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Bebop Spoken There

Dave Gelly: “From 1 January 1920, when prohibition was imposed in the US, people didn’t stop drinking, they just stopped drinking legally.” – (Jazz Journal October 2017).

Regina Carter: “When I was a teenager, I would daydream about going out on a date and dancing to Ella’s music.” (Down Beat October 2017).

Bebop Spoken Here on hold

As of tonight (November 15) at 21:00 hrs, this site will be temporarily on hold to allow for essential executive maintenance. Some minor activity may be possible during this period and we hope to have normal service resumed as soon as possible.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
Lance

Monday, August 21, 2017

CD Review: Power of Peace by the Isley Brothers and Santana.

(Review by Steve T)
 Jazz is an ocean. Rock and roll is a swimming pool. I hang out on a lake. Carlos Santana, Guardian 2000.

(ST: For anybody who doesn't follow such things, when somebody like Carlos talks about rock and roll, he doesn't mean Elvis, Chuck and Little, but boy bands with guitars, generally British, and I'd stick them in a puddle.)

The album combines one of the greatest ever rock bands and one of the greatest ever soul bands, and to extend Carlos' metaphor once more, soul music is a well: it's deep, underground, hard to find, hard to get, but sustains life.
Santana has been very close to jazz throughout his almost half-century, and has played with Alice Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Tony Williams, Alphonso Johnson, John McLaughlin and others.
Sadly, the album doesn't live up to its promise, but when you consider these bands peaked between the late sixties and early eighties, perhaps no great surprise.
Ronald Isley has been one of the most distinctive, soulful vocalists in music but is not the singer he was in the seventies, eighties, sixties, fifties, nineties or noughties.
Carlos and Ernie are two of the great post-Hendrix guitarists, but Ernie is relegated to that of a guest, with Carlos going through his regular traits, motifs and, I'm afraid, clichés. When he recorded a tribute album to John Coltrane with John McLaughlin, it was always possible to distinguish between the dexterity of the latter and the tenderness of Carlos, who Clapton once described as 'the most soulful guitarist of us all'.
Hendrix was a former guitarist with the Isley Brothers and had a massive influence on a young Ernie, and seeing him down on his knees playing Summer Breeze with his teeth was a highlight of my life. Sadly, Funkadelics’ Eddie Hazell is generally considered the great funk guitarist, but Ernie is every bit as good but under-rated these days.  
There are some interesting choices on the album, like Swamp Doggs’ Total Destruction of Your Mind. Swamp Dogg operates on the margins of soul, like a Sun Ra, Captain Beefheart or Tom Waits and, like his fellow jazz and rock weirdos, people like the idea of him as much as the music, and no bad thing either.
A beefed up, rocked up, funked up version of Stevie Wonders Higher Ground features the inevitable rap, a genre both groups have utilised in the past, and here it works helping make this the strongest track on the set.
Gypsy Woman was the first Impressions’ hit to be written and sung by a young Curtis Mayfield back in 1961. Here they seem to take Womack’s mid-eighties rendition as a starting point and take it a step or two further, but it doesn't really work. 
I Just Want To Make Love To You by Willie Dixon, who wrote almost all the Chicago Blues Classics, takes Muddy Waters psychedelic version, and is equally unsuccessful.
Carlos decided to record with Ronald when he heard the singer doing Bacharach/David songs 'making the listener hear familiar lyrics almost as if for the first time', and this songwriting pair are likely to become even more covered moving forward. However, they fail to bring anything new to What The World Needs Now Is Love Sweet Love, lightweight even by the twee standard of pop music at the time, so some tasteful selecting and valid reinterpretation needs to be made.
Ronald Isley is one of the few singers who could have taken on Mercy Mercy Me, which closes side one (cassette, vinyl) of Marvin Gaye’s masterpiece, but not any longer. This version loses the What's Going On melody which sends a shiver through every soul fan but retains the doomsday coda.
God Bless the Child and Let the Rain Fall on Me are two stabs at Jazz and the latter is much jazzier and works much better.
Not even a missed opportunity; that would have been forty years ago. But if it puts both names back on social/media, some may go out and buy the Latin flavoured Abraxis or the jazz-rock of Caravanserai, both constant features of Sanata. Or albums by the Isleys, starting with 3+3 which formally added Ernie; an album which changed my life twice, and is the sort of album that makes you realise how just how ridiculous these silly lists of glorified pop records are.
Steve T.
Ronald Isley, Cindy Blackman Santana (vocals), Carlos Santana, Ernie Isley (guitars).
Featuring: Greg Phillinganes, Benny Rietveld, Tommy Anthony, Karl Perazzo, David Mathews, Kandy and Tracey Isley, Kimberly Johnson, Andy Vargos, Eddie Levert, Charles Boomer, Cornell Carter, Jim Reitzel.

1 comment :

Joe said...

Totally agree. The Isleys have never been the same since the breakup in 1983 that spawned the spinoff group of Ernie Isley, Chris Jasper and Marvin Isley. The Isleys could no longer write and record their own music. Once the Isley Jasper Isley trio ended, Ernie went back to Ron but the Isley sound continued on with Chris Jasper, who has released about fourteen albums of new music to date, all written and recorded by Jasper. If they were released as Isley Brothers albums, the gold and platinum albums would have continued for the Isleys until today. But Ron has had to depend on others to put out an Isley Brothers album, like Winbush and R. Kelly, and in this case, an Isleys/Santana album.

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About this blog - contact details.

Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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