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Exact matches: 7
Exact matches1
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Aquarian DreamFantasy/Chance To Dance ... CD
Elektra/Expansion (UK), 1977/1978. New Copy ... $16.99
A pair of great albums from this Norman Connors side project! Fantasy is righteous soul, but with a wicked groove too – a killer set from Aquarian Dream, made even better by some great Norman Connors production! In a way, Aquarian Dream were to Norman Connors what Ramp were to Roy Ayers – in that the group wasn't really that dominated by Connors, but they did benefit a lot from his groundbreaking work in the jazz funk field – getting a level of sophistication in their sound that's really wonderful – and mixed with almost equal parts soul, funk, and jazz in the instrumentation! Vocals are often in a harmony mode – again in the manner of Ramp – and there's a classy yet cosmic sound to the record that we totally love. (And there's also one more Roy Ayers-like connection in the vocal department – since the group features Sylvia Striplin, who later recorded for Roy's Uno Melodic label!) The album's got a number of nice groovers with a strongly off-beat sound – and titles include "Friends", "It Ain't Whatcha Say", "You're A Star", "Play It For Me", and "Gentle Thoughts". On Chance To Dance, Aquarian Dream step out on their own – working for the first time without Norman Connors at the helm, but in a groove that's still plenty nice! The clubby aspects of the group's sound are played up by arranger/producer Jeff Lane – who'd worked often with BT Express and Brass Construction, and finds a similar groove here with Aquarian Dream – one in which all the best elements are focused strongly on the rhythms! A few mellower moments round things out nicely with a jazzy vibe – and titles include "Disco Juice", "Gettum Up And Dance", "Big Boy", "Why Can't We Do It Like We Used To", "Dirty Trick", and "Love Slave". CD

Exact matches2
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Lester Bowie's Brass FantasySerious Fun ... CD
DIW (Japan), 1989. New Copy ... $16.99 24.99
One of our favorite albums from Lester Bowie's big solo run of the 80s – and a set that has some of the more dynamic energy of his Brass Fantasy group, but maybe also a bit more depth as well! The album's part of a handful that the Art Ensemble Of Chicago did with the DIW label at the time – and the AEOC production maybe gives the record a slightly more serious sound – even though the group still take on material from James Brown, Sade, and EU! Yet there's also two Billie Holiday tributes that are surprisingly powerful, and a stunning version of Roland Kirk's "The Inflated Tear" – with a strong trombone solo from Steve Turre, who worked with Kirk in later years, and always championed his work. The lineup features Bowie, Stanton Davis, EJ Allen, and Gerald Brezel on trumpets; Turre and Frank Lacy on trombones; Vincent Chancey on French horn; and Bob Stewart on tuba – plus drums and percussion from Don Moye, Ken Cruchfield, and Vinnie Johnson. Titles include "Inflated Tear", "Smooth Operator", "Strange Fruit", "Don't Worry Be Happy", "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag", and "Da Butt". CD

Exact matches3
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✨✧ Bernard HerrmannFantasy Film World Of Bernard Herrmann ... CD
El (UK), Late 40s/1950s. New Copy ... $13.99
Most folks know Bernard Herrmann for his famous moody soundtracks for Alfred Hitchcock, or his late life genius on the Taxi Driver score – but Herrmann also had a great ear for more fantastic styles, too – and could turn his dark orchestrations into other cool spacey and watery styles too! This collection brings together the best of that music – work that had an undeniable impact on some of the Italian exotic scoring of the late 50s and early 60s, and which also has a bit more intimacy and character than the American soundtracks for bigger, more epic productions. CD features a total of 31 tracks, with a number of selections each from the films The Day The Earth Stood Still, 7th Voyage Of Sinbad, Ghost & Mrs Muir, Beneath The 12 Mile Reef, and Journey To The Center Of The Earth. CD

Exact matches4
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Eugene RecordWelcome To My Fantasy (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Warner/Expansion (UK), 1979. New Copy ... $11.99
A sweet musical fantasy from the great Eugene Record – known by most as one of the driving forces of The Chi-Lites, and the whole Brunswick soul scene as well! By this point in his career, Record's come a long way from his roots in Chicago soul – and works at a level that's much more modern soul than before – yet the overall approach works best on the kind of tunes that Eugene sang and penned in his earlier years – the mellow ballads and midtempo groovers that really let his vocals soar. The set was recorded in Chicago – with arrangements by Record, Tom Tom 84, and Patrick Henderson – and titles include "Pain For Pleasure", "Where Are You", "Fan The Fire", 'Help Yourself To Love", and "Your Love". CD features bonus tracks – "Magnetism", and "I Don't Mind/Take Everything". CD

Exact matches5
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Bruch/Bach/Mozart/Prokifieff/Debussy/GershwinHeifetz On Television – Scottish Fantasy Op 46 – Heifetz/Sargent/New Symphony Orchestra Of London ... CD
RCA (Japan), Early 70s. New Copy ... About September 7, 2016
CD

