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Close matches: 17
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Jan AkkermanTabernakel/Eli ... CD
Atco/BGO (UK), 1973/1976. New Copy ... $14.99
Compelling work from this European guitar talent – two albums on a single CD! On Tabernakel, guitarist Jan Akkerman bridges many worlds – deftly stepping between spare acoustic guitar modes and some much more dynamic electric ones – but all with a sense of care and vision that really makes the record come together! The set begins with a few themes from John Dowland, updated by Akkerman, but still played with an ancient sort of vibe – one that leads into some very cool fusion moments that mix centuries-old aesthetics with the modern – creating a sense of anachronism that really keeps things interesting. Gene Orloff handled some of the larger arrangements, but the focus is always on Akkerman's deft work on the guitar – and titles include "Britannia", "House Of The King", "Javeh", "Lammy", and "A Fantasy". Eli is a real standout! Jan Akkerman did plenty of unusual projects in the 70s, and this album may well be the best of them – an outing with vocalist Kaz Lux, whose unique phrasing really helps give the music a lot of focus! Akkerman's still hanging nicely between rock, funk, and jazz – but the use of vocals means that some of his guitar lines are a bit more spacious in ways that we really love, especially when they mix in these cool cosmic passages with the MPS-like keyboards of Jasper Van't Hof. The album's hardly a straight fusion album, but it's also not really a rock one either – more like a fusion set with vocals in all the right places – on titles that include "Guardian Angel", "Tranquilizer", "Can't Fake A Good Time", "Naked Actress", "Wings Of Strings", and "Strindberg". CD

Close matches2
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
DeodatoWhirlwinds/Artistry ... CD
MCA/BGO (UK), 1974. New Copy ... $15.99 20.98
Two post-CTI gems from Deodato – back to back on a single CD! Whirlwinds is sweet keyboard soul from Deodato – a set that steps off nicely from the strengths of his big hits on CTI, hitting a similarly flowing groove that's really great! The instrumentation here is a bit more expanded than before, but never in a way that buries the keyboards – and Deodato's right out front on a range of electric keys that get some great support from John Tropea's finely-honed work on guitar! Titles include "Havana Strut", "Whirlwinds", "West 42nd Street", and a nice cover of Steely Dan's "Do It Again". And heck, even the album's version of Glen Miller's "Moonlight Serenade" manages to come off like a funk tune! Artistry is a live set from Deodato – but one that's very much in the mode of his best CTI studio sessions – with soaring, over the top keyboard work that's totally great – backed by some tightly compressed guitar, bass, and drums, with just enough funk in the mix to keep things interesting! As with other Deodato records from the time, there's a mix of moods here that comes together nicely – a range that goes past his easy hits, and shows Deodato to be one of the hippest, most soulful keyboard talents of his generation. Titles include a great version of "Super Strut" that grooves for over 8 minutes, and which has some firey guitar that really competes with Deodato's work on the keys – and other tracks include "Farewell To A Friend", "Pavane For A Dead Princess", "Rio Sangre", and "Jivin". CD

Close matches3
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Maynard FergusonChameleon/Conquistador/Hot ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1974/1977/1979. New Copy 2 CDs ... $16.99
A trio of Maynard Ferguson 70s gems – wrapped up together in a single package! First up is Chameleon – funky Maynard Ferguson – and one of his sweetest albums of the 70s! The set features a wonderful remake of Herbie Hancock's "Chameleon" – done here as a big band version that countless other groups would copy during the 70s – in a way that almost showed that Maynard had a more farther-reaching influence at the time than Herbie! Other tracks are equally great – and mix in funky rhythms with some mellower moments – all topped by great solo work from players who include trombonist Randy Purcell, baritone saxophonist Bruce Johnstone, and keyboardist Alan Zavod. Apart from "Chameleon", other titles include great covers of Wings' "Jet" and Stevie Wonders' "Livin For the City" – plus "La Fiesta", "Superbone Meets The Bad Man", and "Gospel John". Conquistador is a jazz funk masterpiece, and it's proof that Maynard Ferguson always had a good head on his shoulders, and were waiting for a record like this to really come into his own! The arrangements shine with a smooth electric sparkle that reminds us of the best albums on Kudu or CTI – and even his normally "too hot" solos fit in perfectly with the band's smooth funky grooving. Our favorite tune is the spacey sample cut "Mister Mellow", but the whole album's pretty darn nice, including "Soar Like An Eagle", "The Fly", "Conquistador". Heck, we even like the funky version of "Theme From Star Trek"! Hot is full on disco grooving from Maynard – a fact that's apparent from the album's first cut – "Rocky II Disco"! The track takes off from Bill Conti's original Rocky theme with a nice kind of funky soundtrack approach – leaving room for a tenor sax solo, and featuring some great spoken bits and punching bag work from Sly Stallone himself! Other tracks are equally slick, but mix it up nicely – and highlights include the Indian-styled "Om Sai Ram", a take on "Naima", and the cuts "Topa Topa Woman", "Dayride", and "Theme From Star Trek". And heck, Maynard even plays a bit of the "superbone" – a combination valve and slide trombone, invented by himself! CD

