Thursday, December 9, 2010

Patrice Rushen: Prelusion (1974) + Before the Dawn (1975)

The lineup features the top jazz/fusion artists at the time (Bob James, Dave Grusin, Lee Ritenour, George Benson and other fusion heavyweights) so it has a mix of R&B, funk and jazz. The disco-funk songs are bearable but the most of the lyrics lower them down to the level of mindless, shake-yo-booty type grooves. The instrumental cuts and level of top-notch musicianship are what keeps this album from becoming just another pop-jazz outing that I would have given only two stars.
But I'll still give this album four stars simply because "What's Goin' On". This one cut alone is worth a extra star. This version features the same tight rhythm section featured on George Benson's "Breezin'" and "In Flight" albums. Although the song is supposed to be a somber tune, Harvey Mason's arrangement turns into an upbeat, finger-snapping joy. Harvey is kind enough to let George and Jorge do their thing while he sits back and keeps a solid groove going. I dare say that this song was probably intended for a George Benson album but was dropped for some reason or another. Regardless, this is the best remake of the old Marvin Gaye classic.
In any case; it's certainly worth checking out. -- (
01. Shortie's Portion (8:42)
02. 7/73 (12:32)
03. Haw-Right Now (8:00)
04. Traverse (10:53)
05. Kickin' Back (7:35)
06. What's The Story (5:15)
07. Jubilation (5:58)
08. Before The Dawn (8:18)
09. Razzia (9:41)
Patrice Rushen - keyboards, tambourine, cabasa
Joe Henderson - tenor saxophone
George Bohanon - trombone
Oscar Brashear - trumpet, flugelhorn
Hubert Laws - flute
Hadley Caliman - flute, alto flute, soprano saxophone
Lee Ritenour - guitar
Charles Meeks & Tony Dumas - bass
Harvey Mason & Leon "Ndugu" Chancler - drums
Nate Alfred & Kenneth Nash - percussion
Josie James - vocals on What's The Story
Prelusion / Before the Dawn
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