George Duke —
Feel ... LP MPS/BASF, 1974. Very Good+ ...
Sweet keyboards and lots of funky grooves – one of the best of George Duke's seminal albums for MPS – and a record that captures him at a key middle point in his growth! The sound here is tighter than the trippier records of before, but also never too smooth or commercial – still with plenty of cosmic influences in the funk, and a wealth of great keyboard work that rivals some of Herbie Hancock's best from the same stretch. George sings a bit himself – in a warmly compressed mode that's simply wonderful, and which further expands the grooves – and although much of the album's instrumentation comes from the keyboards, the record also features guest appearances from Airto on percussion and Ndugu on drums – as well as a bit of guest vocals from Flora Purim. Titles include "The Once Over", "Tzina", "Statement", "Love", "Feel", "Funny Funk", "Rashid", and "Cora Joberge". LP, Vinyl record album
One of the key non-Saturn Sun Ra albums of the 70s – and like his records for Blue Thumb and Impulse, a set that really helped awaken the world to his talents! This album may well be one of the most bracing of the bunch – as it features live material recorded by Ra and the Arkestra at two different German jazz festivals in 1970 – performances that really have the group at the height of their righteous power, stretching out with a sound that's even more avant than just a few years before! The reed solos are all quite strong – and include work by Pat Patrick, John Gilmore, Danny Davis, Danny Thompson, and Marshall Allen – plus some other oboe, bass clarinet, and bassoon players too – and the lovely June Tyson provides some righteous words in a few spots, while Ra plays a range of keyboards – from clavinet, to farfisa, Hohner electra, mini-moog, Spacemaster, and rocksichord! Titles include "Black Forest Myth", "Strange Dreams – Strange World – Black Myth", and "Myth Versus Reality (The Myth Science Approach)". LP, Vinyl record album
A totally hip, totally funky fusion combo from the German scene at the start of the 70s – one who've got all the right elements to match the best work on MPS Records at the time! In truth, the combo shares many players with the best from that scene – a rock-solid rhythm section that features the mighty Klaus Weiss on drums, Jimmy Woode on bass, and Fritz Pauer on both electric piano and organ – laced with sweet lines on a variety of flutes from Fredinand Povel, plus sharper guitar lines from the mighty Philip Catherine! Add in some extra percussion from Juan Romero, and the record gets extra-sweet throughout – with this moody groove that's definitely funky, but pretty trippy at times too – all without ever getting overindulgent, which is a rare thing for this type of record. Titles include "Spanish Sun", "Sunshine", "Sunbirds", "Kwaeli", and "Sunrise". LP, Vinyl record album
A really cool prog group – one that features lots of organ from a pre-Ace Paul Carrack – in a lineup that includes saxes from John Surgey and Alan Soloman, and lots of jazzy elements in the mix! LP, Vinyl record album