Close matches4
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Steve KhanTightrope/Blue Man/Arrows ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), Late 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $16.99
A trio of classics from Steve Khan – all brought together in a single package! First up is Tightrope – beautiful fusion from guitarist Steve Khan – one of those great 70s players who could play things tight, yet still keep an edge! The album's got a well-produced groove – the same sort of soulful undercurrent you'd get in other Columbia fusion sets of the period – yet Khan's guitar has a bit more rasp than most, less of the sanded-down, clean-toned notes that you'd get from some of his contemporaries. Bob James produced, and you can certainly hear his ear on some of the keyboard parts – especially the sweet Fender Rhodes, handled by both James and Don Grolnick. Titles include "Some Punk Funk", "Darlin Darlin Baby", "The Big Ones", "Star Chamber", "Tightrope", and "Soft Summer Breeze". Next up is Blue Man – a sweet 70s fusion set from guitarist Steve Khan! The set's got that best Columbia Records groove from the time – a sound that could easily cross over to fusion fans on both sides of the tracks – those who dig soulful undercurrents, thanks to the album's keyboards from Don Grolnick – and those who might like a bit more rockish-lines, thanks to Khan's raspy edge on his guitar. Things never get too jamming, and there's a nice sense of space that definitely helps keep the soul of the record intact – on tracks that include "Some Downtime", "Daily Bulls", "Daily Valley", and "The Little Ones". Arrows is the last in a classic trilogy of late 70s fusion albums that Steve Khan cut for Columbia records – and a set that really has him bringing his sound together in a wonderful way! Khan was working with Steely Dan on the Gaucho album at the time of the recordings – testified by Donald Fagan's notes to the record – and he really seems to have picked up their large overall musical vision, that way of making things perfect, but never in a slick style – working here with other fusion giants who include Don Grolnick on Fender Rhodes, Michael Brecker on tenor and soprano sax, and Randy Brecker on trumpet – plus lots of great drums from Steve Gadd. Titles include the extended "City Suite", plus "Candles", "Daily Village", "Calling", and "Some Arrows". CD

Close matches5
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Earl KlughSoda Fountain Shuffle/Life Stories/Solo Guitar ... CD
Warner/BGO (UK), Late 80s. New Copy 2CD ... $16.99
Three albums from the late 80s – all of which show Earl Klugh still going strong, and very much at the top of his game! Soda Fountain Shuffle is a set that's got plenty of electric elements in the rhythms, mixed with lots of acoustic interplay from Earl over the top! Klugh's touch on the strings has only gotten better over the years, and he dances magically amidst some light rhythms and keyboard lines – warming things up a lot more than on similar fusion albums by some of his contemporaries, with that classic Klugh touch that's made him a lasting favorite over the decades! Titles include "Baby Cakes", "Incognito", "One Night", "April Love", "Close To Your Heart"," Just Pretend", and "Rainbow Man". Life Stories is a huge one from the mighty Earl Klugh – and the kind of record that reminded the world that he was still one of the most unique fusion talents around! Earl's got this perfect way of blending acoustic and electric elements with effortless ease – his own soft string solos and warmer R&B charts – all laid out with this sound that's beyond compare, and which may even work better here than on some of Klugh's records from a few years before. Most tracks are originals – although the album does include a great cover of the Isleys' "For The Love Of You" – alongside titles that include "Return Of The Rainmaker", "The Traveler", "Just For Your Love", "Second Chances", "Debra Anne", and "Santiago Sunset". Solo Guitar is beautiful work from the great Earl Klugh, and a set that's exactly what's promised in the title – a solo guitar outing that shows an entirely new side of Earl's many talents! Klugh's acoustic playing on other albums was always great – but here, it really comes to the forefront, with a sound that's rich enough to sum up so many different modes of guitar expression at once – from gypsy swing phrasing, to Spanish flourishes, to some straighter jazz swing – but always with that warmth that's made Earl way more than just another fusion artist on his instrument. Most tracks are standards, done in nicely personal versions – and titles include "Emily", "Once Upon A Summertime", "It's Only A Paper Moon", "So Many Stars", "Love Is Here To Stay", and "The Way You Look Tonight". CD