Exact matches6
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
VariousDisco Fantasy – Songs Inspired By Stage, Screen, & Superheroes ... CD
Essential, New Copy ... About May 5, 2016 (delayed)
CD

Exact matches7
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Sun Ra & His Astro InfinityCosmo Earth Fantasy – Sub Underground Series Vols 1 & 2 ... CD
Saturn/Art Yard, Late 60s/Mid 70s. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A set of varied moods and settings – yet one that really does a wonderful job of fleshing out the Sun Ra aesthetic during these crucial years when Ra dubbed himself the "King Of The Sub Underground"! That humorous title is a reference to the fact that Ra and the Arkestra were still working with largely little mainstream exposure – despite the big growth of avant jazz at the time – and were instead working on beautiful recordings like these, often made without any thought of a larger market at all! The CD brings together material from albums originally issued with Sub-Underground in the title – also under other names as well, including Temple U – and the tracks represent the Arkestra really hitting some of their creative heights in a mix of live, studio, and rehearsal recordings. Titles include the brilliant "World Of Africa", recorded in 1968, but with a chunky groove and weird piano that almost feel like a precursor to Fela Kuti; the sublime "Love Is Always" and "Song Of Drums", recorded live with a spare group in a beautifully echoey setting; surprisingly great takes on "What's New" and "Autumn In New York", played by a small group with Ra on a slightly off-tune upright piano; the long "Cosmo Earth Fantasy" suite, with some very fierce sounds; and a nice live take on "Space Is The Place/We Roam The Cosmos", which jumps right into the groove at the start – with a pretty offbeat feel, and lots of cool vocal interplay! CD
 
Close matches: 9
Close matches8
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AllspiceAllspice ... CD
Fantasy/Dusty Groove, 1977. New Copy ... $5.99 12.98
The only album ever from Allspice – but a hell of an incredible soul record – and one that's kept the group's name strong with collectors and rare groove fanatics for years! The album's on of the best Fantasy Records productions by Wayne Henderson and his At Home team – and like some of the others, is handled with a groove that's tight, yet plenty sophisticated too – light years from mainstream disco or common club of the late 70s, and instead informed by plenty of jazz and deeper ideas as well! The vibe is perfect – as heavenly and righteous as some of the best Roy Ayers club tracks of the time – which proves to be a perfect foil for the Allspice style of mixing male and female vocals – which again is often done in an Ayers-like mode. The sound is sublime throughout – one of those real treasures that should have been a huge record in the 70s, but was barely pressed up at all – and quickly forgotten about by the record company. Yet even after all these years, the whole thing sounds amazing – one of those albums we'd never part with at all! Titles include the groovy "Slipped Away", the funky stepper "Hungry For Your Love" – and loads of other great tunes that include "Love Fire", "Destiny", "She's A Lady", "I Don't Know", and "Give It Time". CD
(On the Dusty Groove label.)

Close matches9
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BlackbyrdsNight Grooves ... CD
Fantasy/BGP (UK), 1978. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
A great album of funky dancefloor tunes! Originally issued in 1978, and clearly for the New York dancefloor crowd – the record takes the earlier work of funk group The Blackbyrds, and remixes the tracks slightly to pump up the groove a bit for the dancers. While the approach might not sound good on paper, it actually works wonderfully on the record – as the tunes retain all of the jazz funk feel of the originals, without any of the cheap tricks you might expect! The album's as essential as any of the group's earlier albums – and it's filled with great versions of classics like "Supernatural Feeling", "Gut Level", "Walking In Rhythm", "Do It Fluid", "Rock Creek Park", and "Happy Music". CD
Also available Night Grooves ... LP 13.99

Close matches10
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PleasureFuture Now ... CD
Fantasy/BGP (UK), 1979. New Copy ... $11.99
A wonderful album from Pleasure – a group who were already great before, but who really seem to hit a great new level with this late 70s classic! Pleasure started out as a sweet jazz/funk combo with a great edge to their music – but by the time of this set, they'd actually gotten even tighter and better – but all without losing their depth at all! Most of the group's contemporaries just got slick and commercial – but instead, Pleasure found a way to hone their skills wonderfully – and take on some new spacey and electric touches in the process – definitely pointing towards the funky future promised in the title. The set's filled with some of the funkiest and most soulful moments of the group's career – including "Space is the Place", which has great funky drums on the intro; the mellow "Thoughts of Old Flames", a real stunner with a great moody feel; and the classic "Glide", a great dancefloor groover that still stands up well. Other tracks are all great too – and include "Universal", "Strong Love", "Nothin To It", and "Dedication To The Past". CD

