Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Lonnie Liston Smith - Cosmic Funk

This one is packed with classic tracks and is probably Smith's best record of them all. He wasn't quite discoed-out yet and he was fresh off of his traditional jazz runnings, so this record hits a very comfortable middle ground for fusion heads as well as those more tuned into smooth jazz. An incredible record that doesn't get anywhere near enough props as it should for helping define the fusion movement of the early 70s. - by Scott Woods, Amazon.com

As Dean Rudland points out in Ace's 2014 reissue of Lonnie Liston Smith's 1974 set Cosmic Funk, Smith himself views this LP as a transitional effort, capturing him between his pioneering work with Miles Davis' electric group and the exploratory Expansions. This suggests it perhaps isn't a cohesive album and, true enough, it's a record where the good ideas are sometimes suggested rather than developed. Much of the record showcases the smooth vocal stylings of Smith's brother Donald, who leads on a vocal version of John Coltrane's "Naima," lends a bit of a supper club vibe to "Beautiful Woman," croons through "Peaceful Ones," and dives into the thick, overlapping grooves of the title track. That opening song is one of the few tracks that emphasizes funk, otherwise the cosmic reigns, as the group usually getting spacy all the while never quite leaving the earth. Although the group is quite lively on a relatively straight-ahead reading of Wayne Shorter's "Footprints," the album is distinguished by the spaces that lie between funk and bop, the periods where Smith and company start to float, then pull themselves back. - by Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AMG

Artist: Lonnie Liston Smith & The Cosmic Echoes
Album: Cosmic Funk
Year: 1974 (Flying Dutchman Records)
Label: RCA Viktor (1993)
Runtime: 36:09
Recorded at the RCA Recording Studios, New York in April, 1974.

Tracks:
1.  Cosmic Funk (Lonnie Liston Smith) 5:39
2.  Footprints (Wayne Shorter) 6:11
3.  Beautiful Woman (Lonnie Liston Smith) 6:58
4.  Sais (Egypt) (James Mtume) 8:16
5.  Peaceful Ones (Lonnie Liston Smith) 5:03
6.  Naima (John Coltrane) 4:00

Personnel:
Lonnie Liston Smith (Acoustic and Elelctric Piano, Percussion)
Donald Smith (Vocals, Piano and Flute)
George Barron (Soprano Saxophone, Flute and Percussion)
Al Anderson (Electric Bass)
Lawrence Killian (Congas and Percussion)
Art Gore (Drums)
Doug Hammond (Percussion)

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