Close matches6
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Mahavishnu OrchestraBetween Nothingness & Eternity/Visions Of The Emerald Beyond ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1973/1975. New Copy 2 CDs ... $11.99
A pair of 70s classics from this mighty fusion ensemble – back to back in a single collection! First up is Between Nothingness & Eternity – and although there's a pretty big space between nothingness & eternity – but Mahavishnu Orchestra manage to fill most of it up with their hard-jamming approach! The style here is a bit different than the group's initial albums – as the record's a live one, and features some very long tracks that stretch out with possibly a bit more spiritual influence than before – still rockish at times, but also with freer floating energy as well. Billy Cobham's drums are worth the price of admission alone – and other group members include the mighty John McLaughlin on guitar and Jan Hammer on electric piano, synth, and moog. Titles include the "Thrilogy" suite, plus "Sister Andrea" and "Dreams". Visions Of The Emerald Beyond is very spacey work from Mahavishnu Orchestra – a set that continues the change in sound explored by the second incarnation of the group – one that's much more spacious than the first! The group here is somewhat large, but often comes off with a good sense of leanness at times – less of the notes-on-notes jams of rockish fusion, and more stretched-out spiritual modes, mixed with a slight dose of funk at just the right moments! John McLaughlin's in the lead on guitar, and other players include Gayle Moran on keyboards, Jean-Luc Ponty on electric violin, and Narada Michael Waldon on drums, percussion, clavinet, and vocals. Titles include "Eternity's Breath", "Lile's Dance", "Can't Stand Your Funk", "Earth Ship", "Be Happy", "Opus 1", and "Pegasus". CD

Close matches7
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
John McLaughlin & John SurmanWhere Fortune Smiles ... CD
Dawn/BGO (UK), 1971. Used ... $14.99
Rare early album by jazz/rock saxophone genius John Surman! The album features Surman playing with John McLaughlin, Stu Martin, and other British players on a set that's pretty out, with a groovy progressive approach. Titles include "Glancing Backwards", "Earth Bound Hearts", and "Where Fortune Smiles". CD
(Out of print.)

Close matches8
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Lee RitenourCaptain's Journey/Feel The Night/Rio ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1978/1979. New Copy 2 CDs ... $16.99
Sweet fusion from the great Lee Ritenour – three classic albums on two CDs! First up is Captain's Journey – a masterful fusion set from guitarist Lee Ritenour – one that expands his sound a bit more than usual by adding in vocals on a number of tracks – but in a way that really gets at the mainstream soul influences that bubble through his jazz work! The set features key vocal appearances from Patti Austin, Tom Baylor, and Bill Champlin – all singers who really know how to respect the instrumental side of a tune, too – which is great, given that the record also features keyboards from Dave Grusin and Patrice Rushen too. Titles include "That's Enough For Me", "Sugarloaf Express", "What Do You Want", "Matchmakers", "Morning Glory", and "The Storm". Feel The Night is a key album from a time when Lee was still very much at the top of his game! Although tight overall, the album's never too commercial to be cloying – and Lee's approach here is a great example of the way that mainstream 70s fusion managed to balance all its best elements nicely – from soulful rhythms on the bottom, to sharp-edged solos on the top, to some of the smoother studio glue that holds the whole thing together in the middle! Ritenour plays a range of different guitars – and other players include Don and Dave Grusin on keyboards, plus keys from David Foster as well – plus saxes from Ernie Watts, piano from Joe Sample, and drums from Steve Gadd. Patti Austin sings a bit on the set, but the album's a mostly-instrumental affair overall – and titles include "Feel The Night", "Market Place", "Wicked Wine", "French Roast", and "Midnight Lady". Rio is smooth jazzy fusion from Lee Ritenour – a classic set that was originally only released in Japan, part of the underground Japanese Fusion movement of the late 70s, famous for groove hounds for that added level of soul that often wasn't showing up in American releases at the time! The album was recorded in both Rio and LA – with work by a mixture of Brazilian and American fusion players, including Chico Batera, Oscar Castro Neves, Alex Acuna, Don Grusin, Dave Grusin, Steve Forman, and Marcus Miller. Includes the smooth funk classic "A Little Bit Of This & A Little Bit Of That", plus the cuts "Simplicidad", "Rainbow", "Rio Funk", "San Juan Sunset", and "Ipanema Sol". CD