Close matches11
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Larry WilliamsThat Larry Williams – The Resurrection Of Funk ... CD
Fantasy/Dusty Groove, 1978. New Copy ... $10.99 12.98
A rare funk album from west coast legend Larry Williams – very different than his heavy R&B of the late 50s, or the brief soul comeback he had with Johnny Guitar Watson in the 60s – and instead a heavy groover with a trippy Cali sound! The record's got a sharp groove right from the start – a vibe that's a bit similar to some of the best Johnny Watson funk of the period – a slight jazzy undercurrent in the instrumentation, with wicked guitar and keyboard bits dancing around each other in the rhythms – often mixed with vocals that have a cool sort of electric feel, and topped with some great horn work from Fred Wesley on trombone and Maceo Parker on alto sax! Rudy Copeland plays keyboards on the album alongside Williams, the the set's got a bit of the feel of Rudy's lost Funky Blindman set – and in a way, also echoes the best strutting, sexy modes of Bootsy Collins too. The album's a surprising gem all the way through – a real lost chapter in Larry's career, and the kind of set that might have broken bigger, had he not died mysteriously a few years later. Titles include "Funky Force", "The Resurrection Of Funk", "One Thing Or The Other", "ATS Express", "How Can I Believe", and "Can't Dance To The Music (If It Ain't Got Funky Rhythm)". CD
(On the Dusty Groove label.)
Also available That Larry Williams – The Resurrection Of Funk ... CD 7.99

Close matches12
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Cal TjaderAgua Dulce ... CD
Fantasy/BGP (UK), 1971. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
One of our favorite Cal Tjader albums ever – and one of the first to have his vibes working alongside Fender Rhodes! The record's a surprising little set from the start of the 70s – one that almost has Cal picking up some of the New York sounds of a few years before, then mixing them up with a hipper west coast electric style in the end – a Fantasy Records vibe that meshes together a few different modes, and comes up with a rich new style in the process! There's a bit of vocals on the set – somewhat unusual for Cal Tjader, and often used to augment the soulfully snapping grooves of the best tunes – but even more amazing is the heavy use of Fender Rhodes, played here by the amazing Al Zulaica, who's work on the album really ranks right up there with the best early 70s keyboardists on the coast! Zulaica's piano is amazing next to Cal's warmly chromatic vibes – and other instrumentation includes saxes from Bill Perkins, flute from Mel Martin, trumpet from Luis Gasca, moog from Rita Dowling, and percussion from both Pete and Coke Escovedo. Titles include the killer "Aqua Dulce (Cool-Ade)", a fantastic version of "Gimme Shelter", a sublime of Clare Fischer's "Morning", and the cuts "Ran Kan Kan", "Descarga Cubana", "Curacao", and "Somewhere In The Night". CD

Close matches13
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✨✧ David AxelrodHeavy Axe ... CD
Fantasy/BGP (UK), 1974. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
A great back-to-basics solo album from the legendary David Axelrod – cut in the mid 70s for Fantasy Records, after higher-concept projects like The Auction and Messiah! This set gets right to the core – and focuses on the funk currents that were always part of Axelrod's larger arrangements, but which sometimes never got pulled to the forefront as strongly – and the approach is almost like some of the funky jazz albums that were issued by Fantasy/Prestige Records at the time – especially those that Axelrod produced for Cannonball Adderley. The whole thing has that great Axelrod sense of composition, with lots of space, and lots of spare cold bits that are nice nice nice for sample cuts – and titles include the classic track "Everything Counts", plus "Get Up Off Your Knees", "My Family", and "Mucho Chupar". CD
Also available Heavy Axe ... LP 9.99

Close matches14
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✨✧ Cal TjaderConcerts In The Sun ... CD
Fantasy, 1960. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
Rare work by Cal Tjader – recorded in 1960, and unissued for years! The album's in a similar format to some of Cal's other excellent live sets for Fantasy from the time – with tracks that are more stretched out than usual, opening up in a Latiny groove with more room for solos, and more excellent work by the great players in the band. Lonnie Hewitt's right beside Cal's vibes on piano, and the set's got some great Latin percussion from Willie Bobo and Mongo Santamaria. Tracks include "Afro Blue", "Cubano Chant", "Day In Day Out", "Walkin With Wally", "Love For Sale", and "Sigmund Stern Groove". CD
(CD case has a small cutout hole.)

Close matches15
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✨✧ Johnny Guitar WatsonListen/I Don't Want To Be Alone, Stranger ... CD
Fantasy/Ace (UK), 1973/1975. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
2 of Johnny Guitar Watson's best albums ever – back to back on a single CD! First up is Listen – quite possibly the rarest of all Johnny Guitar Watson albums – and his first from the 70s – a mindblowing batch of trippy soul tunes that sounds far different than much of his later work! Johnny's not yet in the funky mode here – and he's working in a very cool flanged-out approach that has his vocals tripping lightly with his guitar – in a spacious soul mode that captures some of the energy of Shuggie Otis at the time. The overall sound is incredibly righteous – and the album's a delight throughout! Titles include "Lovin You", "If I Had The Power", "You Bring Love", "I Get A Feeling", and "You're The Sweetest Thing I've Ever Had". I Don't Want To Be Alone Stranger is sublime mid 70s work from Johnny Guitar Watson – a Bay Area blend of soulful production, jazzy playing, and bits of bluesy phrasing, with a hard-to-match quality that we'd put in the same camp as work by Shuggie Otis from the time. Johnny's vocals and guitar are amazing – very laidback and trippy, without all the silly stuff that you sometimes get on later records. "I Don't Want To Be A Lone Ranger" is a great stepper with a jazzy finish and a really catchy hook – and other good cuts include "Lonely Man's Prayer", "You Make My Heart Want To Sing", "Tripping", "Strong Vibrations", and "It's Way Too Late", a reworking (and real steal) of a song from Jon Lucien's great "Rashieda" album! CD

