Jazz Funk 40 SELECTION. March to July 1979.
BBC Radio London Saturday Show
Here a selection of tracks from the Jazz Funk 40 feature on the Saturday shows.
Joe Sample – Sunrise
Lonnie Smith – Sweet Honey Wine
Heath Brothers – A Time A Place
Spyro Gyra – Morning Dance
Cedar Walton – Another Star
Tom Browne – Herbal Scent
Hubert Laws – Chicago Theme
Herbie Hancock – Trust Me
B Baker – Snow Blower
Jimmy Ponder – Love Me Right
Steve Khan – Darlin Darlin Baby
Wilbert Longmire – Diana’s Dilemma
Richard Evans – Burning Spear
Eric Gale – Ginseng Woman
Ramsey Lewis – Every Chance I Get
Grover Washington Jr – Mr Magic
Lonnie Liston Smith – Expansions
Joe Thomas – Sugar Smack
About some of the artists.
Lonnie Smith – often confused with Lonnie Liston Smith – is a former member of the George Benson jazz quartet. A real funky organ player who shows his more gentle side on Sweet Honey Wine from the 1978 album Gotcha. Still sounds great and has stood the test of time.
Sax player Jimmy and bassist Percy Heath were real brothers with a straight ahead jazz background. Jimmy’s son – Mr Juicy Fruit hit maker Mtume often played percussion on live gigs and recordings.
Who would of thought that the track (There’s) Time And A Place, played on one of my 1979 Jazz Funk 40’s would end up in 2012 on the sound track of cult movie Pulp Fiction. It came from their album In Motion. Another recording, Dreaming from 1981, written by Mtume and his Dad remained a big favourite on my radio shows over the decades.
Black Is The Colour was a huge dance floor jazz dancer for Wilbert Longmire in the 70’s. From the jazz funk 40 selection, his Diane’s Dilemma on the 1979 album Champagne was written by Bob James. On Bob’s own Tappen Zee label, this track featured Harvey Mason on drums replaced on other tracks by Idris Muhammad.
The Tappan Zee label was fertile ground for musical movers and shakers. Bob James used a group of highly talented players, more often than not with solid roots in jazz. Steve Khan is a good example and through him, we can track the development of huge chunks of jazzy rhythms, soul, r&b, and jazz fusion of all kinds.
The son of Oscar winning lyricist Sammy Cahn he would have found it difficult to avoid a musical career. Sammy and partner wrote scores of hits like Come Fly With Me for Frank Sinatra show time greats Love and Marriage, High Hopes and Let It Snow.
On Steve’s 1977 Tappan Zee album The Tight Rope a fabulous version of the big O’Jays hit Darlin’ Darlin’ Baby. Khans guitar playing style suited this version perfectly. It took some persuading from producer Bob James to get Steve to record it.
On this one track were great players like the Brecker Brothers, David Sanborn on alto sax and Ralph MacDonald percussion. Steve Khan had already joined fellow guitarist Lee Ritenour as session men on Steely Dans’ hit album Aja. Throughout his career, he kept bumping into fellow Wes Montgomery fan Larry Coryell. Montgomery a pioneering jazz guitarist and a real hero to many musicians.
If your music collection contains the Brothers Johnson album Blam, you will find Steve Khan in action too. He meets up with the Brecker Brothers again on the 1980 Chaka Khan album Naughty with Luther Vandross on backing vocals.
Music from Grover Washington Jr, Ashford and Simpson and Lou Rawls were also blessed with some fine Steve Khan playing.
In 1998 twenty years after Blam hello Brecker Brothers its session time again. Album – Turn The Music Up from the Players Association. Got that one then?
Thanks to C90 cassettes and the patience of long time listener Andy Hardy from St Albans, I will have some more selections from the jazz funk 40 to test your memory soon. Watch this blog.