Close matches9
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Tom ScottApple Juice ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1981. New Copy ... $14.99
Tom Scott gets his apple juiced in this sweet live set – a concert performance from the early 80s, and a record that's got a sharper edge than some of Scott's studio work of the time! The group's nice and tight, with funky energy that really brings out the most soulful tones of Tom's sax solos – those qualities that always made him a great session player and sideman on 70s soul sessions – and which still ring out with that very familiar tone here! Other players include Eric Gale and Hugh McCracken on guitars, Richard Tee on keyboards, and Marcus Miller on bass – a great lineup that really helps keep things moving throughout. Titles include "Instant Relief", "So White & So Funky", "Apple Juice", "Gonna Do It Right", and "In My Dreams". CD

Close matches10
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Tom ScottDesire/Target ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1982/1983. New Copy ... $15.99
Sweet sax from the great Tom Scott – two early 80s Columbia albums in a single package! Desire is proof that Scott could still make an electric jazz album sound more soulful than most of his mainstream contemporaries! There's a really great sense of balance here – production that's certainly polished, but instrumentation that's never sleepy at all – those always-sharp reeds we love from Tom, especially on alto and soprano sax – plus some great keyboard work from Victor Feldman, who has a similar sense of space and timing ot match Scott's groove! The set's got a feel that's a bit like some of the few really great albums from Dave Grusin – and some cuts have vocals, although mostly of the backup type. Titles include "Desire", "Sure Enough", "The Only One", "Stride", "Chunk O Funk", and "Meet Somebody". Target features a wide range of styles from saxophonist Tom Scott – some tracks that are in the funkier fusion he scored with in the 70s, but others that have some soul and pop touches as well! Scott's horn is still nice and sharp when he gets to step out in the solo spotlight – more so on the instrumental tracks, but a bit less so on the vocal ones – which feature singers who include Maria Muldaur, Kenny James, and Lee Ving. Other players include Harvey Mason on drums, Ernie Watts on tenor and alto, Victor Feldman on keyboards, and Paul Jackson on guitar – and titles include "Burundi Bump", "The Biggest Part Of Me", "He's Too Young", "Aerobia", "Target", and "Come Back To Me". CD

Close matches11
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Maynard FergusonIt's My Time/Hollywood ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1980/1982. New Copy 2 CDs ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
Two later Columbia sessions from Maynard Ferguson – back to back in a single set! On It's My Time, Maynard kicks off the 80s with another in his run of successful albums for Columbia – blending together funky fusion and disco in a very sweet groove! He's actually got some soulful help on the session – working with Tom Tom 84 on some of the record's best tracks, which come across with a bit less schmaltz than you'd expect – and Nick Lane also brings some nice moments to a few of the album's mellower tracks too. Titles include "An Offering Of Love (part 1)", "It's My Time", "Dance To Your Heart", "Everybody Loves The Blues", "Red Creek", and "You Can Have Me Anytime". For Hollywood, Maynard's got some great help on the session – stripping things down and working with a group of west coast fusion players led by Stanley Clarke! The date's a bit later than some of Maynard's classic funk, but the groove's back on track – thanks to Stan's production and arrangements – and players that include Lee Ritenour, George Duke, Ndugu Chancler, and Tod Cochrane. The vibe is surprisingly soulful on most numbers – and titles include "Deja Vu", "Portuguese Love", "Here Today", "Touch & Go", "For Your Eyes Only", "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough", and "Hollywood". CD