Close matches16
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✨✧ Esther MarrowSister Woman ... CD
Fantasy/BGP (UK), 1972. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
Very righteous work from Esther Marrow – a soul sister who sings with a hell of a lot of power! The set's an overlooked gem in the Fantasy catalog of the 70s, and it's one of only two secular soul albums cut by Marrow – and quite possibly the best of the bunch, too! Esther's got some great help on the set from arrangers Richard Tee, Bernard Purdie, and Bobby Scott – each of whom set Marrow up with some small group backing that keeps things tight and soulful throughout – thanks in big part to the drum work, which is handled by Purdie, Jimmy Johnson, and Idris Muhammad. Other players include Tee on organ and piano, Cornell Dupree on guitar, and Ralph McDonald on congas – whose percussion really helps shape the sound of most of the grooves. There's a horn section too – used sparingly – and there's also a bit of backing vocals from The Reflections, although Esther's pretty much in the lead on all numbers. Titles include "Trade Winds", "Things Ain't Right", "Ask Me To Dance", "Woman In The Window", and "Ghetto". CD
 
Possible matches: 51
Possible matches17
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Dave BrubeckJackpot ... CD
Columbia (Japan), 1966. New Copy ... $13.99
Dave Brubeck really hits the jackpot here – playing live in Las Vegas with his classic quartet that includes the legendary Paul Desmond on alto sax! Dave's studio records for Columbia are all pretty darn great – but sometimes, there's a little something extra in his live dates for the label – maybe a few more relaxed moments, or less overall concepts that give the group a bit more of a spontaneous approach – in ways that almost take us back to the early years on Fantasy Records. Dave opens up the set with a trio number, and a bit more bluesy vibe than usual – then Desmond comes in, and blows us away all over again with his impeccable tone and timing – alongside rhythm from Eugene Wright on bass and Joe Morello on drums. Titles include "Win A Few Lose A Few", "Jackpot", "Rude Old Man", "Ace In The Hole", and "Out Of Nowhere". CD

Possible matches18
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Kenny BurrellFrom Vanguard With Love ... CD
King (Japan), 1993. New Copy ... $11.99
The legendary Kenny Burrell played often at the Village Vanguard over the years – and this sweet set from later years has the guitarist really stretching out in the familiar setting – hitting some surprisingly deep, strong lines throughout – all with effortless ease! The record's a great reminder that Burrell kept on growing over the decades, and never seemed to lose his power as both a leader and a soloist – something we've been reminded of in his many records after this early 90s set – and the younger combo here really seems to bring out a fresh fire in Kenny, with work from James Williams on piano, Peter Washington on bass, and Sherman Ferguson on drums. Titles include the originals "Then Along Came You", "Good News Blues", and "Maya's Dance" – plus "Fungi Mama", "Lament", and "Black & Tan Fantasy". CD

Possible matches19
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Ray Camacho BandReach Out ... CD
PMG (Austria), 1980. New Copy ... $18.99
Brilliant brown-eyed soul from Ray Camacho – an artist who was previously known for more border-styled work with his Teardrops band, but who steps out here with a surprisingly great blend of electric jazz and boogie! The approach is wonderful – a real re-direction of Ray's earlier groove into even more soulful territory – handled with that unique fusion that was happening in just a few of the best Texas spots, like the scene in Austin at the time. The album's equal parts soul and funk, but still has a few Latin roots too – and had this gem come out on Fantasy Records at the time, it would have pushed Ray and group into much headier territory. But we're also happy the set's been undiscovered for so many years (consider it our little secret) – and titles include "Reach Out", "Diggin Deep", "Shake What You Got", "Nobody But You", "Nothing But A Party", and "What A Day". CD
Also available Reach Out ... LP 23.99

Possible matches20
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Eddie DanielsStreet Wind ... CD
Marlin/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $22.99
A funkier fusion set than usual for Eddie Daniels – a great late 70s project for TK Records, and one that's done without some of the too-smooth styles of later years! Eddie's definitely going for a Kudu Records vibe here – one that mixes in doses of soul with the instrumentation, using just a bit of vocals from Patti Austin at points – alongside work from players who include Dave Grusin and Don Sebesky on keyboards, Joe Beck and John Scofield on guitars, and Steve Jordan and Bernard Purdie on drums. Many cuts have a bit of added percussion at the bottom, which further underscores an acoustic element next to the keyboards – and the tunes are sharper than you might expect, and provide a good foil for Eddie's work on sax, flute, and clarinet. Titles include "One Night With You", "Preparation F", "How Deep Is Your Love", "I Go To Rio", "What's At The End Of A Rainbow", "Fantasy Of A Street Corner Flute Player", and "Song For My Son". CD

