Wickedly funky work from the Jazz Crusaders – a pivotal set that has them electrifying their groove a bit more from the 60s, yet still not hitting the smother sound of later years! The core soul jazz mode of the group's start is still nicely in place – hard-hitting grooves from Wayne Henderson on trombone, Wilton Felder on bass, Stix Hooper on drums, and Joe Sample on keyboards – really opening up in an electric mode that's warm, but never mellow – really giving the album a strongly righteous undercurrent. Added to the mix are guitars from Arthur Adams and Freddy Robinson – both of whom really open up the groove and underscore the funkier elements – and again, in ways that have a lot more edge than on later Crusaders dates. The whole thing's great, filled with hard groovy cuts – and titles include a great version of "Golden Slumbers", plus "Jazz", "Jackson", "Rainy Night In Georgia", "Time Has No Ending", "Hard Times", and "Funny Shuffle". CD
Sweet funky Crusaders – one of the first records the group made after dropping the "Jazz" from their name, and a soulful electric set through and through! The group still have that tightly-crafted soul jazz sound that made their late 60s recordings so great – but they're also stretching out here in more of a 70s electric funk mode – letting the keyboards of Joe Sample really set the tone for most of the numbers, as Wilton Felder's basslines weave with the drums of Stix Hooper to create a set of really great tracks. The double-length album is overflowing with great numbers – and in addition to the contributions of the core quartet, the album also features guitar from Larry Carlton, David T Walker, and Arthur Adams – plus a bit of extra bass from Chuck Rainey! The hip sound is a bit like some of Hugh Masekela's best jazz-based work for Chisa – and titles include "Full Moon", "Sweet Revival", "Mud Hole", "It's Just Gotta Be That Way", "Three Children", "Mosadi", and "So Far Away". CD
Massively wonderful work from the mighty Hugh Masekela – easily one of his hippest, most soulful sessions ever! This double-length gem really has Hugh letting go – moving way beyond the pop modes of the late 60s, into a long-flowing, open-rolling groove that's played by a spare quintet lineup with plenty of African themes in the rhythms! Players include Larry Willis on acoustic and electric piano and Dudu Pukwana on alto sax – both of whom are wonderful, and really get a chance to sparkle in the session – almost sharing equal space with Masekela in the sound and shape of the record, although Hugh's horn work is pretty darn amazing too. Other players include Eddie Gomez on bass and Mahaya Ntshoko on drums – and the record has the sort of open, righteous feel of a session on Black Jazz or Strata East – a vibe that really blows away most other Chisa Records work of the time. Titles include Willis' classic "Inner Crisis", plus "Blues For Huey", "Part Of A Whole", "Maesha", "The Big Apple", "Minawa", and "Nomali". (Global Grooves, Jazz)CD
One of the great larger group recordings that pianist Abdullah Ibrahim gave us in the 80s – from a moment when he was able to use added horns to really expand that amazing sense of color and rhythm he'd brought to his music on earlier trio recordings! There's a sense of musical vision here that really lives up to Abdullah's majestic look on the cover – a fantastic merging of flute and tenor from John Stubblefield, soprano and alto from Horace Alexander Young, tuba and baritone from Howard Johnson, and trombone from Robin Eubanks – all vibrant horn players who seem to have just about every tone and mood covered with their horns – given this wonderfully warm support from Buster Williams on bass, and Brian Adams on drums. All titles are originals by the leader – and tunes include "Chisa", "Sweet Samba", "Duke 88", "The Wedding", and "Joan Capetown Flower". CD
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