This late 1980’s album is a gem. 40 year old Tommy Chase was an experienced bandleader who worked with younger musicians and harnessed their energies to create an outfit who were at the forefront of the 80’s resurgence in modern jazz. They played hard bop to a younger audience who were only too ready to respond on the dance floor. Sadly, even by the time this came out, many of the great modern jazz originators had died, were no longer active or had moved on to play in different styles, but at least Tommy and co were there for us.
A mad mix of Latin and funky rhythms – a 70s classic from the Belgian group Chakachas! The album's best known for its title hit "Jungle Fever" – an insane cut that features heavy drums, choppy guitar, and a stop/start action that's peppered with sounds of female pleasure! The track was a worldwide hit, and continues to be a funky classic today – thanks to a heavy sample history, and a life in playlists worldwide – but the rest of the album's pretty darn great too, and even weirder. Some tracks mix easy Euro grooving with heavy conga, others have kind of an LA Chicano funk approach, and still others throw in some mad horns to complicate matters with nice jazzy riffing. Really great throughout – and maybe one of the best funky albums to ever come out on a major label!
Recorded and released in 1975, Seriously Deep is the only album producer, arranger, conductor, and composer David Axelrod recorded for Polydor. Strangely enough, Jimmy Bowen and Cannonball Adderley produced it, not Axe. He did write everything here, and one has no doubt that he hand-selected most of the set's players: Joe Sample on Fender Rhodes, clavinet, and Arp synth; Ernie Watts, Jerome Richardson, Jay Migliori, and Gene Cipriano on reeds and winds; trumpeters Snooky Young and Allen DiRienzo; Jimmy Cleveland and Dick Hyde on trombones; Billy Fender and John Morell on guitars; Jim Hughart on bass; drummer Ndugu Chancler; percussionist Mailto Correa; and concertmaster Jack Shulman for the strings.
Larry Young's third and final Prestige recording (reissued in the OJC series on CD) concludes his early period; he would next record as a leader two and a half years later on Blue Note, by which time his style would be much more original. For his 1962 outing, Young is joined by the obscure tenor Bill Leslie, guitarist Thornel Schwartz and drummer Jimmie Smith for some original blues and two standards ("I Found a New Baby" and "Sweet Lorraine"). Nothing all that substantial occurs, but fans of Jimmy Smith will enjoy the similar style that Larry Young had at the time.
Sublime sounds from the always-amazing Ahmed Abdul-Malik – a jazz bassist at heart, but also a musician with a great ear for Eastern instrumentation as well! Ahmed cut a few key records at the end of the 50s and start of the 60s – and this spellbinding set may well be one of his strongest – a set that moves past some of the more gimmicky use of exotic instrumentation on other albums, and focuses on a jazzy core that really shines strongly on the album's long tracks! There's still a nice sense of the East on the record – thanks to Hamza Aldeen's oud – but the set also features great jazz solos from Seldon Powell on flute and tenor, and the great Ray Nance on both cornet and violin. Drummer Walter Perkins plays with a fluid style that's perfect for the date – and pianist Paul Neves has a lyrical approach to piano that works wonders for the groove.