Curtis Mayfield's solo work and his work with the Impressions are highwater marks in popular music, representing the Chicago soul music constituency popular in the 1960s and '70s. His influence is yet to be fully realized or understood today, making his creative corpus a very tantalizing source of material for modern players. Jazz Soul Seven, an all-star septet under the erstwhile leadership leadership of drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, pays a fully-realized tribute to the music of Mayfield on Impressions of Curtis Mayfield.
This is the highest caliber of music made by the highest caliber of musicians. Arrangements are dense and funky, capturing well the essence of Mayfield's generous gift while constantly feeding new ideas and sound combinations for consideration. Mayfield's touchstone, "People Get Ready," offers a case in point. This piece could have been arranged in any number of ways, all being more than acceptable. But the arrangement allows pianist Russell Ferrante to play a skewed gospel vibe, one that does not fully resolve itself into traditional harmonies. He still manages to find the soul and funk supporting the other's solos. The effect is fresh. Trumpeter Wallace Roney's muted-bell is as sophisticated as tenor saxophonistErnie Watts's solo. Guitarist Phil Upchurch takes the band out on a wordy guitar note, after adding damped filigree to the song's interior. This is a most excellent cover of a most excellent song.
Track Listing: Freddie's Dead; It's All Right; Move On Up; We're a Winner; Superfly;
Beautiful Brother of Mine; Check Out Your Mind; I'm So Proud; Keep On
Pushing; People Get Ready; Gypsy Woman; Amen.
Personnel: Terri Lyne Carrington: drums; Russ Ferrante: piano; Master Henry Gibson:
percussion; Bob Hurst: bass; Wallace Roney: trumpet; Phil Upchurch:
guitar; Ernie Watts: saxophone.
The first jazz record I bought was Bill Evans' Sunday at the Village Vanguard. When I was in high school, I somehow stumbled
across the track My Man's Gone Now and was instantly transfixed. It was the most beautiful thing I'd ever heard. So I saved up
(times were hard for a teenager back then) and went out and bought the album.
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