Marcus Miller – Suddenly (1983)

FrontCover1Suddenly is the first solo- album by Marcus Miller, released in 1983.

Multi-talented Marcus Miller’s debut Suddenly was issued in the spring of 1983 on Patrick Rains’ PRA Records label through Warner Bros. Miller shared production chores with Ray Bardani and Michael Colina, whom he’d worked with before on sides for David Sanborn.

It’s a tasty showcase for the bassist/songwriter/vocalist/producer who went from New York session stardom to mega-stardom with his frequent collaborator Luther Vandross. Vandross does vocals on “Lovin’ You,” “Just for You,” and the squishy “Be My Love.” The cornerstone cut is the gentle steppers favorite/quiet storm precursor “Much Too Much.”

The artist better realized his R&B/funk/jazz fusion on his 1984 Warner Bros. LP, Marcus Miller. (by Ed Hogan)


Dean Crandall (2-string bass)
Yogi Horton (drums)
Ralph MacDonald (percussion)
Mike Mainieri (vibraphone)
Harvey Mason (drums)
Marcus Miller (vocals, bass all instruments (other than noted below)
Nicky Moroch (guitar)
Lewis Paer (2-string bass)
David Sanborn (saxophone)
Buddy Williams (drums)
background vocals:
Yvonne Lewis – Luther Vandross – Tawatha Agee – Brenda White


01. Lovin’ You (Miller) 5.18
02. Much Too Much (Miller) 6.08
03. Suddenly (Miller/Ramsay) 5.29
04. Just For You (Miller) 3.56
05. The Only Reason I Live (Miller) 5.05
06. Just What I Needed (Miller) 4.54
07. Let Me Show You (Miller) 4.43
08. Be My Love (Miller/Vandross) 4.29
09. Could It Be You (Miller) 3.24




Black Pearl – Live ! (1970)

FrontCover1A year ago I wrote about Black Pearl, this awesome ass kickin´ band from California in the late Sixties:

“In the primordial tar pits of 1968, early flurries of metal mutation appeared out of California. Blue Cheer, Iron Butterfly and Black Pearl prophesied the world wide madness to come.” Lester Bangs (The Rolling Stone History of Rock & Roll)

Black Pearl was an early innovator of high energy, high volume, Rock and Roll now known as Heavy Metal. Based in Rhythm and Blues, Black Pearl with a 3 Guitar front, was unusual in that respect and stood alone with it’s R&B focus. Black Pearl disbanded in June 1969 shortly into it’s promotional tour with a sold out album to it’s credit totalling two charted albums.

“60’s band mentality was every gig was a Battle of the Bands. Our gang against yours. No Feed the World or Farm Aid shit. BP was an ass kickin band. A monster on the drums, the best guitar ever playing lead, a great rhythm section and BB who could get any crowd to its feet and women to remove their clothes. We were a gang and if you had a band we would kick your ass. And we did. Many times”.(Bruce Benson 2010)

FieldingA few days ago I got a “letter” fom Tom Mulcahy, the guitar player of Black Pearl (see comments). He wrote:

Hi, Thanks for the review of what became a rocket ride for a time with Black Pearl. Its as close to a real bio I have come across and most are looney. I was a fouding member () and have the website along with others from the band. Thanks again for the nice bio….We were nutty as fruitcakes and played as it came to us with no rehearsals but were skilled enough to pull it off. No one ever saw a dime. LOL

And this is their second and last album: A wild live recording and it´s my favorite Black Pearl Album: Hot & nasty, a funky performance with lot of Blues and Soul elements.

Black Pearl’s live album was recorded at the Fillmore West in San Francisco in 1968. The record starts off with a soulful song called Uptown before hitting the Blues with I Get The Blues Most Every Night. The flipside is what you really need to listen to however. First there’s a cover of James Brown’s Cold Sweat. The tune is played a little more laid back with a much loser arrangement than the original, and it’s strung out to around 11 minutes. The drummer also drops a nice and long drum break in the middle. The album ends with another extended rendition of People Get Ready. (by

The record was made to be played loud !


