November 4th, 2008
For those that like their peanut butter in their chocolate, their dub in their funk, I’ve got a special ‘Lection Day treat for ya. Namely, the Mad Professor remix of the Daktaris’ classic hustle. Sponsored by Iron Lion Scion no less. Enjoy.
Eltsuhg Ibal Lasiti (Mad Professor remix) – Daktaris
Plus, as a bonus, the very nice Ticklah remix of Sharon Jones in rocksteady stylee.
How Long Do I Have To Wait For You (Ticklah remix) – Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
June 25th, 2008
In my early 20s, as I grew to love funky soul music, I immersed myself in the 70s output of a mighty triumvirate of singers: Sly, Stevie, and Curtis. Some of the most crucial, creative, timeless music ever recorded.
Of course, this material is pretty well known (as it should be), so rather than rehash it here, I’ll dig a bit into the “crates” for some funky versions.
First up, representing Stevie Wonder, is the very groovy Weldon Irvine. This being 1976, it starts out kinda proto-discoish, but settles into a stepping funk groove with nice horn arrangements and vocals by Don Blackman.
Weldon Irvine – Don’t You Worry Bout A Thing
Lonnie Smith is just as groovy as many of his post-Jimmy Smith peers on the B3, but often more creative and daring. Here he reinvents Sly Stone’s classic “Stand” in a kozmik 17 minute epic jam from 1971, complete with dub effects and weird overdubbing.
Lonnie Smith – Stand
Last, we have Frank Owens doing an instrumental version of “Freddy’s Dead” from 1973. I don’t know too much about this guy, though Dusty Groove notes that Bernard Purdie produced the session and plays on it. A pretty tame treatment of the tune, but with some nice rhodes soloing in place of Curtis Mayfield’s voice. I actually think you can judge it pretty well by the cover in this case.
Frank Owens – Freddy’s Dead
June 15th, 2008
Herbie Mann performs a pleasant version of the reggae classic “Draw Your Brakes”, featuring Cissy Houston (Whitney Houston’s Mom!) on I-Threes-esque vocals.
Herbie Mann – Draw Your Brakes
I don’t know who the band is, but they pull off a pretty convincing reggae for 1976. I’m always kinda intrigued by Reggae-Jazz fusions, and I’ll be featuring more in the future.
This is another song of personal historical significance: my mother had a beloved LP of “The Harder They Come” when I was a kid – her only reggae album, and thus the 1st I was exposed to. I’m still bewildered by the patois invocation at the beginning of the original!
June 15th, 2008
A nice slab o’ jazz/funk from “Jug” Gene Ammons. Note the poppin’ clavinets by George Duke!
Gene Ammons – Rozzie
An all-star session arranged and conducted by David Axelrod.
Allen DeRienzo, Snooky Young – trumpets
George Bohanon – trombone
Bill Green, Jay Migliori – flute, alto flute, alto sax
Jim Horn – flute, alto flute, bars
Gene Ammons – tenor sax
George Duke – keyboards
Michael Howell, Don Peake – guitars
Carol Kaye – electric-bass
John Guerin – drums
Berkeley Nash – percussion
David Axelrod – arrangements, conducting
Recorded Berkeley, CA, October 30, 1973
Those of you who know me will recognize why I like the title of this track!
As of this writing, Smooth of My Jazz World has the whole lovingly-digitized thang for ya.
June 15th, 2008
When I was a teenager in NH it took me a while to get into rap. The vocals were unfamiliar and didn’t speak to me right away, but right from the start I really dug the samples they were using. This was the Native Tongues era of the early nineties, really the golden age for sampling. One of the first hip hop tunes where I fell in love with the sample was Black Moon‘s “Who Got Da Props.”
Black Moon – Who Got Da Props
The sustained string synth, and most of all, those barking rhodes stabs! I’d never heard anything like that and I loved the sound. I even had to loop it up myself and just soak it up over and over.
The original, “Tidal Wave” by Ronnie Laws, is a decent bit o’ fusiony jazz funk itself.
April 18th, 2008
Corduroy were the first band that I’m aware of to do the “retro soundtrack to a fake kitschy blaxsploitation/spy movie” thing (though it’s a conceit that many other subsequent groups have employed) with their 1993 album High Havoc. I had the pleasure of seeing Corduroy play live the year this came out, at a small club in Paris. This was at the height of the Acid Jazz era, and I was excited to be wearing my new/vintage Black Panther-style leather jacket and digging the throwback 70s vibe that was just then coming into fashion. It was a great show, though they stuck pretty closely to their album arrangements.
Their 1st album Dad Man Cat is full of funky retro grooviness as well.
One of my favorite tunes from Dad Man Cat is a rockin’ clavinet-driven instrumental called “Money Is.”
Corduroy – Money Is
It turns out, as I discovered some years later, this is actually a Quincy Jones song from his soundtrack to the movie “Dollars” from 1971 (with Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn).
Quincy’s version had Little Richard singing on it!
Quincy Jones – Money Is
Still later, I obtained Corduroy’s live-in-Japan album Quattro, which was recorded in 1994 but doesn’t seem to have been issued until 2001.
Corduroy – Money Is (live)
Interestingly, on this version they add the vocals back in. Though it works well here, on their later albums they seem to have tried to transform themselves into a more conventional vocal-centered pop band, and the results are considerably less interesting.