Calvin, best known for his work with Ray Charles and Aahmad Jamal, returns with his first solo album in seven years. On 'Electric Keys' Calvin adeptly navigates straight ahead, Funk, and Blues, all the while maintaining the quintessential Calvin touch for which he is well-respected. Soul jazz is alive and well. With a sound that updates Wes Montgomery‘s fluid lines and combines that style with a head-nodding groove that will be familiar to fans of boogaloo revivalists such as The New Mastersounds and Soulive, Keys is in fact the real deal. Having cut his teeth as an able sideman to the likes of Ahmad Jamal and Jimmy Smith, Keys’ career releasing albums under his own name only began in earnest relatively recently; though 1997’s Standard Keys was his fifth album, the previous four were released across a span of some sixteen years.
FIRST CHOICE, a female vocal trio hailing from Philadelphia, spent much of the 1970s signed to Philly Groove Records under the management of legendary Salsoul guitarist, songwriter and producer, Norman Harris. They released a string of hits throughout the mid to late 70s, the most prominent of which has to be their 1977 hit, Let No Man Put Asunder from the album Delusions which has almost 50 samples to its name, not including the countless samples of the 1983 Frankie Knuckles and Shep Pettibone remixes.
Albert King recorded a lot in the early '60s, including some classic sides, but they never quite hit the mark. They never gained a large audience, nor did they really capture the ferocity of his single-string leads. Then he signed with Stax in 1966 and recorded a number of sessions with the house band, Booker T. & the MG's, and everything just clicked. The MG's gave King supple Southern support, providing an excellent contrast to his tightly wound lead guitar, allowing to him to unleash a torrent of blistering guitar runs that were profoundly influential, not just in blues, but in rock & roll (witness Eric Clapton's unabashed copping of King throughout Cream's Disraeli Gears)…
In 2013, Funky Town Grooves reissued a significant portion of Norman Connors' discography as a leader slash highly connected talent organizer. Along with straightforward Dance of Magic/Dark of Light and You Are My Starship/Aquarian Dream two-for-one releases, as well as individualized bonus-track-enhanced reissues of Invitation and Take It to the Limit, there was this - a pairing of Connors' 1974 Buddah dates. Among the highlights: a gorgeous eight-minute "Love from the Sun," a storming version of Carlos Garnett's "Mother of the Future" (with Jean Carn at full, jaw-dropping power), and Reggie Lucas' funky instrumental "Slew Foot."
Gwen McCrae, a gutsy soul singer in the southern style and initially influenced by such leading lights of the soul world as Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin, is known best for her 1975 R&B #1 Rockin Chair . Having married George Rock Your Baby McCrae after a whirlwind romance in 1963 the couple became a vocal duo and were discovered by influential singer/producer Betty Wright in the late 60s.
Robert "Bob" Hurst's 2013 album Bob: A Palindrome follows up the bassist's 2010 studio album Bob Ya Head. Recorded in 2001, the album's release was delayed by 9/11, as well as Hurst's own busy career as a highly sought-after sideman and professor of music at the University of Michigan. Joining Hurst here are such longtime associates as saxophonist Branford Marsalis, drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts, trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, flutist and bass clarinetist Bennie Maupin, pianist Robert Glasper, and percussionist Adam Rudolph. With all the songs composed and arranged by Hurst, including the epic mid-album Duke Ellington-style three-part "Middle Passage Suite," Bob: A Palindrome is a superb showcase for Hurst's improvisational skill, songwriting ability, and talent for assembling an all-star band. This is urbane, highly creative, and straight-ahead modern jazz at its finest.
Digitally re-mastered edition of this 1976 release, the 12th album from the enigmatic singer/songwriter. Shawn Phillips has recorded 20 albums and worked with musicians including Donovan, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Bernie Taupin and many others. Shawn's seminal release was Second Contribution, but Rumplestiltskin's Resolve is rated by the fans as the high point in his musical career. In the 1960's, Phillips played on several Donovan albums, performed at the Isle of Wight festival, sang on the Beatles' "Lovely Rita", and was cast to play the lead in the original production of Jesus Christ Superstar (he had to withdraw due to his heavy recording and touring schedule).