Close matches12
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Freddie HubbardBundle Of Joy/Super Blue/Love Connection ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1977/1978/1979. New Copy 2 CDs ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A triple-header from Freddie Hubbard – three late 70s albums together in a single set! Bundle Of Joy is a bundle of soul from Freddie Hubbard – one that has him blowing beautifully over full arrangements from Bert DeCoteux – the 70s super-soul maestro who really brings a new sound to Hubbard's music! The style's a bit smoother than other Freddie albums of the time, but still really great – a wonderful plenty of his well-timed, well-punctuated work on trumpet with warm grooves supplied by Bert – filled with instrumentation that includes David T Walker on guitar, Ernie Watts on sax and flute, Azar Lawrence on tenor, David Garfield on keyboards, and even Dorothy Ashby on flute. Titles include "Portrait Of Jenny", "Rainy Day Song", "Bundle Of Joy", "From Now On", "From Behind", and "Rahsaan". Super Blue is a sweet late 70s set from Freddie Hubbard – a slight move away from some of his highly-electric sides of the CTI years, yet one that still has some of the most soulful qualities of that work! Freddie's trumpet has a nicely spacious quality throughout – one that's flowing, and almost glowing at time – cascading along with qualities you might be more likely to hear from Art Farmer on some of the gentler numbers, yet really bursting out with that old Hubbard dynamism on the rest. Other players include Joe Henderson on tenor, Hubert Laws on flute, Kenny Barron on piano and keyboards, Ron Carter on bass, and Jack DeJohnette on drums – and George Benson also guests on guitar on one number too. A good number of the titles are originals, and tracks include "Super Blue", "To Her Ladyship", "Take It To The Ozone", "The Gospel Truth", and "Theme For Kareem". Love Connection has Freddie Hubbard working with arranger Claus Ogerman on some expansive tracks that go beyond his earlier work in the decade – sometimes blowing mellow notes over larger orchestrations, other times working in a surprisingly lean groove that has some really soulful touches! The approach shifts from track to track, but all titles are long, and the overall effect is really great. Al Jarreau guests on a sweet vocal version of "Little Sunflower", and other players on the set include Joe Farrell and Tom Scott on reeds, and Chick Corea, who plays most of the keys on the set. Titles include "Lazy Afternoon", "This Dream", "Brigitte", and "The Love Connection". CD

Close matches13
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Alphonso JohnsonMoonshadows/Yesterday's Dreams/Spellbound ... CD
Epic/BGO (UK), 1976/1977. New Copy 2 CDs ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A great run of records from Alphonso Johnson – the best of his career, wrapped up here in one sweet set! First up is Moonshadows – one of the earliest of bassist Alphonso Johnson's funky fusion albums for Epic! Moonshadows is a nice little set of choppy grooves that recalls the best Herbie Hancock moments of the early 70s, plus some of the side projects of the Headhunters. Warmly funky, but with a nice edge – with a more jazz funk rooted sound than the later, slightly heavier Spellbound! The great group of players includes Patrice Rushen is on keyboards, Benny Maupin on reeds, Lee Ritenour on guitars, Airto Moriera on percussion, Gary Bartz on sax, plus Narada Michael Walden and Ndugu Chancler on drums. Tracks include "Stump", "Cosmoba Place", "Involuntary Bliss", "On The Case", "Amarteifio", "Pandora's Box" and the breezy "Up From The Cellar", which features vocals by Flora Purim! Yesterday's Dreams is a killer all-star session of funky fusion tracks – with a nice tight sound produced by Skip Drinkwater! Yesterday's Dreams differs a little from Alphonso's other strong mid 70s efforts in that it's not as spacey as a whole – but the rubbery, cleanly funky grooves are just as strong – and the record as a whole makes for more of a showcase for his excellent group of players! Bassist Johnson leads the session, but there's a huge amount of guests, such as Grover Washington, Patrice Rushen, Mike Clark, and Sheila Escovedo. Plus, Jon Lucien, Diane Reeves, Flora Purim, and Phillip Bailey all sing on the record! Titles include "One To One", "As Little As You", "Scapegoat", "Show Us The Way", "Tales Of Barcelona", and the future soul classic "Love's The Way I Feel 'Bout Cha". Spellbound is a soulfully spacey fusion set from Alphonso Johnson – with a really catchy sound! The maestro is working in an eclectic mode that's part Earth, Wind, & Fire, part Return To Forever, and part Alphonze Mouzon/Tommy Bolin jamming. The best moments on the record are the more straight ahead ones – which really flirt with chunky rock sounds on the other side of the rubbery fusion funkiness! Mouzon's working on all kinds of electric sounds on this one – a bunch of custom bass effects, steel drums and more – with Clyde Criner working with a long list of keys and synthesizers, Kevin Shireve on guitar and David Igelfeld on drums and percussion. Titles include "Face Blaster", "Summer Solstice", "Bahama Mama", "Nomads", and Moonlight Conversation" "Feelings Are. . .The Hardest Words To Say" and "Earthtales Suite". CD