Possible matches21
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Duke EllingtonBlack Power ... CD
Squatty Roo, 1969. New Copy ... $7.99 14.98
A rare live performance from Duke Ellington – recorded in 1969 at the Salle Pleyel in Paris, when Duke was taking a European tour to celebrate his 70th birthday! The cover art is maybe a bit misleading – given that the album isn't really the sort of righteous political statement that image might imply – but Ellington and the group definitely have a brooding sort of power, especially on a few of the more original, contemporaneous tunes on the set. Players include Cat Anderson and Cootie Williams on trumpets, Lawrence Brown on trombone, Paul Gonsalves on tenor, and Johnny Hodges on alto – and the recording quality is definitely a bit "live", although most performances come through pretty clearly. Titles include "El Gato", "Black Butterfly", "La Plus Belle Africaine", "Tenorsaxophone Calisthenics", "Black Power", and "Black & Tan Fantasy". CD

Possible matches22
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Five StairstepsFive Stairsteps – The Complete Curtis Mayfield Years (Five Stairsteps (Windy C)/Love's Happening) (plus bonus tracks) ... CD
Outta Sight (UK), Late 60s. New Copy ... $11.99
A pair of killer albums from The Five Stairsteps – 1967's self-titled set for Windy C – plus '68's Love's Happening by The Five Stairsteps & Cubie – together with bonus track on this great set from Outta Sight UK! The Five Stairsteps album is a landmark batch of sweet soul – recorded by the still youthful group that included a 13 year old Kenny Burke! The kids were brought together by their parents Clarence and Betty Burke, but it was Curtis Mayfield who really gave them a push – as he discovered them, produced them, and wrote some excellent songs for them during their best early years. Mayfield's sweet soul style forged with The Impressions runs through most of these tracks – and although the group is young, they really do a fantastic job with the material, and infuse it with a soulfulness way past their years. Titles include "Danger She's A Stranger", "World Of Fantasy", "Ooh Baby Baby", "Don't Waste Your Time", and "Behind Curtains". Love's Happening might be the best record ever by this Chicago soul group! The record's got a full batch of original tracks written and produced by Mayfield – including their amazing, funk steeped version of "Don't Change Your Love", with a breakbeat that lit up the sampler culture for years! That raw drum sound is in effect on even the more delicate numbers, and the lead vocals and harmonies soar or sink deep to the soul, as the groove demands. There's also some kind of tripped out touches in the production in spots, making for a nice balance of sweet soul and leftfield touches. Kind of an underappreciated effort in the grand scheme of Curtis Mayfield productions, but wholly essential! Other titles include "Stay Close To Me", "New Dance Craze", "Baby, Make Me Feel So Good", and "Little Young Lover". 5 bonus singles in the set: "Ain't Gonna Rest (Til I Get You)", "You Can't See", "Change Of Pace", "Madame Mary" and "We Must Be In Love". CD

Possible matches23
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Caesar FrazierHail Caesar!/'75 ... CD
Eastbound/Ace (UK), 1972/1975. New Copy ... $11.99 18.99
2 killers from organist Caesar Frazier – back to back on one CD! Hail Ceasar is a monster bit of funky jazz – filled with long tracks that all jam mightily, all at a level that matches or tops the best work coming out of Prestige or Blue Note Records at the time! The set is one of the rare few on the Eastbound jazz subsidiary of Detroit soul powerhouse Westbound Records – and it's the first to feature organist Ceasar Frazier as a leader – really grooving hard here with a Prestige-styled combo that includes Idris Muhammad on funky drums, Melvin Sparks on heavy guitar, and Houston Person on soulful sax – all produced with a gritty gritty edge by the legendary Bob Porter! The whole album's great – filled with incredible cuts that include a version of "Hicky-Burr", the first Bill Cosby theme – plus the tracks "Make It With You", "Running Away", "Hail Ceasar!", and "See-F". Ceasar Frazier 75 is a tightly grooving set that expands his sound a bit from the first! All the best elements are still in place here – including funky organ from Ceasar, production from jazz funk maestro Bob Porter, and a hip range of players that includes Horace Ott, Wilbur Bascomb, and Bernard Purdie. But the overall sound is somewhat shifted too – brought more into the tightly jamming jazz funk mode of the mid 70s – a bit richer and fuller overall, yet never in a way that's slick or sloppy – just more like some of the best later sides on Prestige or Fantasy from the same stretch. The record features a crazy version of the "Mighty Mouse Theme", a mellow take on the Isley's "Summer Breeze", Stevie Wonder's great "Living For The City", and the original "Funk It Down". CD

