Mon. Dec. 10, 2018

Change – Heaven Of My Life (Extended Version)

Most Wanted! Change – Heaven Of My Life (RFC Records/Atlantic)

The end of the 70’s / beginning of the 80’s set the domination of a new category of actors in the makin’ of music. In other words, the producers, with each of them comin’ up with a distinctive signature sound. This being how one would see a whole bunch of production units takin’ the lead at the time. From Willie Lester & Rodney Brown (Sharon Redd, Bobby Thurston, Gayle Adams). To Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards (Chic, Norma Jean Wright, Sister Sledge). With Jacques Fred Petrus & Mauro Malavasi makin’ no exception (Change, The B.B.& Q. Band, High Fashion, Zinc). Not to mention Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis or L.A. & Babyface during the following years.

Taken from their 1981 ‘Miracles’ album (their second of the likes), ‘Heaven Of My Life’ pretty much remains as a ‘Heaven’ in Change‘s legacy. It was nothing of an evidence though. Not only after the huge success of their debut-album with cuts such as its title track – ‘The Glow Of Love’ – and ‘Searching’. But also because of a change in their line-up. With James Crabs Robinson takin’ on where Luther Vandross left as their lead singer.

One of the first things coming to mind when havin’ a listen to ‘Heaven Of My Life’ is the beauty of its vocal arrangements. With thanks to Jocelyn Brown who acted as a director. This along with luminaries such as Luther Vandross and Fonzi Thornton. But also Ullanda McCullough and Benny Diggs in the backing vocals.

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Overview
– The end of the 70’s saw the establishment of a new team en route for worldwide recognition in the Disco/Funk circuit. On one hand, Jacques Fred Petrus, a French West Indies native who would act as an executive producer. And on the other, Mauro Malavasi, an Italian musician, songwriter, arranger and producer who crafted their sound in his Bologna-based studio. A song which he elaborated with bass player Davide Romani and guitarist Paolo Gianolio.

They started their collaboration back in 1978. Delivering no less than two albums. Respectively for Macho and Peter Jacques Band. With both of them in a typical Italian Disco vein.

1980 marked a big change for them artistically speaking. This with the arrival of Change‘s ‘The Glow Of Love’ album. An album which saw them defining a new standard and, in the meantime, a signature sound in the Disco/Funk circuit. With thanks to cuts such as ‘A Lover’s Holiday’ or ‘Angel In My Pocket’ featuring Jocelyn Brown. It also brought Luther Vandross to the first league with gems such as its title track and ‘Searching’. But also The B.B.& Q. Band (‘On The Beat’, ‘All Night Long’, ‘Starlette’). Then High Fashion (‘Feelin’ Lucky Lately’) or Zinc (‘Street Level’, ‘Punkulation’) to a lesser extend. And, last but not least, Ritchie Family (‘I’ll Do My Best (For You Baby)’)

Change released 6 albums between 1980 and 1985 and an impressive series of classics in the meantime. From ‘The Glow Of Love’ and ‘Searching’. To ‘Hold Tight’, ‘Heaven Of My Life’ and ‘The Very Best In You’. Not to mention ‘Change Of Heart’ and ‘You Are My Melody’ with production work courtesy of Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. And, last but not least, the Nick Martinelli produced ‘Mutual Attraction’ back in 1985.

An accusation of tax evasion by the US Internal Revenue Service hit Petrus back in 1986. As a result, he put his activities on hold and fled to his native Guadeloupe. He got shot a few months after, in the late Spring of 1987, reportedly by a Swiss man whom he’d had a dispute with a few hours before at his owned club L’Elysée Matignon in Le Gosier…

Change eventually came to release an extra album – their seventh – back in 2010. But it was more of a collection that should have seen the light twenty years before.

2018 sees them back to the forefront along with Mauro Malavasi and Davide Romani, a new line-up of singers and musicians and a new album by the likes of ‘Love 4 Love’.

An effort comin’ up with all the ingredients that made Change sounding like no other back in the ealy 80’s. In other words, a stellar Disco/Funk approach. Itself enlightened by the presence of First League singers along with lush arrangements. This resulting in an impressive amount of goodies from ‘Hit Or Miss’ to ‘All My Life’. But also ‘Make Me Go Crazy’ in a vein somehow reminding of Bruno Mars‘ ’24K Magic’. These in addition to ‘Living In Your Love’, ‘How Will We’ and its title track with remixing work by the likes of Joey Negro. Not to mention a couple of remixes of classics such as ‘Searching’ and ‘Oh What A Feeling’ featuring respectively Luther Vandross and Deborah Cooper.

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