Close matches14
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ John Stevens AwayJohn Stevens Away/Somewhere In Between/Mazin Ennit (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Vertigo/BGO (UK), 1976/1977. New Copy 2CD ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A trio of albums from John Stevens' Away – all packaged together in a single CD set! First up is the initial outing from the group – a surprising little set from drummer John Stevens – quite different work than his more outside, freewheeling material in the Spontaneous Music Ensemble! This group hits that second chapter of British jazz rock that the Vertigo label did so well – a style that's much more mature than most American variants of the mode – neither stock rock fusion, nor smooth soul – and instead this approach that's still quite complicated and challenging at times, even though the music can have a nicely tight focus! The group features some excellent alto from Trevor Watts – who brings in lots of sharp edges – and the set also features Peter Cowling on bass and Steve Hayton on guitar. Titles include "Tumble", "It Will Never Be The Same", and "Anni". On Somewhere In Between, drummer John Stevens hits a lot of bases on a great second album with his Away group – almost funky at points, almost outside at others, and always working with the group in a searing, searching mode that's a cut above the usual fusion of the time! There's a bit more electricity on the set this time – electric bass from Nick Stephens and guitar from David Cole – but the energy of the set is still very spontaneous, and driven by Stevens' creative work on drums – and given plenty of bite from the soprano and tenor sax of Robert Calvert. The set's got a plenty fresh vibe – very much like labelmates Nucleus at this point, with lots of sharp edges and complicated patterns – but a sound that's still very down to earth. Titles include "Spirit Of Peace", "Chick Boom", "Can't Explain", and "Now". Mazin Ennit is definitely as amazing as the title proclaims – a bit leaner than before, with this wonderful use of two basses alongside the drums of John Stevens – all in a groove that refines older Brit jazz rock modes, but without losing any sort of edge! There's a complexity here that still lives up to Stevens' rich legacy in music – and the group features lots of sweet reedwork from Robert Calvert, who blows both soprano and tenor. Titles include "Away", "Sunshine Sunshine", "Whoops A Daisy", "Light Relief", and "Temple Music". CD features bonus tracks – "Anni (parts 1 & 2)" featuring John Martyn, and "Can't Explain (parts 1 & 2)" featuringt Terri Quaye. CD