Possible matches24
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FruitFruit ... CD
Athens Of The North (UK), 1978. New Copy ... $11.99
A fantastic funk group from the late 70s – one who've got a sharpness to rival the best of the P-Funk universe of the time, but a sound that's much leaner and powerful overall! There's almost a Fantasy Records approach here – as all the elements in the mix come down right on the money, with an instrumental complexity that's mindblowing for such an unheard combo – yet delivered with a sense of groove that makes the whole thing come together with effortless ease! Fruit only ever issued one single at the time, and this album finally presents their never-heard full album – a gem unearthed from a Florida studio, with a quality level that should have made them huge. These aren't just dusty old tapes, pulled out for collectors – nor half-formed demos – and instead, the record's one that can stand head and shoulders next to the best funk albums of the period, filled with killer cuts that include "Space Lady", "Lost The Love", "Say It", "Fruit Of The Universe", "What You Gonna Do", and "Spring". CD
Also available Fruit ... LP 22.99

Possible matches25
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Johnny HammondGears (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Milestone/BGP (UK), 1975. New Copy ... $14.99
One of our favorite albums of all time – and a record that just gets better and better the more we listen to it – and we've listened to it for years! Johnny "Hammond" Smith began his career as a simple soul jazz organist – but by the time of this album, he'd teamed up with the mighty Larry Mizell, the genius arranger/producer who'd breathed new life into the careers of Donald Byrd and Bobbi Humphrey. Mizell works with Hammond in the same way he does with other jazz artists – by taking a groove that works best with their solo style, and slowly layering other instrumentation and effects on top of it, so that when the solo kicks in, it's supported on waves and waves of funky sounds and soulful grooves. Mizell and his brother Fonce both play keyboards on the record, and the rest of the group includes monster fusion players like Harvey Mason, Roger Glenn, Hadley Caliman, and Jerry Peters. The real treat is Johnny, though – as his solos are heavenly, the best of his 70s work, stripped mean and lean, laid in at just the right points. Includes the breakbeat classic "Shifting Gears", the house classic "Los Conquistadores Chocolates", and funky numbers "Fantasy" and "Tell Me What To Do". This stunning version adds in some killer bonus tracks – 6 never-heard cuts from the Milestone vaults, including "Song For My Family", "Funky Native", "Detroit Rainbow", "Can't We Smile (alt)", and slow and fast versions of "A Child's Love". CD
Also available Gears (with bonus tracks) ... LP 26.99

Possible matches26
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Harris & Orr (Michael Orr)Harris & Orr EP (aka Spread Love) (Japanese paper sleeve edition) ... CD
P-Vine (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $24.99
A gem of a smooth soul album – completely rare in the original, and a completely honest soul testament from singer/songwriter Michael Orr and Chris Harris! The record's got a sound that reminds us of a lot of the tracks you'll hear on the Modern Soul comps on the Goldmine label – a smooth approach at the base, with touches of soul jazz, and handled with a bit of roughness that makes things sound a lot more real than some of the other soul coming out at the time. Orr's got a real talent for a song – and his commitment to strong vocals can be heard in his mix of styles that recall bits of Andy Bey, bits of Jon Lucien, bits of Gil Scott-Heron, and bits of DJ Rogers. This version is a 6-track EP that pulls all the best songs from the original album Spread Love – and titles include "Ecstasy, Fantasy, & Dreamland", "Let Me Be With You Awhile", "Here I Go", "Afterwhile", "A Piece Of Mine", and "Feelings". CD

Possible matches27
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Jazz InvadersFind The Love ... CD
Unique (Germany), 2016. New Copy ... $14.99 15.98
Were the Jazz Invaders ever this soulful before? We don't seem to remember that – as they come on totally strong and wonderful here – with a groove that might even rival the best previous work by big-name combos like Incognito or Brand New Heavies! Like both those groups, the Jazz Invaders are rooted in classic modes – but they've also picked up a lot more funk than before – putting the jazz off to the side a bit, and focusing on the overall groove – a bit like some of the best artists in the mid 70s run of jazz/funk classics from Fantasy Records! Linda Bloenhard adds some great vocals to a number of cuts – furthering the strong soul vibe here – but even the instrumental numbers are great, and sparkle strongly in a sweet blend of Fender Rhodes, and jazzy riffs on alto, tenor, and trumpet. All tunes are originals – and the writing is great – on tracks that include "Higher On Fire", "Get It Work It", "Get Away", "Disco Fever", "Do It", "Phil's Crossroads", "Discover Disco Lover", and "Much Rosie" CD

