaint is the track is under 3 minutes in length. Really nice tune.
Yasuko Agawa - Gravy / Issei Noro - Sweet Sphere
Back in the early eighties, many of the soul and fusion recording artists travelled to Japan to record alongside local artists as well as releasing projects themselves. The result was a stream of imports that made the price of U.S. imports look positively cheap!
Yasuko Agawa's LP was popular for her version of Light Of The World's 'London Town', which she re-titled 'L.A. Nights'..........or that's my theory anyhow! This is a great tune from an album on Invitation Records, from 1984, that boasts input from Augie Johnson, Miki Howard, The Waters, Bobby Lyle, Victor Feldman And Vance Tenort (L.A. Boppers). Guess the guys all fancied a holiday!
Issei Noro's set was released on the same label a year later and boasts a similar collection of soul & fusion musicians. They include: Patrice Rushen, Paulinho Da Costa, Robert Brookins, Nathan East, Maxi Anderson, Philip Ingram and the Seawind Horns section! This is a set that was less well known and is part vocal and part fusion. 'Moondance' is quite excellent (not the old Van Morrison tune) and Patrice Rushens vocals are strong throughout. I am going to go for 'Message In The Night', a great song that features the under-rated Philip Ingram on lead vocals. This album cost the best part of £20 back in the day! Must go see my Bank Manager!
Grover Washington Jnr - Live At The Bijou / Gabor Szabo - Nightflight
Two albums here from the middle of the seventies.
'Live At The Bijou', I have reviewed, partially, on the 'opinion' page elsewhere at the site. This album is, probably, my favourite live album. When I am out and about, my record box is never without this album. In fact, I would say that 'Sausolito' is one tune that would get any discerning dancefloor moving. The track epitomises the overall feel of that summer evening at the Bijou cafe in Philadelphia, May 1977. The album is full of Grover at his finest. Do not overlook 'Summer Song', which has a great driving rhythm and a really catchy chorus. Just buy this set blind, it is a fitting testament to the great man who died during the latter part of 1999.
Gabor Szabo's 'Nightflight' album hit our UK shores during the long hot summer of 1976. The track to head straight for here is his fusion version of Bunny Siglers 'Keep Smilin'. The feel of this tune was perfect for that summer. Hidden away in the background, playing the synth's, is the underrated Dexter Wansel, which, probably, accounts for the quality of the track. The rest of the album? Well, the title track is a nice piece of fusion, although other tracks are spoiled by some poor vocal arrangements. 'Keep Smilin' is worth the price of the album on it's own.
Between 1985 and 1987, in the United Kingdom, Gilles Peterson and Chris Bangs (amongst other deejays), both pioneers of the Acid Jazz genre, compiled eight albums that represented what was going on in the nightclubs, they were working at, at that time. Here are those albums with a piece of real audio linked to each cover. Hope you enjoy the music.
More great Jazz artists...............
Dee Dee Bridgewaters LP came out in 1979 on Elektra Records. Stunning version of Ramsey Lewis's 'Tequila Mockingbird'.
Claudio Roditi's set came out on Green Street Records in 1984. Kenia's vocals really compliment this fine version of the Ivan Lins classic.
Both of these compilations came out in the early 90's on Elevate Records (part of Ralph Tee's excellent set up) and featured here are Al Jarreau and Pauline Wilson on Freddie Hubbards and Seawinds respective LP's 'Love Connection' and 'Seawind'.
Phyliss Hyman appears on a couple of cuts from the McCoy Tyner LP and Dianne Reeves has this fine track on the late Stanley Turrentine's outing from 1981. The Phyliss Hyman tune has to be one of the finest tracks she ever recorded. Yes it is that good.