"He's Coming" captures Roy Ayers at the absolute top of his game, masterminding jazz-funk grooves as taut as a tightrope. Profoundly inspired by the Broadway musical Jesus Christ Superstar (and including a reading of the soundtrack's "I Don't Know How to Love Him"), the album is a deeply felt exploration of Ayers' spiritual and social beliefs, celebrating the life and rebirth of Jesus with "He's a Superstar" and its follow-up title cut before delivering the equally impassioned political manifesto "Ain't Got Time to Be Tired," a wake-up call for slumbering revolutionaries.
Aided by an exemplary backing unit featuring saxophonist Sonny Fortune, bassist John Williams, keyboardist Harry Whitaker, and drummer Billy Cobham, Ayers channels the intensity of his message into his music, creating the most vibrant and textured music of his career to date.
Saturday, February 28, 2015
Growing out of the combos nacionales scene, one of the most successful funk and soul groups of 60s and 70s Panama, Los Dinamicos Exciters (later The Exciters) was led by drummer Horacio ‘Ray’ Adams. Legendary in their day, the band were booked solid for years. Their core sound was Latin soul and funk (heavily influenced by James Brown) but they also played boogaloo, calypso and ska. The US Black Power movement struck a chord, especially in the Canal Zone, where Afro-Panamanians had long suffered discrimination. Co-founders of the Instituto Soul, the Exciters were the first to invite an African-American ‘soul queen’ to lead their carnival parade in 1971.
Notorious for being one of Congo´s most ruthless business men, the legendary musician had build a whole imperium in Kinshasa, the capital city of the central african power house (arguably one of the toughest places in the world) and has a whole building with his name, in the very heart of the city.
Titel track of the album "Simba" which is a killer album full of funky soul-jazz. O'Donel Levy had played with Richard "Groove" Holmes and Jimmy McGriff on other albums for producer Sonny Lester's Groove Merchant label, and even had one released under his own name (Black Velvet), but this was something different. Black Velvet had a couple Levy originals, but relied heavily on cover tunes. For Simba, Lester brought in Manny Albam to supply both the tunes and the arrangements, and it makes all the difference in the world. The songs are catchy and funky, and play to Levy's strengths as a player. The arrangements are fantastic, played by a who's who list of '70s session men (including a young David Sanborn and Tony Levin, who throws down throughout).
Monday, February 9, 2015
An outstanding exclusive 45 from the ongoing killer collaboration of The Mighty Mocambos and Afrika Bambaataa, who deliver surprising cover of Rolling Stones’ 1976 single “Hot Stuff”. While the Jagger/Richards-penned original vaguely flirts with the disco-funk sound of the era, the rework outfunks it in true and inventive Mocambo style, bringing the song closer to its initial inspiration and stretching it further out into a banging street funk jam.
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Much of the modal jazz that was recorded in the 1960s and '70s paralleled Middle Eastern music in a number of ways. First, post-bop explorers like John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Yusef Lateef, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk were playing the same modes and scales heard in traditional Arabic, Indian, Egyptian, Armenian, Turkish, and Jewish music. And second, a lot of post-bop had a very spiritual outlook, often inspiring comparisons to devotional Islamic, Hindu, Sikh, and Jewish forms. Spirituality is a key element of Vibrations in Time, a CD that spans 1973-1978 and reissues recordings that Byron Morris and his group Unity had recorded for their LPs Blow Thru Your Mind and Vibrations, Themes and Serenades (both of which had long since gone out of print). Underscoring the richness of modal jazz, gems like "Transcendental Lullaby" and "Ether" reflect the spiritual concerns that many post-bop groups had at the time. Saxman Morris and trumpeter Vincent McEwan both take their share of inspired solos, and female singer Jay Clayton brings an ethereal quality to much of the material. These recordings are quite obscure, but if you're seriously into modal jazz, Vibrations in Time is well worth the search.
B-side of the "Go Back Home" 45 in 1969 on Checker Records. This track was written and recorded by Curtis Mayfield, originally titled "Hard Times." Chandler's success became more fitful after Mayfield stopped penning material for him, although he enjoyed some late-'60s hits and had a monster pop and soul smash in 1970 with "Groovy Situation."