Friday, July 18, 2014

New Releases - Yusef Lateef - The Gentle Giant; Joe Magnarelli - Lookin' Up; Jason McGuiness - A Whitfield/Strong Tribute


One of the greatest Yusef Lateef albums on Atlantic Records – and that's saying a lot, given the high level of quality he was hitting at the label! The album's a perfect blend of the newly-funky Lateef style with some hipper, more sophisticated touches – a mode that hints at his bigger-concept recordings to come, but which is still pretty lean and clean overall – and damn funky on most of the best tracks! Yusef plays a host of hip flutes here, plus tenor and oboe – and an almost equal star on the record is Kenny Barron, whose electric piano lines really make the album something special. The album begins with a long take on Barron's "Nubian Lady" which begins the record – and Kenny also contributed the tighter grooving "Jungle Plum". Other tracks include "African Song", "Queen Of The Night", "Poor Fishermen", "Below Yellow Bell", and a strange version of "Hey Jude" that goes on for a long time, and really messes with the volume – listed on the cover with the note "Do not adjust the playback level on your audio equipment – readjust your mind!"  ~ Dusty Groove


A storming set from trumpeter Joe Magnarelli – working here in an excellent quintet that also features equally great trombone from Steve Davis – a perfect partner from Joe in the front line! Davis has sharp phrasing that really matches Magnarelli's deft trumpet lines – and the pair get a soulful swing from a tight rhythm trio that features Anthony Wonsey on piano, Mike Karn on bass, and Jason Brown on drums – a group that brings in bold, strong tones right from the start – and still finds a resonant depth even on mellower numgers. Many tunes are originals from Joe, mixed with a few well-chosen classics – and titles include "44", "Third Set", "Inner Beauty", "Miles Mode", "In Walked Lila", "Blue Key", and "Easy Transition". ~ Dusty Groove


A sweet little 3-track EP spearheaded by producer/synth programmer Jason McGuiness – who enlists some of the leading players in the LA funk scene to pay tribute to Norman Whitfield, Barrett Strong, and the psych soul era of Motown Records! Includes freshly-arranged, straight up incredible takes on "Smiling Faces Sometimes", "Cloud Nine", and "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" – with vocals by Mix Master Wolf (Breakestra) and Stephanie Karr, Dexter Story on Rhodes and Hammond, Todd Simon on turmpet, Kamasi Washington on sax, T'Amir Sweeney on drums and more.  ~ Dusty Groove

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