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Well, I have always been a musical chameleon, and I have recently been diving back into musics I havent heard in 20 some years, since the Acid Jazz movement has been actively rediscovering these sounds from the 70s, as especially the Lonnie Liston Smith catalogue in this particular case.
I decided to write, from the standpoint that "LLS" is the grandfather, or trunk of the tree in which the Acid jazz sound is blossoming from.
a quick refresher history, JAZZ was DEAD commercially from mid 60s to late 70s--even in the "underground",many straight ahead musicians were pursuing the Afrocentric vision, the cry of freedom (and RIGHTFULLY SO) . A vision of a better tomorrow.
colorful african clothes and adornments ,
bells and chekere
conga and flute duets at the beach .
Chanting vocals and modal and/or abstract harmony was ruling the day, seemed almost every recording was "one 30 minute tune" per LP side,..even bebop musicos like Jackie McLean were taking this stance, and Trane of course was in the interstellar zone, etc etc etc.
The other angle, musicians as Roy Ayers, Gary Bartz,Roland Kirk, and for this review purposes, especially Lonnie Liston Smith were getting off "the wood" (acoustic piano) and hitting the beautiful sonorities of the fender Rhodes piano , and lesser extent , the Wurlitzer electric keyboards, and also some synthesisers sneak in. Funk soul groups like Earth,Wind And Fire were doing up the same sounds(EWF funk out version of Edu Lobo's classic baiao "Zanzibar", Kool and the Gang's "Summer Madness"(especially to hear them live, where they stretched out the chops a little), et al.
The sound was MUCH post McCoy Tyner piano, 4th harmony chords galore on the keys-
TOO MUCH soprano sax,(this instrument is suffering from OVEREXPOSURE as i am concerned..)
and more bells bells bells, and AfroCuban/Brasilian percussions, unearthly female choirs accompaniments, WOW.
Complex chord progressions were already replaced by "Miles Davisiana" modalism, even simpler forms of the 1 & 2 chord vamps displayed the musician's quest for texture over "cutting session" blowing solo style.
Lonnie Liston especially eschewed explorations running up/down the keys for the more "choose the right few notes" approach. LESS less less, was more it seemed on the Cosmic Echoes recordings.
Does this sum up the style of the times, and what you are again hearing, SPACEY , with hopeful(but today, sounding a bit naive) lyrics of universal peace(piece??? hehehe), love and brotherhood. John Lennon wasnt the only one givin peace a chance, was he?
Well, as relates to Acid jazz, the rhodes piano, the 2 chord vamps, the soulful imploring vocal style, this was the very sound that groups aspire to on the "modern recordings" in the Acid Jazz bag. Even more so, with sampling technique, does the musics become more simplified . The "goove", "massive" ,"dancefloor", this is the fraseology I always see/hear about in relationship to the neo-Cosmic explorers of the Acid Jazz spaceship.
So, this stuff sounds GOOD again. Im no Jazz snob, though I do like a level of musicianship to be on a "higher degree" of competence. Even if the musico chooses to play a less complicated style of music, I dig it if he /she can find their way around the respective instruments, this is an essay in itself! .
This recording--Donald Smith , (Lonnie's brother) he is a HELL of a singer, and his presence alone guarantees musical enjoyment.
If you are an aspiring musician lookin to "cop some chops", OR a "jaZZZ snob, this stop just wont be your beach!
If you like a nice groove, and some pretty chords, look no further! This is the place..