Tracks 7


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The playing on Got Me A Feeling is kept simple and mainly in the background(1), however it is a nice example of how an electric piano can contribute to a vocal track. Misty's sweet and innocent sounding voice could be easily overwhelmed but the Rhodes is sympathetic and allows it the space required. Unfortunately she has been very quiet since the 1993 release of this single - the guest male backing vocalist Omar, of whom great things were expected has also seemed to have disappeared from view recently. I don't know who plays keyboards on this, but whoever it is gets a short section up front towards the end(2).

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Even on this seemingly polite cover version of Paul Simon's Take Me To The Mardi Gras Bob James manages to insert that certain something. The main melody line is played straight with an effects pedal(1), however it's the percussion and middle section that have proved very popular with break hunters. The first half dozen or so notes featured in the second clip(2) have been used on many hip-hop tracks such as Run DMC's Peter Piper.

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Prelude was Deodato's first solo album for CTI and originally came out in 1972. It contains the studio recordings of several tracks featured on the Felt Forum album reviewed in Tracks 3. His best known cut, the Grammy winning arrangement of Also Sprach Zarathustra(1) is here in the full length nine minute version, and it's familiarity should not distract from the good e.p. playing. Fusion favourite September 13(2), is moody and funky in a soundtrack style and although dominated by an excellent John Tropea guitar solo it contains some nice piano. Other tracks have that light, melodic feel that many Brazilian artists share, Carly And Carole(3) -dedicated to songstress' Simon and King, is a good example.

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Jeff Beck's Blow By Blow is a fusion classic that combines rock and funk influences brilliantly. The emphasis is on the virtuoso British guitarist of course, but Max Middleton (and guest Stevie Wonder) provide fine backings and solos with e.p. and clavinet. Air Blower(1) gets quite heavy before going all cool, Scatterbrain(2) has some great sections where guitar and Rhodes race along the same lines, while Diamond Dust(3) is nice and mellow. Producer George Martin kept the keyboards right up in the mix, making this is a good album for demonstrating quality playing to die-hard rock guitar fans. It is available in several versions, ordinary 16 bit CD, 24 bit remastered gold CD and in a good value triple pack with Wired and There And Back.

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More sterling compilation work from Britain's Soul Jazz records, this time exploring the vaults of the cult Strata East label. This is the second volume they have put together and although it is not full of e.p. tracks by any means it does contain one gem from Weldon Irvine. Recorded in 1974 Turkish Bath features Weldon taking turns on electric(mainly) and acoustic pianos, the main hook has a similar feel to Donny Hathaway's Valdez In The Country and there is some nice improvisation too. He remains quite an underground figure despite having excellent credentials such as being Nina Simone's musical director for several years - definitely top of my 'must investigate more' list.

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Nigerian Fela Kuti is sometimes referred to being the 'African James Brown' and although such labels are not always useful his musical stature is comparable to the Godfather's. He produced a vast catalogue of music in his lifetime, combining traditional, funk and jazz elements, to produce an influential sound called Afro-beat. I think Buy Africa dates from the early 70's, the reissue has little information unfortunately. The tracks are typically long percussive grooves with brass section, and on several such as Who Are You? Fela (I think) plays an electric piano resulting in an interesting combination of percussion and keyboard sounds. This style of music is enjoying a resurgence at the moment with compilations, reissues and new recordings from people like Tony Allen (Fela's drummer) and Femi Kuti (his son).

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