Wednesday, December 19, 2012



Soaring soul from Marlena Shaw – her last recording for Blue Note, and a set that points the way towards her bigger fame to come at Columbia Records! Like some of her previous sets, there's definitely still some jazzy elements in the mix – yet the overall sound is much more fully soulful, thanks to arrangements and production from Bert DeCoteaux and Tony Silvester, who both bring in a rich sound that's similar to some of the indie dancefloor soul coming out of Philly and New York at the time – with backings that are a great blend of funk and strings, perfect for Shaw's unique blend of the sophisticated and soulful. Marlena handles this mode better than anyone else, and we think this set's easily one of her strongest records ever – even more so than some of her later dates too. Titles include the wonderful "Think About Me", a solid stepping seventies soul track that is (or should have been) an instant classic – plus "This Time I'll Be Sweeter", "Take My Body", "No Hiding Place", "Love Has Gone Away", "You & Me", "It's Better Than Walkin Out", and "Be For Real". ~ Dusty Groove


A beautifully soulful set from Horace Silver – hardly the "with brass" session you might guess from the title, and instead a well-integrated album that really showcases a new level of arranging genius from Horace! The set is heavy on hip horns – with work from Oscar Brashear, Bobby Bryant, and Tom Harrell on trumpets – plus Frank Rosolinon on trombone, Jerome Richardson on alto and soprano sax, Buddy Collette on flute, and Bob Berg on tenor – but these instruments are often wrapped up in this warmly rolling groove driven by the bass of Ron Carter and drums of Al Foster – inherently funky, but much more complicated from a rhythmic perspective – and rolling out beautifully with a really imaginative vibe! Tunes are all originals by Silver – wonderful little numbers filled with passion and life – almost painting in sound, with really rich tones and colors throughout. Titles include "The Sophisticated Hippie", "Dameron's Dance", "Barbara", "Adjustment", "Mysticism", and "Kissin Cousins". ~ Dusty Groove


A very early session on Elektra – cut during a year when the label recorded a surprising amount of jazz! Norene Tate's a singer we only know from this album – a very moody vocalist with this mixture of blue notes and more trilling high spots – a mode that makes her surprisingly expressive in a very short space, with the kind of range you might be more likely to hear from some of the bigger vocal sets of the time. Yet the backings here are nice and lean, just trio accompaniment from a group led by pianist Isaac Royal – who himself has all these nice dark tones that really go great with the vocals! Titles include "Butterfly", "After My Laughter Came Tears", "I Cover The Waterfront", "The Wall", "One For My Baby", "I Was Doing All Right", "Every Now & Then", and "I've Had My Moments". ~ Dusty Groove

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