Bruce Benson (guitar)
Jerry Causi (bass)
Bernie “B. B.” Fieldings (vocals)
Geoff Morris (guitar)
Tommy Mulcahy (guitar)
Oak O’Connor (drums)


01. Uptown (Mabry) 4.42
02. I Get The Blues Most Every Night (Traditional) 5.39
03. Hermit Freak Show () 4.10
04. Cold Sweat (Ellis/Brown) 0.57
05. People Get Ready (Mayfield) 8.03





The linernotes

Various Artists – The Atlantic Family Live At Montreux (1978)

FrontCover1The Atlantic Family Live at Montreux is a live recording made at the 1977 Montreux Jazz Festival. It featured the Don Ellis Orchestra together with the Average White Band and guest musicians. It was originally released as a double album on vinyl.

This double LP was recorded at a series of concerts sponsored by Atlantic Records at the 1976 Montreux Jazz Festival. The mixture of jazz and R&B musicians is quite odd and sometimes stimualting. In addition to members of The Average White Band and soul singers Ben E. King and Luther Vandross, such players as tenor-saxophonist Michael Brecker, trumpeter Randy Brecker, altoist Sonny Fortune, flutist Herbie Mann, tenor-saxophonist David “Fathead” Newman and even trumpeter Don Ellis have their solos. It’s an odd but ultimately successful jam session, long out-of-print. (by Scott Yanow)

Luther Vandross with Ben E. King

Ben E. King with Luther Vandross

This album is a real oddity, but that’s part of what makes the session really interesting and worthwhile. Originally released as a double LP, this album was never rereleased, so consequently this is an album rip. Recorded at the 1977 Montreux Jazz Festival, this album is a session of all the artists at the festival that were signed to Atlantic Records at the time. It’s essentially a funk jam session with the horn players playing backgrounds and contributing extended solos over classic and original charts. The album notes refer to this idea as “the universal rhythm section,” an idea that ascribes the rhythm section as the foundation of the band in jazz and blues.


The album opens with “Bahia (Na Baixa Do Sapateiro)” (credited on other albums as Baía), a tune penned by Brazilian composer Ary Barroso in the 1930s famous for other tunes like “Brazil.” “Bahia” is a great showcase for the horns, which present a very rhythmic interpretation of the melody, and for the guitars, which interject soloistic lines at the ends of phrases. Randy and Michael Brecker currently signed to Atlantic with their funk outfit The Brecker Brother play extended solos over the heavily funky interpretation of a Brazilian classic.

David Newman +Don Ellis

David Newman +Don Ellis

“Jadoo” is an original penned by German saxophonist Klaus Doldinger, who at the time was leader of Passport, a German fusion group. “Jadoo” relies on heavily accented unison lines in the woodwinds with the Doldinger showing off his command of the altissimo range of his horn. Herbie Mann delivers a memorable solo on flute as does guitarist Jim Mullen. My personal favorite on the album is “Everything Must Change,” the only vocal track on the album. The track is a slow ballad with lead vocals being traded between Average White Band vocalist Hamish Stuart and Ben E. King. “Everything Must Change” is a great example of how suspensions and extended harmony can create the perfect balance of tension and release in a song. This track captures the conception of the album most of any track, as the rhythm section is really the driving rhythmic, harmonic force upon which everything is based exemplified by the rock solid bass line and the sweeping lines on the Fender Rhodes.

Herbie Mann

Herbie Mann

“McEwan’s Export” is a track written by Average White Band guitarist Alan Gorrie and recalls the aesthetic quality of their album Soul Searching released the previous year in 1976. This track is the kind of jam tune that made Average White Band famous. “One to One” is a very slimmed-down track with Average White Band only accompanied with a few soloists. The tune is a solo vehicle for tune author David Newman and fellow saxophonist Klaus Doldinger. “Pick Up the Pieces” closes the album and is probably the biggest highlight of the album showcasing not only the conception of the album, but also giving the horn players a great vehicle for some incredible solos.

