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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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UPCHURCH/TENNYSON
Phil Upchurch, Eric Gale, Dud Bascomb - electric guitar & bass
Tennyson Stephens, Bob James - piano, electric piano, vocal
David Sanborn - alto saxophone
Hubert Laws - flute
Steve Gadd, Andrew Smith - drums
Ralph MacDonald - conga, percussion
Frank Floyd, Lani Groves, Janice Pendarvis, Zachary Sanders - background vocal
Harry Cykman, Max Ellen, Harry Glickman, Harold Kohon, Harry Lookofsky, David Nadien, Gene Orloff,

Matthew Raimondi - violin
Alla Goldberg, Warren Lash, Jesse Levy, Tony SOphos -cello
Produced by Creed Taylor
Recorded Van Gelder Studios 1974 - 1975.
CTI 5128022

 

 

 



1. You Got Style
2. Ave Maria
3. In Common
4. Tell Me Something Good
5. Don't I Know You?
6. South Side Morning
7. Evil
8. Black Gold
9. I Wanted It Too
10. Donny's Hip
11. Black Maybe
12. Tell The Truth
13. Looking The World Over

Of the recent crop of CTI Master Series reissues this is certainly the one with the strongest leanings towards the more popular forms of music. This does not in any way lower the standard of the performances on this disc. However, it does make it less interesting to my ears. The overall effect is much smoother than the other discs I have had to review in this batch. The vocals are significantly further forward in the mix and there is far less freedom both in style and in terms of improvisation.

The musicians here are all from the top drawer and many can be heard on the other discs in this series. There are some purely instrumental selections and the ones which impressed me most feature the Hank Crawford/King Curtis saxophone styling of the young David Sanborn. His playing here is probably far more "earthy" than in some of his later, more pop inspired offerings. His presence alone is quite possibly worth the low price of this issue.

As one would expect from the personnel the other real plus lies in the guitarists. They are all at the top of their individual games and contribute on a high level. Tennyson Stephens has a strong voice as can be heard on titles such as "In Common". I am not sure about the version of "Ave Maria" it is perhaps a little too saccharine, but "Tell Me Something Good " by Stevie Wonder is outstanding. I would buy the other discs in this series first but this one is very pleasant easy listening.

Dick Stafford



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