POWER OF SOUL
Idris Muhammad - drums, Grover Washington Jr. - soprano/tenor saxophone,
Bob James - keyboards, Gary King - bass, Joe Beck - guitar, Ralph
MacDonald - percussion, Randy Brecker - trumpet/flugelhorn.
Tracks 1&3 March 14, 1974. Tracks 2&4 March 1, 1974. Recorded
at Van Gelder Studios.
Series 505171 2
1. Power Of Soul
2. Piece Of Mind
3. The Saddest Thing
4. Loran's Dance
This album marked Idris Muhammad's debut as a leader and is described
in the liner notes as " an album that should have received warmer
accolades and become a classic." I would whole-heartedly agree with
this summation and add that it will certainly be one of my favourite re-releases
The players on this disc might be termed a "super" band. Most
of the musicians heard here were on the way to becoming stars in their
own spheres. Muhammad himself had played for such Broadway shows as "Hair"
and had, by this time, become the house drummer for the Prestige record
label. Subsequently he worked with the likes of Roberta Flack, Pharoah
Sanders, George Coleman and David Murray and has become one of the most
respected and in demand drummers in the business. Grover Washington Jr.
at this point in time had recorded his first few hit albums on the Motown
label and his career was to go from strength to strength until he became
one of the few Jazz stars to achieve the type of popularity only experienced
by artistes on the more commercial side of the industry. Joe Beck on guitar
had already worked with Charles Lloyd, Eric Clapton and Chico Hamilton
and went on to a successful career as a funk artist as well as producing
and arranging for such as major performers as Frank Sinatra and Gloria
Gaynor. Randy Brecker has become one of the most ubiquitous trumpet players
in Jazz and Bob James is synonymous with the best of composition, production
and arranging in the so called "Smooth Jazz" idiom as well as
being a superb pianist.
The four tracks are all very strong. "The Power Of Soul" by
J. Hendrix is a hard driving piece and features some powerful tenor playing
from Grover. The rhythm section is particularly tight and forceful on
"Piece Of Mind" is a sophisticated Bob James arrangement with
soprano and trumpet making the theme statement. Grover's saxophone solo
is one of those free flowing expositions which were to become almost a
trade mark in later years - I have always felt that he was one of the
most under-rated of performers on this particular instrument. Brecker's
trumpet takes over with a beautiful clarity of tone and concise ideas.
"The Saddest Thing " is a well crafted tune by Joe Beck and
once again contains some great soprano playing by Washington. James and
Brecker also make thoughtful and telling contributions. Grover wrote "Loran's
Dance" and plays tenor here. The tune is funky and laid back, one
of the high spots being Beck's wonderfully controlled guitar outing.
Idris Muhammad's influence is obvious throughout this disc - he leads,
accompanies and encourages all at the same time.
D.S. is a professional reed player and teacher living
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