Dick Morrissey + Sonny Fortune

Dick Morrissey + Sonny Fortune

While the tune is well-known by most people, the arranged horn sections that are inserted between solos give the tune a new vitality and a sense of identity. “Pick Up the Pieces” has the most strictly “jazz” solos presented by Don Ellis, Herbie Mann, and the Breckers. This album is a testament to the stark contrast of records released in the late 70s to the current times. The environment of that time period ripe for jazz-funk crossovers and artists willing to take the leap create an interesting albeit odd product (by

In other word: this is much more than a jam-session, this is an unbelieveable celebration of jazz-funk-rock …

Roger Ball (saxophone)
Rubens Bassini (percussion)
Michael Brecker (saxophone)
Randy Brecker (trumpet)
Rafael Cruz (percussion)
Klaus Doldinger (saxophone)
Molly Duncan (saxophone)
Don Ellis (trumpet)
Steve Ferrone (drums)
Sammy Figueroa (percussion)
Sonny Fortune (saxophone)
Alan Gorrie (bass)
Jaroslav Jakubovic (saxophone)
Alan Kaplan (trombone)
Ben E. King (vocals)
Herbie Mann (flute)
Onnie McIntyre (guitar)
Dick Morrissey (saxophone)
Jim Mullen (guitar)
David “Fathead” Newman (saxophone)
Gilman Rathel (trumpet)
Barry Rogers (trombone)
Lew Soloff (trumpet)
Hamish Stuart (guitar, bass)
Richard Tee (piano)
Background vocals:
Alfa Anderson – Diane Sumler – Diva Gray – Krystal Davis – Luther Vandross – Peter Cox – Robin Clark

01. Bahia (Na Baixa Do Sapateiro) (Barroso) 16.32
02. Jadoo (Doldinger) 10.34
03. Everything Must Change (Ighner) 6.21
04. McEwan’s Export (Gorrie) 8.58
05. One To One (Newman) (9:10)
06. Pick Up the Pieces (Ball/Stuart) 21.40


Alan Gorrie

Alan Gorrie

Bixiga 70 – Ocupai (2013)

FrontCover1One of today´s hippest gigs around town in São Paulo is the instrumental ten piece funk band Bixiga 70. With their genre-spanning mix of afro- beat, Guinean malinké, Brazilian candomblé, samba and cumbia, Bixiga 70 are a welcome addition to any party. Considered the spearhead of growing brazilian afro scene, the band shared the stage with major names like Jungle By Night, Woima Collective, Tony Allen, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Ebo Taylor and Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra. On their live – shows this band exposes high-octane break beats, tight afrobeat guitars, rolling congas, and an enormous horn section blasting at full-force throughout. No wonder that Bixiga 70 rose to become Brazil’s top name in retro-funky goodness.

BixigaLive»Bixiga 70 trades the seething midtempo of Afrobeat for the frantic momentum of Carnaval songs, and at times it tosses some salsa into the rhythm section.« (New York Times)

»their grooves are killer, and the arrangements are super-hip, combining brainy harmonies with cathartic energy« (MTV)

»bixiga what happens when you combine african beats, jazz and brazilian swing in a city as hectic as são paulo, where they’re from. (The Guardian)

Douglas Antunes (trombone)
Gustavo Cék (percussion)
Décio 7 (drums)
Marcelo Dworecki (bass)
Cuca Ferreira (saxophone/flute)
Mauricio Fleury (keyboards, guitar)
Daniel Gralha (trumpet)
Rômulo Nardes (percussion)
Daniel Nogueira (saxophone)
Cris Scabello (guitar)


01. Deixa A Gira Gira (Traditional) 6.15
02. Ocupai 3.25
03. Kalimba 4.22
04. 5 Esquinas 4.29
05. Kriptonita 5.32
06. Tigre 5.11
07. Tangará
08. Retirantes 5.29
09. Isa 3.09

All songs written by (except as indicated) Douglas Antunes – Gustavo Cék – Décio – Marcelo Dworecki – Cuca Ferreira – Mauricio Fleury – Daniel Gralha – Rômulo Nardes – Daniel Nogueira – Cris Scabello


Pee Wee Ellis – Live and Funky (2001)

