STYLE: Jazz RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 21647-CAS96 LABEL: Brentwood 5343 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
I grew up in a home where a love of jazz, from Louis to Parker, was almost ingrained into me but it was when I made my pitch to become a 60s/70s soul boy that I really took jazz on board when labels like Kudu and Blue Note became platforms for jazzmen who fused R&B and rock to jazz to produce that hybrid form fusion. This album is an excellent example of fusion jazz which hasn't changed much in feel or texture since those pioneering days with Herbie Hancock, Donald Byrd and Grover Washington. In fact it's the latter that Mr Levine often sounds like, Sam having the same sinuously bluesy tone as Washington as switches from alto, to soprano, to tenor sax over an excellent rhythm section assembled by the always dependable Jack Jezzro. Sam glides through numbers "God Of Abraham" and Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready". Even a cringe-worthy number like Louis' "What A Wonderful World" is worth a listen. There are some vocals here too. Guests Paula Chavis and, get this, acappella-specialists and venerable Nashville gentlemen The Fairfield Four take a turn at the vocal mikes. I know at least one gospel quartet purist who'll detest the idea of the Fairfields on a jazz album but I loved their contribution. Forget all your prejudices about fusion jazz being suitable for yuppies and airport lounges, this is, in its own way, a fine album.
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