Monday, November 21, 2011

CD Reissue of the Week - "Lonnie Smith: Mama Wailer"

CD Reissue of the Week
Lonnie Smith: "Mama Wailer" (Kudu/Sony Masterworks) 1971/2011

Produced by Creed Taylor
Recorded & Mixed on July 14 & 15, 1971, by Rudy Van Gelder @ Van Gelder Studio (Englewood Cliffs, NJ)
U.S. Reissue Produced by Richard Seidel
Remastered by Mark Wilder @ Battery Studios, NYC, NY
Featuring: Ron Carter, Chuck Rainey, Billy Cobham, Airto Moreira, Richard Pratt, William King, Jimmy Ponder, George Davis, Robert Lowe, Danny Moore, Marvin Cabell, Dave Hubbard and Grover Washington, Jr.

Some years ago, Arnaldo DeSouteiro had the honor to supervise the 2001 and 2007 Japanese CD reissues of Lonnie Smith's "Mama Wailer," now finally released here in the USA. At my invitation, CTI's top historian Doug Payne provided a fantastic set of liner notes (for the Japanese reissues), which can be found here:

"If Lonnie Smith considers himself “the doctor of groove,” then Mama Wailer is certainly his doctoral thesis. This 1971 record was only the second of Creed Taylor’s Kudu productions and, surprisingly, the only Kudu or CTI session Lonnie Smith ever participated in. But the record has become a jazz-funk classic; one of the rarest of rare grooves and still highly sought after by young dancers and DJs alike," Payne stated. "All in all, it’s a superb collection of long, exploratory ideas on the nature of groove and the real “turning point” in Lonnie Smith’s musical thinking."

Cut on July 14 and 15, 1971, "Mama Wailer" includes stunning versions of features Sly Stone's "Stand" and Carole King's "I Fell The Earth Move," and a pair of groovy laid-back originals, featuring some long forgotten musicians such as trumpeter Danny Moore, saxophonists Marvin Cabell & Dave Hubbard, guitarists Robert Lowe & George Davis, and percussionists William King & Richard Pratt, alongside celebrated stars like Ron Carter, Chuck Rainey, Billy Cobham, Airto Moreira, Jimmy Ponder and Grover Washington, Jr. (heard not only on sax, but also on flute!)

“The doctor of groove,” as Lonnie Smith refers to himself, is most definitely in session on Mama Wailer, Smith’s only CTI release. While known as a master of the Hammond B-3 organ, the title track features Smith on clavinet. A distinct departure from the fat sound of the B-3, Smith manages to make this electronic keyboard lay down a strong feeling of urban funk. Half of the album is made up of original compositions – the title track and “Hola Muneca” – the other half covers tracks popular from the time of the recording sessions - Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend” and Sly and The Family Stone’s “Stand.”

No comments: