Thursday, March 23, 2017

10 essential instrumentals

10 essential instrumentals10 essential instrumentals… Like always, a selection is per definition limited, and God knows how our enviromment would definitely not be what it is without these instrumental pieces which have thrilled us on so many occasions, be they Jazz, Soul, Funk, House, Electronic, whatever… As a result, many are those we couldn’t talk about here, even though they would have definitely been worth a mention.
No need to say how this selection is way from being exhaustive, most likely due to find an extension later when the right time comes. Nevertheless, you should find thereafter a pretty much illustrative sample of highly emotional pieces of art where the quality predominates, be it in terms of melody and arrangements. Wishing you’ll enjoy the ride as much as we did, while putting this together for you, with your feedback, and a mention of your favorite song more than welcome…

10 essential instrumentals / Van McCoy & The Soul City Symphony – The Hustle (Avco Records)
While in the Big Apple to record an album back in 1975, Van Allen Clinton McCoy, better known as Van McCoy composed this song after his partner watched regulars of Adam’s Apple local nightclub dancing the Hustle. Famous drummer Steve Gadd and guitarist Eric Gale were among the musicians doing the recording session as piccolo player Phillip Bodner responsible for the lead melody, under the direction of orchestra leader Gene Orloff. Remembered as one of the most popular themes of the Disco era, McCoy came up with the idea of doin’ an extended version of it which sadly saw the light with additional recorded parts soon after his death in 1979…
10 essential instrumentals / Average White Band – Pick Up The Pieces (Atlantic)
Scottish musicians, Roger Hall (saxophone), Hamish Stuart (guitar) and cohorts came to international recognition in the mid-70’s with this Jazz/Funk anthem taken from their second album – ‘AWB’ – released back in 1974. Nothing was granted though as it initially failed to chart in the UK. Thanks to the US radio jocks who heavily supported it soon after its release Staeside, which eventually pushed their UK alter egos to do the same soon after, with the rest being history. Produced by Arif Mardin, it also made it to #11 position on the US Disco chart, with the band being still in activity nowadays…
10 essential instrumentals / Booker T & The MG’s – Melting Pot (Stax Records)
From the 1971 released album of the name which would be their very last studio project for Memphis seminal label Stax Records. Willing to come up with a different sound, Jones (Booker T) recorded it in New York. Standing among our all time favs, as pretty much symbolizing what Indamixworldwide is about, blending everything from Blues & Soul to the most progressive sides of the Groove for the time being, while displaying an infectious Jazz vibe over a rumblin’ bassline……
10 essential instrumentals / MFSB – K-Jee (Philadelphia International Records)
By the likes of Soul/Funk band The Nite-Liters, later known as Newbirth, and written by Harvey Fuqua (Marvin Gaye, Sylvester…) and Charlie Hearndon, this 1971 released standard would get to higher recognition, as covered by MFSB as a part of their 1975 released ‘Universal Love’ album, before being included 2 years later on the ‘Saturday Night Fever’ OST…
10 essential instrumentals / Love Unlimited Orchestra – My Sweet Summer Suite (20th Century Fox Records)
One of the signature cuts along with ‘Love’s Theme’ by the likes The Love Unlimited Orchestra, a 40-piece string-laden band which served as a backing unit for both Barry White and the sister James (Glodean and Linda) along with Diane Taylor, better known as Love Unlimited. Taken from their 1976 released album of the name, with arrangement work courtesy of White and Gene Page
10 essential instrumentals / Rodney Franklin – The Groove (Columbia)
1958 California-born Jazz pianist and composer Rodney Franklin came to recongition at an early age collaborating with luminaries such as Marlena Shaw, Bill Summers and Freddie Hubbard prior to signing up his first record deal with Columbia in 1978. Clearly admitting influences by the likes of George Duke and Lonnie Liston-Smith among others, he’s best remembered for the Paul Buckmaster produced ‘The Groove’, taken from his second album – ‘You’ll Never Know’ – released 2 years after…
10 essential instrumentals / El Coco – Mondo Disco (AVI Records)
El Coco happened to be the most well known project by the likes of Californian producers Laurin Rinder and W. Michael Lewis (Saint-Tropez, Le Pamplemousse…), with the aforementioned, taken from the 1975 released album of the name, standing as one of their signature cuts along with ‘Let’s Get It Together’ and ‘Yakety Yak’ (from the same package) in addition to the magnetic ‘I’m Mad A Hell’…
10 essential instrumentals / Ashford & Simpson – Bourgie Bourgie (Warner Bros.)
One of the most sought after joints by the likes of singing/songwriter pair Ashford & Simpson. Released back in 1977 as a part of their ‘Send It’ album, it strangely didn’t see the light as a 12″ single before 1980 though and this on UK Warners as the flipside of ‘Love Don’t Make It Right’! A few months after the release of a cover version by the likes of John Davis & The Monster Orchestra and at about the same time as Gladys Knight & The Pips‘one to which Ashford & Simpson added lyrics…
10 essential instrumentals / Funk Fusion Band – Can You Feel It (Progressive Version)(WMOT Records)
The capital of Pennslyvania was not only the home of Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff‘s seminal Philalephia International Records label. It also happened to be the one WMOT Records (Fat Larry’s Band, Heaven & Earth, Frankie Smith) where two in-house producers – David Todd and Nick Martinelli – happened to make themselves a name. From an initial production by the likes of MFSB drummer Keith Errol Benson (Asphalt Jungle‘s ‘Freakin’ Time’ released back in 1979 on parent label TEC Records), which the twosome turned two years after into this magnetic horn-led Jazz/Funk instrumental jam…
10 essential instrumentals / Harry Thumann – Underwater (Baby Records)
Harry Thumann, who died back in 2001 at the age of 49, was a German electronic composer, producer and sound engineer who also actively participated in the creation of new technology while designing and building synthesizers but also developing the famous SSL 4000 series of consoles. He’s most likely remembered musicwise for this sought after jam, taken from his 1979 ‘American Express’ album, somehow sounding like a what could have been the approch given by Giorgio Moroder to famous themes such as ‘Star Wars’ or ‘Star Trek’…

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