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".