An incredibly righteous record from the legendary Andy Bey – an artist who's risen back to fame in recent years as a relatively straight jazz singer – but who was in some very heady territory here in the early 70s! Bey first rose to fame as part of the vocal trio, Andy & The Bey Sisters – and while that group's 60s recordings were already wonderful, Andy soon stepping out into tremendous territory of his own – working with Max Roach, Horace Silver, and Gary Bartz – and adding some unique spiritual and socially conscious vocals to some of their best jazz records at the end of the 60s! This set's one of Andy's few solo moments from the time – and really follows up the groove strongly – with lots of help from the mighty William Fischer, who wrote some of the tracks, and plays keyboards – although Bey is clearly the main compositional force here. The album includes a remake of "Celestial Blues", which Bey recorded famously with Gary Bartz – and which is in a leaner, even funkier take here – and other titles include "Being Uptight", "Tune Up", "Hibiscus", "Experience", and "The Power Of My Mind". (Soul, Vocalists)LP, Vinyl record album
One of the deepest soul sets from Esther Phillips' 70s years on Kudu Records – a set with some nicely gritty grooves and a surprisingly earthy feel at times – especially when compared to some of her other albums of the time! Backings are by James Brown's old reedman, Pee Wee Ellis – and although there's some of the usual Kudu electric funk in the mix, there's also some deeper soul elements too – a vibe that's often a bit laidback and open, almost more Atlantic Records at points – which is a mighty good fit for Esther's wonderful voice! As usual for Kudu, the players are an all-star lineup – one that includes Richard Tee on keyboards, George Benson on guitar, Maceo Parker on tenor, and Bernard Purdie and Billy Cobham on drums – and Don Sebesky's also on deck a bit, to sweeten a few tracks up with light strings. The album's got a great version of Bill Withers' "Use Me" that features a tasty break in the intro – and other titles include a great version of "Alone Again (Naturally)", plus the cuts "Let's Move & Groove", "Cherry Red", "Let Me In Your Life", and "You & Me Together". (Soul, Vocalists)LP, Vinyl record album
Sammy with Freedom Unity —
Salute To Soul ... LP Columbia (Japan), 1971. New Copy Gatefold (reissue)...
Sammy sings soul – not Sammy Davis Jr, but this ultra-hip Japanese singer from the early 70s – a female vocalist who works here with great backings from the Freedom Unity ensemble! The tunes are all numbers from American and British sources of the 50s and 60s – tunes you'd know from versions on labels like Stax or Atlantic, but redone here with some really groovy new inflections – including cool arrangements from Freedom Unity, with a nice blend of strings and soulful jazz elements – including some especially great keyboards and reeds on some numbers! Sammy sings in English, but with this unusual accent that really transforms the tunes – and titles include versions of "Hey Jude", "I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl", "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know", "Summertime", "What Am I Living For", "House Of The Rising Sun", and "Nobody's Fault But Mine". LP, Vinyl record album
(Part of the Deep Jazz Reality series! Fantastic Japanese pressing – heavy vinyl and gatefold cover! 2016 Record Store Day release, too.)