Close matches15
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✨✧ Grover Washington JrAll My Tomorrows/Soulful Strut/Breath Of Heaven (3CD set) ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1994/1996/1997. Used 3CD ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A trio of 90s albums from Grover Washington! All My Tomorrows is an overlooked gem from reedman Grover – recorded in his later years, but a set that's actually got more of an acoustic style overall – one that goes back to the roots farther than any of Grover's fusion records! Washington's a great straight player in this setting – filled with soul on tenor and soprano sax – and working with top-shelf small group players like Eddie Henderson on trumpet, Hank Jones on piano, Bobby Watson on alto, and Robin Eubanks on trombone. Guitarist Romero Lumbambo arranged one great Brazilian-tinged number – and other arrangements are by Grover, Larry Willis, Slide Hampton, and Freddy Cole – who sings on two tracks too. Titles include "E Preciso Perdoar", "Happenstance", "All My Tomorrows", "Nature Boy", "Flamingo", and "Estate". Soulful Strut is bouncy soul from Grover Washington – a set that returns to his earlier roots in a space between soulful fusion and R&B! The slinky Washington soprano sax gets plenty of space in this set – blown with those seductive notes that always made Grover one of the most distinctive players on the instrument – and the backings often have this gentle R&B groove that's even stronger on the few cuts here with vocals. Titles include "Soulful Strut", "Bordertown", "Village Groove", "I Can Count The Times", "Headman's Hunt", and "Can You Stop The Rain". Breath Of Heaven is a holiday record from Grover Washington – but one that's got a fair bit more to offer than just the usual Christmas tunes! The set mixes older favorites and lesser-known numbers – all done in that soulful fusion style that Washington brought to his records from other seasons of the years – set up here with the leader on alto, tenor, and soprano sax – amidst arrangements from vibist Joe Lock, and keyboardist Donald Robinson, and guitarist Hiram Bullock – all of whom play on the record. Lisa Fischer sings on one number, but most of the record is instrumental – and titles include "Breath Of Heaven", "The Magi's Song/A Child Is Born", "I Wonder As I Wonder", "Christmas Time Is Here", "The Love In His Infant Eyes", and "Christmas Day Chant". CD

Close matches16
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✨✧ Larry CarltonStrikes Twice/Sleepwalk/Friends ... CD
Warner/BGO (UK), 1980/1982/1983. New Copy 2 CDs ... Out Of Stock
A trio of guitar classics from Larry Carlton – all brought together in a single package! On Strikes Twice, Larry Carlton looks a little cheesy on the cover, but the album's a classic set of mainstream fusion from the start of the 80s – exactly the kind of record that made Carlton one of the standouts of the time! Larry actually sings a bit on the set, but the main focus is on his guitar work – often as sharp-edged as the lightning lines on the cover image – but with a warmer, soulful undercurrent too – one that bubbles along nicely, thanks to keyboards from Greg Mathieson and Don Freeman, and cool percussion from the great Paulinho Da Costa. The best tunes here have that warmly melodic feel you'd find in some of Pat Metheny's work, although with a bit more soul overall – and titles include "Springville", "Strikes Twice", "Ain't Nothin For A Heartache", "For Love Alone", "Mulberry Street", and "In My Blood". Sleepwalk is a real gem from guitarist Larry Carlton – a set that's very jazzy, but which also shows the strong focus he'd developed on his rock session work in the 70s – including some famous recordings with Steely Dan! There's a sharpness to Carlton's guitar that cuts through some of the sleepier modes of fusion players of the time – a style that's right out front, able to solo with a great sense of voice, but also no cheesier sounds as well – very appealing to fans of 70s guitar fusion, and Carlton's great blend of soulful undercurrents as well. Titles include "Sleepwalk", "Last Night", "Blues Bird", "Upper Kern", "10:00pm", and "You Gotta Get It While You Can". On Friends, Larry Carlton's got plenty of great friends on board for this sweet session – including Michael Brecker on tenor, Joe Sample and Terry Trotter on Fender Rhodes, Paulinho Da Costa on percussion, and even BB King on guitar for one track! Yet the overall vibe is still very much Larry's own – that sharp approach to fusion that Carlton helped spearhead with his work in the 70s, a bit more keyboard-centric than before, but still with plenty of room for the leader to spin out warmly chromatic solos on guitar. Titles include "South Town", "Breaking Ground", "Song In The 5th Grade", "LA NY", and "Friends". CD

Close matches17
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✨✧ Lee RitenourFirst Course ... CD
Epic/BGO (UK), 1976. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
Excellent early work by Lee Ritenour – tight and soulful, but not as slick or commercial as later records! The album's an all-star, all-soul fusion effort – with work by Harvey Mason on drums, Dave Grusin and Patrice Rushen on keyboards, and Tom Scott on reeds – and the whole thing's produced by Skip Drinkwater, who handles the set with that easy funky groove that he brought to his excellent work with Eddie Henderson and Bobby Humphrey! There's loads of nice electric funk tracks on the album – including a great version of Grusin's "Theme From 3 Days Of The Condor", Jerry Peters' "Canticle For The Universe", and the cuts "A Little Bit Of this & A Little Bit Of That", "Wild Rice", and "Sweet Syncopation". CD

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