A cool classic from vibist Mike Mainieri – easily one of his hippest albums ever – and an all-star blend of jazz and funky fusion! There's a brilliance here that's undeniable – a focused, soaring sort of energy that reminds us a lot of the best British funky big band records of the same time – and like those sets, there's also a slight undercurrent of rock music going on too – but only in a way that further hips up the groove! The group here is quite a large ensemble – hence the White Elephant name – and in addition to Mike's own great work on keyboards (plus a bit of vibes, although uncredited), the set also features Michael Brecker on tenor, Randy Brecker on trumpet, Joe Beck on guitar, Ronnie Cubar on baritone sax, Jon Faddis
on trumpet, and Warren Bernhardt on keyboards. Rhythm is from Steve Gadd on drums and Tony Levin on bass – and all players work here at their best early level – never too tight or too slick, just sharp-edged and crackling with energy throughout. There's some vocals on the set – either from Mike, or Nick Holmes and Ann Sutton – sometimes straight lyrics to tunes, but other times more of a chorus type that fits in alongside the instrumentation. But given the presence of so many jazz heavyweights on the record, there's certainly an equal focus on the instrumentation – if not more! Titles include "Monkey", "Field Song", "Animal Fat", "The Jones", "Save The Water Party", "Broadway Joe", "Dreamsong", "Right Back", "Sunshine Clean", and "Gunfighter".
(In the original embossed cover, which has some very light aging on the edges – but is great overall.)