Charles Earland: Black Drops (2002)
The ballad “Don’t Say Goodbye” bleeds off much of the intensity, but it retains the underlying funk thanks chiefly to Turner’s fluid beats. Parker’s ensuing Spanish-inflected solo serves as centerpiece, and it’s a statement that references more than a little early Santana in its fruition. Trane’s “Lazy Bird” offers a different tack and the band devours the hard bop staple in a manner faithful to the composer’s original reading on Blue Train. Heath is the center of attention throughout a melodically charged solo that sails above Earland’s fat comping. Jones brassy phrases follow suit and offer a crisp contrast. Funk returns at full muster on the Earland original “Letha” that sounds at once anthemic and groove-suffused. Counterpoint is king on this cut and the quick overlays and interplay are one of the most satisfying aspects of the entire album. Overall the feeling is more of a live concert than a studio date, testament to both Earland’s energy and his ability at inspiring his men to turn things up a notch. Acid jazz antiquarians are strongly advised to seek this album out.
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Track Listing: Sing a Simple Song/ Don
Personnel: Charles Earland- organ; Virgil Jones- trumpet; Jimmy Heath- tenor & soprano saxophones; Clayton Pruden- trombone; Maynard Parker- guitar; Jimmy Turner- drums. Recorded: June 1, 1970, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
Record Label: Prestige Records