Monday, April 24, 2017

Mtume – So You Wanna Be A Star

Most Wanted! Mtume – So You Wanna Be A Star (Epic)

‘So You Wanna Be A Star’ remains pretty much evokative of a period – Disco – when you had the feeling anything could happen. “Everyone wants to be a winner”. And everyone could as long as being at the right time at the right place. Here, we most likely have another illustration of hedonism. In the spirit of gems such as Aquarian Dream‘s ‘You’re A Star’ or Chic‘s ‘Good Times’. Not to mention Skyy‘s ‘Let’s Celebrate’.

Uplifting, to say the least. ‘So You Wanna Be A Star’ displays that sophistication feel one can find on classics like Stephanie Mills‘s ‘Put Your Body In It’ or Phyllis Hyman‘s ‘You Know How To Love Me’. Not that surprising though when referring to the identity of their producers – James Mtume and Reggie Lucas – who put Mtume together back in the late 70’s.

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Overview
James Mtume, a singer, songwriter, and multi instrumentist, and Reggie Lucas (himself a guitarist and songwriter too) met during their days as members of the Miles Davis band in the early 70’s.
Together, they produced an impressive series of outstanding gems. Among their most memorable ones: ‘Back Together Again’ for Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway. ‘You Know How To Love Me’ for Phyllis Hyman. ‘What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin” and ‘Put Your Body In It’ for Stephanie Mills. But also ‘Say You Will’ for Eddie Henderson and Real Thing‘s ‘She’s A Groovy Freak’.

Ultimately they would work together on the two first albums of Mtume (‘Kiss This World Goodbye’ and ‘In Search Of The Rainbow Seekers’) before parting ways by the beginning of the 80’s.

– Funk/Soul group Mtume (read “Em-too-may”) saw the light in NYC in the second half of the 70’s. Mtume stands among the biggest masses of talents ever united. From James Mtume to Reggie Lucas who collaborated with Miles Davis. To Hubert Eaves III who produced the latter’s ‘Under Arrest’ album but also The Strangers and D-Train. Edward Moore who was a member of The Strangers. Howard King and Raymond Jackson who gave birth to Network. Philip King who became a member of Aurra. And singer Tawatha Agee in addition to Basil Fearington.

The band had so to say two periods. A Disco/Soul one with James Mtume and Reggie Lucas sharing the production duties. Then a synth/Funk one sort iof prefiguring what New Jack Swing would be after Lucas left the group. This is most likely from then though that Mtume scored their biggest commercial success. Beginning with the memorable ”Juicy Fruit’. A cut which the late Notorious B.I.G. sampled back in 1994 on his hit song ‘Juicy’. Other tracks worth the mention including ‘You, Me And He’, ‘C.O.D (I’ll Deliver)’. Not to mention ‘P.O.P. (Pursuits Of Pleasure) Generation’.

Mtume released a total of 5 albums from 1978 until 1986. James Mtume standing as one of the greatest sound engineers of all times along with Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis.

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