The Public Records 5/31/18
Woosh! It’s swampy out there. This humidity is really getting me excited for those dog day afternoons of July and August; so to celebrate, we picked a nice and sweaty album to help you stick to the back of your favorite chair.
The Public Records proudly presents it’s May 31st, 20018 album of the week: Idris Muhammad’s ‘Power Of Soul’ (Kudu, 1974). Another gem from the Frank Reeser collection featuring Grover Washington, Jr., Gary King, Joe Beck, Bob James, Ralph MacDonald, and Randy Brecker.
Idris was born Leo Morris in New Orleans and was most noted for being a jazz drummer. However, before his conversion to Islam and subsequent name change, he got his start as a percussionist with Fats Domino on his recording of ‘Blueberry Hill’ – while still only in his teens! Throughout the 1950s and early 60s, he worked with many R&B artists. Touring with Sam Cooke and collaborating with Curtis Mayfield is a very impressive resume for a young fellow. In later years, groups including The Beastie Boys and Tribe Called Quest sampled his work.
In the mid-sixties, he converted and changed his name. He also began working more and more in the field of jazz and by the 1970s he had struck out on his own as a solo artist. ‘Power Of Soul’ is his third solo album, his first on the Kudu label, and his most critically acclaimed.
The line up he is working with is incredible and this is noticed with the title track which also happens to be the opener as well. ‘Power Of Soul’ is dripping with funk; you keep waiting for the storm to break but the heaviness never leaves the air. The bass is fat, the horns and guitar wet, the keys ominous, with Idris and Ralph right there to keep it clipping along.
Knowing that we can only stay underwater for so long, Muhammad brings up for air on A2 with ‘Piece Of Mind’. Lighter, brassier, and tighter than its predecessor, this track is a soothing little number. The storm has broken, the rain comes tumbling; giving us the respite from sultry opening with a refreshingly crisp piece.
The B side hits with The Saddest Thing. A light, Latinesque number that Bob James arranged. Gone is balm from the air. An airy breeze welcomes us to the flip side, but only momentarily. B2 ‘Loran’s Dance’ – a 10 and half minute swamp romp brings back the moist in a most smooth manner. When it was released in 1974, this track got considerable airplay on jazz radio stations. It is an unhasty taste of thick air with the horn section moving you all over the place and barely audible grunts of agreement and directions being voiced.
All in all this is a perfect album for this room in this weather best to be enjoyed with a Tanquer G&T with lime.
We’ll see you Friday.