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Michel LegrandParis Rome Vienna (aka I Love Paris – plus bonus cuts) ... CD
Columbia/El (UK), 1954. New Copy ... $1.99
String-heavy early genius from a young Michel Legrand – tracks from some of his best travelogue albums for Columbia from the 50s! The first half of the set is Legrand's original I Love Paris album – a sparkling postwar musical fantasy of Paris, made up of a host of famous themes from French pop music of the 20th century, all set to lush string arrangements! The album's not as upbeat or jazzy as some of Legrand's later soundtrack work, but it's got a wonderful quality all its own – a warmly romantic vision of a Paris that was still putting the pieces back together less than a decade after WWII, presented in a way that glosses sweet sounds over darker corners with a vaguely eerie feel. The record instantly made Legrand an international favorite, and features 16 tracks that include "Mademoiselle De Paris", "The Last Time I Saw Paris", "Paris Canaille", "Autumn Leaves", "A Paris", "La Vie En Rose", "Under Paris Skies", and "April In Paris. Next up are 11 more tracks from another postwar site – Italian themes from Legrand's Holiday In Rome record, done in a similar style to the Paris session – with titles that include "Vieni Vieni", "Aveva Un Bavero", "Fiorin Fiorello", "Torna A Surriento", and "Funiculi Funicula". The travels are completed in Vienna – with 3 more titles from Legrand's Vienna Holiday album, including "Vilia", "Third Man Theme", and "The Cafe Mozart Waltz". CD

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Luciano MicheliniL'Isola Degli Uomini Pesce ... CD
Cometa (Italy), 1979. New Copy ... $19.99
A spooky cover, and some spooky music to match – served up by the lesser-known Italian composer Luciano Michelini! The soundtrack's from the late 70s, but it's got a full, orchestral feel that reminds us a lot more of Italian work from a decade before – especially some of the more dramatic, dynamic adventure scores that reigned during the apex of Italian fantasy films. A few tracks have some 70s touches – bits of funky rhythms at the bottom, or slight electronics – but overall, most of the instrumentation comes from strings and well-placed brass – used starkly and with a great deal of power throughout! Titles include "Atlantide", "Palude", "I Mostri", "Naufragio", "Cosa Resta Dell'Amore", "Il Laboratorio Sotterraneo", "Rito Magico", and "Il Violenti". CD
(Limited edition of 500!)

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Mario Nascimbene/Shirley BasseyL'Arciere Delle Mille E Una Notte/La Lotta Dell'Uomo Per La Sua Sopravvivenza ... CD
Digitmovies (Italy), 1962/1970. New Copy ... $18.99
Archery action from a flying carpet – all set to a vintage score from maestro Mario Nascimbene! The music's got that full, orchestral vibe of Nascimbene's more famous work of the time – maybe more Italo blood and sandals than some of his epics, with both dramatic flourishes on the percussion and horns, and some cool use of chorus vocals that create a mythical vibe on some of our favorite tracks. The whole thing's maybe not as boldly bracing as you'd expect from the cover image – but it's definitely on the better side of the Italian fantasy score! CD features four more tracks from the 1970 TV show The Fight For Survival – all very different, and completely great! Robert Pregadio handles the orchestrations, and Shirley Bassey sings on three of the four tracks here – with this cool, soulful, dramatic style that's maybe even better than her work on James Bond films! CD

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Peter NeroLove Trip/From Hair To Hollywood ... CD
Columbia/Vocalion (UK), 1969. New Copy ... $16.99
Two of the grooviest albums Peter Nero ever recorded – back to back on a single CD! Love Trip has Peter Nero really opening up with cool mod sounds at the end of the 60s – lots more funk and soul currents in his music than before, yet still plenty of that bold, dramatic Peter Nero piano – set to cool arrangements from Frank Hunter, Claus Ogerman, and Walter Raim! The best cuts have almost a groovy 60s soundtrack vibe – with the added bonus of Nero's rich piano tone – and titles include "You ARe There", "Amy's Theme", "Blue Fantasy", "If You've Got A Heart", "Rapido", "Lover Come Back To Me", and "The Right To Love". From Hair To Hollywood is even better – a totally excellent album! Sure, Peter Nero could be one of the sleepier piano players of the 60s – but on this little gem, he's playing moog, and it sounds great! Nero's taking moog to the sweet soundtrack groovers "Midnight Cowboy" and The Windmills Of Your Mind" – which both come out in a dark spooky style, and "Windmills" sounds especially great, as it begins with a moogy breakbeat that would make Perry-Kingsley weep! Moog's also heard on "Be In" and "Let the Sunshine In" from Hair – and the album also includes 4 other numbers from Galt MacDermot's funky musical, like "Aquarius", "Hair", and "Good Morning Starshine". Frank Hunter did the arrangements – and there's a lot of nice funk running through the LP! CD

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Otis & ShuggWe Can Do Whatever ... CD
Expansion (UK), 1996. New Copy ... $16.99
The long-overdue release of an album that should have been a Neo Soul classic! The team of Otis Cooper and Shugg David recorded this gem of a set back in the mid 90s along with help from longtime friend and producer Raphael Saadiq – but due to shifting priorities at the major label, the set was shelved and is only now finally seeing the light of day! Despite the wait, though, the album bristles with electricity and has a totally fresh sound – bubbling over with the warmth and soul of the best Saadiq production work of the time, and hitting a vibe that's almost in the same mode as his own recent Ray Ray recordings. But even more charming are the talents of Otis & Shugg – two down-to-earth vocalists who work in a style that's nicely free of cliche, and which really shows them setting a tone that would be followed by many other make singers in the Neo Soul years to come. Titles include "Right On Track", "Fantasy", "If You Want It", "My First Mistake", "Round & Round", "Indiana", "This Is My Phone Call", and "Something Inside Of Me". CD

