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British jazz pianist Jessica Lauren plays electric piano on all but one of the tracks on her album Siren Song. I heard her interviewed by Gilles Peterson when this album came out and she said "I couldn't live without my Rhodes," how wise! The solo she performs on Serengeti has a nice retro feel, it also features ex-Jamiroquai drummer Nick van Gelder.

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Eumir Deodato moved to the U.S. in 1967 from his native Brazil, his musical talent soon let him continue his successful career as a composer,arranger and producer. His version of Also Sprach Zarathrustra, (Strauss' version was used for the film 2001-A Space Odyssey, yes that is the black monolith on the cover) was a huge crossover success and caused Creed Taylor's CTI records to stage this concert at Felt Forum, New York. The album is a recording of that concert and Deodato plays excellent piano on all tracks, I particularly like the cover of Steely Dan's Do It Again. There are lots of other great tracks by this artist that I shall feature later on. In the late 70's he helped Kool and the Gang to a career boost by producing Ladies Night, more recently he has produced Icelandic singer Bjork.

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If you ever need to explain what a Rhodes sounds like to someone tell them it's the instrument that plays the theme to the TV series Taxi, the song is called Angela(1) and is one of several influential recordings featured on the U.K. compilation Best of Bob James. The CD also contains two classic electric piano tracks Nautilus(2) which was covered by New Yorican Soul, and jazz-funk floor filler Westchester Lady(3) sampled by Adam F on Circles. These tracks are also available on his albums Touchdown,One,and Three respectively. For the last few years Bob, (who was once a CTI label-mate of Deodato's) has been rooted firmly in the smooth-jazz area, both in solo works and with the group Fourplay.

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This track is raw, funky and short, not even clocking up three minutes playing time. From Weldon Irvine's 1973 album Time Capsule it's called Bananas, and features him playing tough, funky Rhodes. His original releases are highly sought after by funk collectors and therefore can be valuable, I think this artist deserves to achieve more than just cult status though. The British label Hubbub re-released this one a couple years ago,

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This Italian compilation contains an odd mixture of contemporary and classic grooves, all linked by their Latin vibe. I mainly bought it because it contains Barbara Ann by Webster Lewis. Totally contrasting with the Weldon Irvine track above this is a mellow swayer that features lovely smooth keyboard playing. He also had a big jazz-funk favourite called El Bobo which I shall feature in coming months.

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The word classic is often misused but definitely applies to this song. She's Not There was written by keyboard player Rod Argent, and his stylish e.p. performance underpins the whole track, plus there's a great solo too. On this Rod plays a lesser known make of electric piano called the Hohner Pianet, (which for me can sound a lot like a Wurlitzer). There was also a very popular cover version of the song recorded by Santana. Rod would provide great piano and organ for both The Zombies and later for his rock band Argent. I have a real soft spot for this one as Rod comes from St. Albans - which is where I grew up, I am fairly sure he went to my old school as well.

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