JAZZ SOUL SEVEN
Impressions of Curtis Mayfield is a new collection of a dozen reimaginings of some of the late, great soul man's most potent compositions, recorded by a collective of jazz aces calling themselves the Jazz Soul Seven: Terri Lyne Carrington-drums, Russ Ferrante-piano, the late Master Henry Gibson-percussion, Bob Hurst-bass, Wallace Roney-trumpet, Phil Upchurch-guitar, and Ernie Watts-saxophone.
Phil Upchurch handpicked four Los Angeles-based players and two special imports, all well-known in jazz circles but with the earthy sensibilities to grasp and interpret the gospel and funk of where Curtis was coming from. Phil has recorded and performed with a multitude of artists as a guitarist including Cat Stevens, Whitney Houston, George Benson, President Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, Michael Jackson, Jerry Butler, Marvin Gaye, Natalie Cole and many others.
Ernie Watts is the most versatile and universally respected wind and reed player in music. His yearning tone has been the solo voice of choice for hundreds of pop and R&B sessions, concerts, films and jazz ensembles - from Quincy Jones and Gerald Wilson to the Rolling Stones and Barbra Streisand. In addition to his eclectic solo recordings as a leader, Watts is a member of Charlie Haden's Quartet West.
Russell Ferrante is a prolific composer, arranger and producer, an outstanding acoustic and electric keyboardist, and a founding member of the fusion band Yellowjackets (which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2011). His distinctive touch has been glowingly showcased in work with singer/songwriters Michael Franks and Brenda Russell.
From late night TV talk shows to gigs with Wayne Shorter, Dianne Reeves, John Scofield and Cassandra Wilson, Terri Lyne Carrington is a distinctive presence in the drum world. At 12, she was accepted on a special scholarship to the Berklee School of Music. Today, she is an artist in residence professor on the campus boasting several all-star recordings.
Bassist Robert Hurst emerged to prominence as a member of The Branford Marsalis Quartet which led to a high-profile gig as a member of "The Tonight Show" band, solo albums and a host of first-call sideman and session credits.
The first of the imports is New York-based trumpeter Wallace Roney, who came up through the hard-hitting bands of drum gods Art Blakey and Tony Williams. He performed side by side with his hero Miles Davis at Montreux, toured with alumni from Davis' classic '60s quintet in a Grammy-winning tribute band, and has recorded a steady stream of acclaimed solo albums.
The second import is percussionist Master Henry Gibson, actually a Chicago native who flew all the way from his adopted Sweden with his lovely wife Anne to take part in this tribute. Why? Aside from sessions with jazz legends like Stan Getz and Ramsey Lewis, Gibson played with Mayfield, non-stop in venues around the globe, for seventeen years. Most famously, you can hear Gibson on Mayfield's Superfly soundtrack (playing his signature roto-toms on "Pusherman") and see him in the movie playing congas in the nightclub scenes.