So CTI Records has been celebrating its 40th Anniversary via Sony Masterworks Jazz. We’ve got the final wave of their re-releases here. Here’s what they have to say for themselves:
While often compared to Nina Simone, Esther Phillips‘ idiosyncratic vocal style and her ability to sing in a wide range of styles from blues and jazz to straight-up pop and disco, established her as a unique talent. The lush orchestrations heard on Performance feature a backup band consisting of a veritable who’s who of â€˜70s jazz artists including Bob James, John Faddis, Hubert Laws, Bernard Purdie and Steve Gadd. Edgier than some of her other CTI/Kudu releases, Performance shows Phillips at her most soulful and at the peak of her vocal powers. Available for the first time on CD, Performance includes “Mr. Bojangles” as a bonus track.
“With an unmistakable blues wail, full of emotion and poignancy, altoist Hank Crawford bridges the gap between that tradition and that of jazz more completely than any other living horn player,” writes Thom Jurek in All Music Guide (Crawford passed away in 2009). Taking its title from Stevie Wonder’s timeless hit, Don’t You Worry â€˜Bout A Thing features artists emerging from their years as straight-ahead jazz practitioners. Hank Crawford and crew create their own special mix of funk and soul and apply it to popular hits as well as original compositions with a jazz fusion bent. Don’t You Worry â€˜Bout A Thing is available on CD for the first time.
The title of organist Johnny Hammond’s second CTI/Kudu outing is a dead giveaway. Combining the names of The Rolling Stones’ classic “Wild Horses” and Aretha Franklin‘s “Rock Steady” gives a good glimpse into the eclectic nature of this release even before the first notes of the recording are heard. Hammond and an incomparable band of sidemen (including Grover Washingtion, Jr., Ron Carter and Billy Cobham among many others) take on standards from the pop world as well as pop-based Broadway show tunes “Who is Sylvia” from Galt MacDermot’s Two Gentleman of Verona and “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” from Jesus Christ Superstar, all with a jazz/soul/funk groove that is as unique as it is unmistakable. Wild Horses Rock Steady is available for the first time ever on CD.
“The doctor of groove,” as Lonnie Smith refers to himself, is most definitely in session on Mama Wailer, Smith’s only CTI release that is available for the first time on CD. While known as a master of the Hammond B-3 organ, the title track features Smith on clavinet. A distinct departure from the fat sound of the B-3, Smith manages to make this electronic keyboard lay down a strong feeling of urban funk. Half of the album is made up of original compositions â€“ the title track and “Hola Muneca” â€“ the other half covers tracks popular from the time of the recording sessions – Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend” and Sly and The Family Stone’s “Stand.” Several of the usual suspects from the CTI stable of sidemen – Grover Washington, Jr., Billy Cobham and Airto Moreira â€“ make an appearance on some or all of the tracks.
I love that “available on CD for the first time” bit. Anyway, yes, we have a set of all four to give away. Want to win them? Excellent. Here’s how that happens: you enter using the form below. Remember you can enter once a day. If we draw your name when the contest ends, you snag it! Good luck!
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