JAZZ SOUL SEVEN, IMPRESSIONS OF CURTIS MAYFIELD

Curtis Mayfield has been gone since 1999, but his legacy and recordings continue to enrich listeners and the imagination of present day musicians. Mayfield was a resilient artist who could look at the injustices that rocked the ‘60s and ‘70s and translate it into a defiant mix of gospel and funk that comforted as well. "Impressions Of Curtis Mayfield" (BFM Jazz) is a high-spirited celebration underscored by a fabulous band of heavy hitters led by the unsung guitarist and co-producer Phil Upchurch that includes drummer Terri Lynn Carrington, pianist Russ Ferrante (Yellowjackets), bassist Robert Hurst, trumpeter Wallace Roney, saxophonist Ernie Watts and percussionist Master Henry Gibson who, significantly, played on Mayfield’s Superfly soundtrack and with him in concert for 17 years. Hits that Mayfield had with The Impressions (“Gypsy Woman,” “Check Out Your Mind”) and his own solo projects (“Freddie’s Dead,” “Keep On Pushing” and “People Get Ready”) get bouncing workouts that trigger involuntary head bobbing. Upchurch sets the crisp tempo on “It’s Alright,” one of Mayfield’s most optimistic tunes, and his arrangements give it and “We’re A Winner” a deep, gliding funk. This all-star jazz effort works and yes, their cover of “Superfly” is grandly nostalgic and boasts a groove that bassist Hurst owns. (12 tracks; 74:04 minutes) 

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JAZZ IN SPACE: JAZZ SOUL SEVEN, IMPRESSIONS OF CURTIS MAYFIELD

Saturday, June 30, 2012

JAZZ SOUL SEVEN, IMPRESSIONS OF CURTIS MAYFIELD

Curtis Mayfield has been gone since 1999, but his legacy and recordings continue to enrich listeners and the imagination of present day musicians. Mayfield was a resilient artist who could look at the injustices that rocked the ‘60s and ‘70s and translate it into a defiant mix of gospel and funk that comforted as well. "Impressions Of Curtis Mayfield" (BFM Jazz) is a high-spirited celebration underscored by a fabulous band of heavy hitters led by the unsung guitarist and co-producer Phil Upchurch that includes drummer Terri Lynn Carrington, pianist Russ Ferrante (Yellowjackets), bassist Robert Hurst, trumpeter Wallace Roney, saxophonist Ernie Watts and percussionist Master Henry Gibson who, significantly, played on Mayfield’s Superfly soundtrack and with him in concert for 17 years. Hits that Mayfield had with The Impressions (“Gypsy Woman,” “Check Out Your Mind”) and his own solo projects (“Freddie’s Dead,” “Keep On Pushing” and “People Get Ready”) get bouncing workouts that trigger involuntary head bobbing. Upchurch sets the crisp tempo on “It’s Alright,” one of Mayfield’s most optimistic tunes, and his arrangements give it and “We’re A Winner” a deep, gliding funk. This all-star jazz effort works and yes, their cover of “Superfly” is grandly nostalgic and boasts a groove that bassist Hurst owns. (12 tracks; 74:04 minutes) 

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