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Players AssociationPlayers Association/Turn The Music Up! ... CD
Vanguard/Ace (UK), Late 70s. New Copy ... $11.99 18.99
A pair of gems from The Players Association – back to back on a single CD! First up is the fantastic first album from The Players Association – a group who may well have gotten their name for the great jazzy musicians in their lineup! Players Association are best known for their disco grooves, but they've got a core sense of instrumentation that's really a cut above – with strong leadership from jazzman Chris Hills – who plays drums, guitar, and keyboards – and other players who include Joe Farrell on tenor and flute, Bob Mover on alto and soprano, Jon Faddis on trumpet, and Mike Mandell on keyboards! Ray Mantilla and Buddy Williams add in some great percussion to the mix – which furthers the spontaneous, jazzy vibe of some of the tunes – and titles includes the funky cut "I Like It", which has a nice break in the beginning, plus the tracks "Let's Groove", "Hustlin", "Moon In Pisces", and a sweet cover of "For The Love Of You". Turn The Music Up is wonderful work from The Players Association – a group who were equal parts jazz funk and equal parts 70s club – with a vibe that's maybe like The Blackbyrds or other Fantasy Records acts at their best! The mighty Chris Hills is at the helm – and the record is overflowing with top-shelf talent from the jazz side of the spectrum – work by Bob Berg on tenor, Tom Harrell on trumpet, and Bob Mover on alto – all with room to solo, and really helping bring a musical maturity to the record that other disco records never seem to have! Titles include "Everybody Dance", "Ride The Groove", "The Closer I Get To You", and "I Wish". CD

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Ritchie FamilyAll Night All Right ... CD
RCA/PTG (Netherlands), 1983. New Copy ... $11.99
Sweet dancefloor soul from an early 80s line-up of The Ritchie Family – this one featuring Linda James, Jacqui Smith-Lee and Vera Brown – going All Night All Right on a strong batch of synth flavored grooves! The bigger hits of the commercial disco boom were well behind them by this point, but their sound is updated incredibly well here – smartly not going overboard with too much synth, and letting the the vocal trio lead the vibe. Lots of funky bass in in the mix, and the songs are solid – with titles that include "Real Love", "Stop And Think", "All Night All Right". "I Wanna Be Yours", "Live It Up", "Fantasy", "Cold Winds" and "Lost In Your Love". CD

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✨✧ Lee RitenourRit/Rit 2 ... CD
Elektra/Robinsongs (UK), 1981/1982. New Copy ... $13.99
A super-fusion double header from Lee Ritenour – two classics back to back on a single CD! Few people did soulful fusion better than Lee Ritenour back in the early 80s – and the guitarist always seemed to find a way to really link together all the different sounds of the electric genre – from heavy jamming to soulful grooving to a rock-like appreciation for a good hook! On the album Rit, Harvey Mason provides some great heavy drums, and also helped Lee produce – which gives the record a sharp, soulful focus that's like some of Harvey's own great records of the time – an undercurrent of funk that more than helps keep the Ritenour vocals moving along! Titles include "Mr Briefcase", "Countdown", "Good Question", "Dreamwalk", "Is It You", and "Just Tell Me Pretty Lies". Rit 2 is a nice mix of 80s groove and jazzy fusion – served up by one of the few players who could make such a set come off so well! Lee Ritenour's fusion work of the 70s always had a fair dose of R&B in the mix – but by the time of this set, he had moved even more strongly into a modern soul-based mode of jazz – one that he clearly helped to influence with his initial work, and which he still rode over strongly with the well-selling Rit series of albums for Elektra. Players on the set include Harvey Mason and Tom Scott – and about 2/3 of the album's tracks feature vocals by Eric Tagg. Titles include "Malibu", "Cross My Heart", "Promises Promises", "Dreamwalkin", "Keep It Alive", "A Fantasy", and "Tied Up". CD

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Strata NovaStrata Nova – Historic 1977 to 1983 Recordings ... CD
Uuquipleu, Late 70s/Early 80s. New Copy 2CD ... $12.99
A really obscure group from the Detroit scene of the late 70s and early 80s – but one who live on strongly in this double-length set – thanks to the recording efforts of drummer Leonard King! The group were kind of a follow-up to King's previous Soul Messengers group – and to his work with the legendary Lyman Woodard – and they've got a mix of styles that's rooted in jazz, but embraces lots of the groovier soul modes of the period – which means a bit of clubby funk at times, and some warmer grooves that would be right at home in the Fantasy Records/Bay Area scene of the 70s. The scope of material is great – a really deep look at this lost creative ensemble – and tracks range from shorter numbers like "Ain't No Friend Of Mine", "El Sol", "Commercial", "Ole", "Feel It", and "The Glow Of My Life" – to very long jams that include "Gwen Laster", "Boiler Room A", "March Of The Granfaloons", and "Motherland". CD
 
 
 



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