Wednesday, April 9, 2014

40 Year Itch: What the Purists Were Missing

    By April of 1974 Blue Note had released two albums that would challenge Herbie Hancock's Head Hunters for the top spot on the jazz charts. Trumpeter Donald Byrd's Street Lady, his follow-up to the smash hit Black Byrd, sounds like a groovy Blaxploitation soundtrack. There's even some wah wah guitar from David T Walker, who played on Jackson 5 hits. Harvey Mason, who played drums on Head Hunters, finds the pocket on every Street Lady cut. 

   But 1974 was the really the year of Jazz flautist Barbara Ann ("Bobbi") Humphrey whose Blacks and Blues ( also featuring Walker and Mason and Black Byrd brothers Larry and Fonce Mizell) has become a jazz funk classic. Bobbi Humphrey takes most of the solos on the album and that's just fine. She also sings Minnie Riperton-like on "Just a Love Child" and "Baby's Gone". A perfect soundtrack for sunny days.  

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