FrontCover1 Pee Wee Ellis must have played with James Brown for 100 years, and when James called for a sax solo it was always, to the best of my knowledge, “Maceo”, and when the horn section finally decided to do something on their own it was “Fred Wesley, Maceo, and the J.B.’s”. And yet, if you listen to the tenor solo on “Chicken” on Maceo’s “Mo Roots”, the player takes Maceo and Fred out, way badder, in my opinion then these very bad dudes. The tenor man was James’ shadow man, Pee Wee Ellis. “Chicken” is a tune he wrote, he plays it again on this cd with the same results. He also plays a solo that is the essence of funk, the thing, dirty as you wanna be, down in the dirt, the stone cold funk, on “Pass the Peas”. His style is funky, black as James Brown, but, at the same time, with chromatic post bop extensions that distinguishes him from the more traditional players (including Fred and Maceo). So you’re funking along with the usual hard riffs, and then comes a flat nine and a sharp 13, and you’re over the top, doin it, briefly in the grey area between harmony and dissonance, pleasure and pain, the real deal, and then, back to the funk. Here’s the thing, it’s jazz and it’s funky and the setting is pure funk – this is the man to listen to to hear great funk sax. (by Will Flannery)

High quality funk and jazz, as ever, by Pee Wee and the band. Great choices of tracks, usual phenomenal musicality and technique displayed.

Recorded live during the US Tour in spring 2001

Pee Wee Ellis (saxophone, vocals)
Mick Gaffney (guitar)
Mike Hogan (guitar)
John Mader (drums)
Curtis Ohlson (bass)
Fred Ross (vocals)
Jimmy Smith (keyboards)
Fred Wesley (trombone, vocals)

01. Chicken (Ellis) 8.25
02. How I Depend On You (Williams) 4.09
03. Grandma’s Hands (Withers) 5.45
04. Pass The Peas (Brown/Starks/Bobbitt) 5.28
05. House Party (Wesley) 8.36
06. What’s Up With That (Ellis) 6.26
07. Cherry Red (Johnson/Turner) 5.58
08. Cold Sweat/Licking Stick Licking (Brown/Byrd/Ellis) 6.45
09. I Got The Feeling (Brown) 4.06
10. I Got You (I Feel Good) (Brown) 5.08


Pee Wee, Fred & Maceo – The J.B. Horns (1990)

FrontCover1This album was done around the time of the Great Re-emergence of Fred & Maceo, along with their former James Brown bandmate Pee Wee Ellis. After playing with other bands or taking time off since the demise of their former bands, or leaving them altogether, they reunited with a purpose. They unleashed a torrent of records, and their live shows are now legendary. By taking the name ‘JB Horns’, it shows their purpose here was to carry on the funky name of their leader.

The feel of this album is halfway between rockin’ funky party and mellow jazz club show. While the funkier cuts are reminiscient of their groovingest days with JB and Bootsy’s Rubber Band, most of the tracks are closer to the jazz that Fred and Maceo would play throughout the 90’s, particularly Fred. Fans of these horn players should definitely get this and the other JB Horns albums, as they tend to get a little funkier here than on their own later solo stuff. But be aware: this is not a hardcore funk album like their 60’s and 70’s stuff. If you’re not a fan of jazz, there may be huge sections of the album that you won’t like. But definitely check out the first four tracks–those are the funkiest.

PeeWee01“Sweet & Tangy” is a superfunky tune, with a funked-up guitar and bass driving along the groove. There are several great guitar solos and a horn line that hooks you immediately and takes you for a ride. The song’s title is quite apt. “Bumpin'” has a cool doubled-up guitar/bass intro that goes into the background but keep driving the song. The horns then rip shit up, that’s the best way to describe it. “Step On Your Watch” is a hilarious dance song with inspired singing from Fred. It also has those great Rubber Band-ish horn bursts. “Mother’s Kitchen” has some compelling chord progressions, pushing along a sense of urgency. Pee Wee is dominant and aggressive here, with Maceo & Fred taking mellower solos. “Everywhere Is…” is a mellow piece, going straight to a horn solo focus. “Strut” has some very ordinary rhythms but nice horn interaction. “We’re Rolling” is most notable for the interesting use of dissonance towards the end by the horns. “Let’s Play House” is a slow, hot funker with some doubled-up horn lines that create some excellent tension. “Blues A La LS” is a blues/jazz sax showcase for Pee Wee. “Frontal System” and “Slipstream” are both mellow, jazzy tunes. (Robert Clough)

