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Various Artists: Innerpeace: Rare Spiritual Funk And Jazz Gems

Chris May By

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It took a few years for producer Bob Shad's newly formed Mainstream Records to nail its direction in the 1960s. A less than auspicious start was releasing the first singles by the latter-day Trump-boosting halfwit Ted Nugent. A better move, given hindsight, was releasing the debut album by Janis Joplin's Big Brother & The Holding Company. But by the end of the decade, Mainstream had hit its stride as a platform for jazz—in particular freedom jazz / spiritual jazz, with which it took its place in the sun alongside Stanley Cowell and Charles Tolliver's Strata-East, Bob Thiele's Impulse! and Joe Fields' Muse.

Ostinato driven and Fender Rhodes drenched, Innerpeace: Rare Spiritual Funk And Jazz Gems / The Supreme Sound Of Producer Bob Shad cherry picks tracks from eleven Mainstream albums, some by established hard-bop musicians stretching out into funk-infused jazz, others by younger players who cut their teeth in the soul-jazz groove. The albums are the cover shot's Hadley Caliman's Hadley Caliman, Dave Hubbard's Dave Hubbard, Sonny Red's Sonny Red (all 1971), Harold Land's Damisi, Roy Haynes' Senyah, Charles D. Williams' Stickball, Buddy Terry's Lean On Him, Pete Yellin's Dance Of Allegra, LaMont Johnson's Sun, Moon And Stars (all 1972), Shelly Manne's Mannekind (1973) and Frank Foster's The Loud Majority (1974). The majority of the tracks are up-tempo and assertive, but the flute-led "Mebakusk" (Pete Yellin) and "Love Song" (Sonny Red) provide relatively chilled-out contrasts.

Band personnels include trumpeters Cecil Bridgewater, Eddie Henderson and Oscar Brashear, keyboard players Bill Henderson, Jan Hammer and Larry Willis, drummers and percussionists James Mtume, Lawrence Killian and Elvin Jones, and bassists Cecil McBee and Buster Williams. Most of the bandleaders are saxophonists and flautists, so there are fewer supporting reed-players, but the list includes David 'Bubba' Brooks and Frank Wess. 'Nuff said?

The albums Innerpeace is drawn from are as rare as hen's teeth in 2018. The closest most listeners will have got to them will be samples on discs by hip hoppers such as De La Soul. Which makes this outstanding 67-minute compilation doubly welcome. Also not to be missed: WeWantSounds' reissue of Buddy Terry's Mainstream debut, Awareness (1971), previously reviewed here.

Track Listing: In The Back, In The Corner, In The Dark (Harold Land); Senyah (Roy Haynes); Iron Jaws (Charles Williams); Inner Peace (Buddy Terry); Cigar Eddie (Hadley Caliman); Requiem For Dusty (Frank Foster); Mebakush (Pete Yellin); B.C. (Dave Hubbard); Love Song (Sonny Red); Libra’s Longing (LaMont Johnson); Infinity (Shelley Manne).

Personnel: Bands led by: Harold Land, Roy Haynes, Charles Williams, Buddy Terry, Hadley Caliman, Frank Foster, Pete Yellin, Dave Hubbard, Sonny Red, LaMont Johnson, Shelley Manne.

Title: Innerpeace: Rare Spiritual Funk And Jazz Gems | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: WEWANTSOUNDS

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