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JAZZ SOUL SEVEN

Impressions Of Curtis Mayfield

BFM JAZZ 302 062 413 - 2

 

 

  1. Freddie's Dead

  2. It's All Right

  3. Move On Up

  4. We're A Winner

  5. Superfly

  6. Beautiful Brother Of Mine

  7. Check Out Your Mind

  8. I'm So Proud

  9. Keep On Pushing

  10. People Get Ready

  11. Gypsy Woman

  12. Amen

Wallace Roney - Trumpet

Ernie Watts - Saxophone

Phil Upchurch - Guitar

Russ Ferrante - Piano

Bob Hurst - Bass

Terri Lyne Carrington - Drums

Master Henry Gibson - Percussion

Curtis Mayfield was an American soul, R&B and funk singer-songwriter and guitarist. He was also a politically active African-American and his songs became anthems for the Civil Rights Movement of the late 1950s and the 1960s in the USA. Keep On Pushing and People Get Ready, written for his group, The Impressions, are examples. Both are to be found on this CD which is a tribute to Mayfield who died at the age of only 57 on Boxing Day 1999. The man and his music are celebrated here by an exceptional group of jazz musicians, assembled by the record's producer Brian Brinkerhall and the veteran guitarist Phil Upchurch. One member of the band, percussionist Master Henry Gibson, actually toured and played with Mayfield for seventeen years and so offers a real link with that era.

Every track offers pleasures in plenty for the listener. I'm So Proud has a lovely lilting tune in 6/8 time with lyrical performances, especially by Roney and Watts whose duet is one to cherish. Great stuff. Keep On Pushing (written by Curtis when he was only 13!) is in waltz time and flows wonderfully well, with excellent support for Roney and Watts from the rhythm section. People Get Ready is given gospel treatment by Russ Ferrante on piano, Roney leading on muted trumpet (straight out of the school of the great Miles Davis) and Watts responding with sensitivity.

These are just three examples of the quality which can be expected from the music on this CD which succeeds in combining superb individual solos with ensemble playing of a very high standard. So, on We're A Winner Terri Lyne Carrington (what a drummer!), Bob Hurst and Ferrante provide the context for trumpet, guitar and saxophone to shine. Check Out Your Mind also provides plenty of exposure for group members.

Enough already. Suffice to say that this disc is warmly recommended and though, of course, an instrumental album doesn't provide the opportunity to appreciate Curtis Mayfields lyrics, whether love songs or social justice anthems, his music receives a fitting tribute from the impressive Jazz Soul Seven.

James Poore



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