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natural essence

Natural Essence

Natural Essence comprised of (at various times) of:

Rasheed Ali (Alto Sax, Soprano Sax, Flute and Piano)

Eddie Martin (Tenor Sax and Flute)

Earl McIntyre (Trombone, Bass Trombone, Alto Trombone and Tuba)

Francisco Centeno (Electric Bass and Acoustic Bass)

Nat Adderley Jr. ( Piano and Vocals)

Buddy Williams (Drums and Vocals)

Sonny Rivera (congas and percussion)


Yvonne Fletcher (Lead Vocals) (d.1983, U.S.A.)

...between 1972 to 1976 (pictured above), the core, Atlantic Records, band line-up comprised of:

Rasheed Ali (Alto Sax, Soprano Sax, Flute and Vocals)

Ron Taylor (Trumpet)

Earl McIntyre (Trombone, Bass Trombone, Tuba)

Courtenay Wynter (Tenor Sax and Flute)

David Williams (Bass)

Eric King (Bass)

Onaje Allan Gumbs (Piano)

Buddy Williams (Drums and Vocals)

T.S. Monk (Congas, Percussion and Vocals)


Yvonne Fletcher (Vocals) (d.1983, U.S.A.)

At the outset of the Seventies, Rasheed Ali, violinist, Noel Pointer and drummer Buddy Williams were approached by their Black Students Union to form a band to juxtapose the classical music featured at the school's semi-annual concert.

The resulting group became the basis of Natural Essence, the group's founder and leader being Rasheed Ali.

Natural Essence were signed to the Fantasy and Atlantic Records imprints.

The group performed at several major music festivals, TV shows, and opened for several of the major R&B performers of that era.

Natural Essence rehearsed their performances at Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theatre, which brought them to the attention of several major performers, including Roberta Flack and the late Donny Hathaway.

In Search Of HappinessOut Of Darkness

in search of happiness - 1973 / out of darkness b/w it's you i need - 1974

In 1973, the group released their only album ‘In Search Of Happiness’ (recorded in 1971) on the Fantasy imprint, the set mixed by Julian Adderley, David Axelrod, Jim Stern and Eddie Harris.

The album became collectable during the eighties and Nineties, largely as a result of the Acid Jazz movement, with ‘Killin’ Time’ becoming a popular track at the time.

Yvonne Fletcher

yvonne fletcher

The song featured the vocals of Yvonne Fletcher, who later became a member of the group T.S. Monk (‘Bon Bon Vie’ and ‘Candidate For Love’).

Yvonne also recorded vocals for David ‘Fathead’ Newman, Gene Ammons and Odyssey.

She, sadly, passed away from breast cancer in 1983.

Rasheed Ali

rasheed ali

After the group went their separate ways, Rasheed Ali began recording solo material.

In 2015, his concept album release ’1968: Soul Power’ began making waves on both sides of the Atlantic.

The album was released on the 4th of April 2015, the anniversary of the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King.

Natural Essence

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In Search Of Happiness (Fantasy Records 1973)

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