Bryan Bassett (guitar)
Bob Greenlee (bass)
Dwight Champagne (vocals)
Pee Wee Ellis (saxophone, vocals)
Yvonne Jackson (vocals)
Ernie Lancaster (guitar)
Maceo Parker (saxophone, vocals)
Jim Payne (drums)
Mark Puricelli (keyboards)
Fred Wesley (trombone, vocals)
01. Sweet And Tangy (Ellis/Parker/Wesley/Payne/Greenlee) 4.55
02. Bumpin’ )Wesley) 3.14
03. Step On Your Watch, Part II (Payne/Wesley/Jaffe/Anderson) 3.25
04. Mother’s Kitchen (Ellis/Parker/Wesley/Payne/Greenlee) 5.56
05. Everywhere Is Out Of Town (Ellis/Parker/Wesley/Payne/Greenlee) 4.58
06. Strut (Ellis) 4.07
07. We’re Rollin’ (Wesley) 4.30
08. Let’s Play House (Ellis/Parker/Wesley/Payne/Greenlee) 3.55
09. Blues A’ La L.S. (Ellis/Parker/Wesley/Payne/Greenlee) 5.15
10. Frontal System (Ellis/Parker/Wesley/Payne/Greenlee) 5.21
11. Slipstream (Puricelli) 5.05


Candy Dulfer – Saxuality (1990)

FrontCover1Dutch smooth jazz saxophonist Candy Dulfer’s debut album, 1990’s Saxuality, made a splash both critically and commercially upon its release and helped propel her to global stardom. The daughter of saxophonist Hans Dulfer, Candy Dulfer had performed since she was an adolescent and by her early twenties was opening for Madonna and Prince. Saxuality builds upon these experiences with productions from multi-instrumentalist Ulco Bed that are equal parts Prince, David Sanborn, and ’80s Miles Davis. Although Dulfer’s slick approach here fits squarely in the pop-jazz vein, she was inspired early on in her career by such players as Sonny Rollins and Maceo Parker. Consequently, these influences help make Saxuality a more funky and engaging listen than many similar albums of the time. While not exactly innovative, Bed’s mix of programmed beats and synths next to actual instruments was fairly inspired and the album works as a bridge between the club-oriented acid jazz coming out of Europe in the late ’80s and the radio-friendly smooth jazz of American artists like George Benson and Spyro Gyra. Not only did Saxuality perform well for Dulfer, selling well over a million copies worldwide, but it also garnered a Grammy Award nomination for Best Contemporary Jazz Album. ( by Matt Collar)


Ulco Bed (guitar, keyboards, bass, drum programming, vocals)
Candy Dulfer (saxophone, vocals. keyboards)
Fred Anindjola (keyboards on 08.)
Patricia Balrak (background vocals on 10.)
Franklin Batta (vocals on 09.)
Bobby Van De Bergh (keyboards on 09. + 10.)
Ben Herman (saxophone on 09.)
Wies Ingwersen (background vocals on 05. + 10.)
Hugh Kanza (background vocals on 10.)
Martino Latupeirissa (percussion on 07., 08., 09.)
Edwin Rath (drums on 03., 08.)
Michel Van Schie (bass on 05., 06., 09., 10.)
Dimitri Veltkamp (bass on 03., 07., 08.)

01. Pee Wee (Bed) 3.45
02. Saxuality (Bed/Dulfer) 4.27
03. So What (Davis) 4.54
04. Jazzid (Bed/Dulfer) 4.21
05. Heavenly City (Bed/Dulfer) 6.03
06. Donja (Bed) 5.17
07. There Goes The Neighbourhood (Bed) 3.55
08. Mr. Lee (Bed) 4.52
09. Get The Funk (Bed) 4.16
10. Home Is Not A House H.F.Dulfer/Batta) 4.10